Monday, February 28, 2011

March...

It's been a crazy 2 months at work and I think the stress is beginning to show. Headcount.... I still can't get over the silliness of this HC thingy; as though we're in a factory and students are plastic products with controllable variables which you can so easily tweaked! Plus so many other distractions which do just that... DISTRACT!!! And oh ya! Did I also mention that the weather is extremely hot these days too? Every day, I feel like I'm being bamboozled by waves of heat... one after the other. Even my okra plants have become stunted from this extremity.

And if not for the water timer which we set for our garden plants, I think most of my garden plants would be withering away too... or stunted. Heat stunts!

Attended a wedding dinner last Saturday. Nice! I mean it was nice meeting up with old colleagues.... most of them have retired. They were the ones who sort of guided me when I was a rookie.... times have changed too. Met SA who used to sit in front of me when I was in the afternoon session. She used to get the office boy to buy all the kuih... and some would find their way to me! 8) She has retired too. Meeting up was nice.... Can't say the same of the food. The dinner has to be one of the longest wedding dinner I've been. Food took ages to appear. The RKC caterer really seemed to have problem with his wok! It was nice to see Mr. O who just flew in from Taipei... he takes the plane like how some of us take the bus! Commuting from one country to another every month... almost! LOL! How time flies...

I was actually thinking of doing another alphabet in my Alphabet Series.... but no mood. Writing mood got stunted too! I'm still feeling the heat finding its way out of my body after being 'cooped' up in a hall for 3 hours attending a briefing yesterday afternoon. Felt like I was slowly being cooked from the inside. These people want us to work but won't hold the meetings in the mornings... for a thankless duty. So I can still feel heat coming out... at this rate, either my mind or my body will break... and our bosses keep squeezing us for inconsequential stuff.... our education system is really getting skewed. We're more interested in data, paperwork than actual work.... I blame it on skewed perspective from skewed heads up there... heads who were incidental teachers, who taught only short periods before weaving their way into the office.

So, March is coming up... hot and bothered we are. Nerves fraying.... stress building up.... lambasted by the unabating heat everyday.... aargh!!!! From the floods to the protracted heat... the grass is turning yellow everywhere... my stunted okra... hopefully my basil grows. I've got tomato plants which my gal sowed but I don't know where to plant them. Perhaps I should start thinking about erecting one of these 'shelters' for them..... I am reading up about hydroponics but I wonder whether my fish in our pond 'pass out' enough to turn our water into hydroponic medium for plants....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Most Exciting Job Now..

...for me I think it has to be journalist. The world is so connected now... and there are so many things happening everywhere at one go; natural disasters and political upheavals, the latter gripping many of our imaginations.

Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen.... I never imagined that I would see such 'excitement' coming from that region. When I think of North Africa and Middle East, 2 words come to mind immediately - oppression and oil. Oil - everyone knows they are rich because they sit on a huge pile of black gold. And it has made them rich. I've never been there and my little knowledge is gleaned from the books I read and common sense. I think it's tough for the weaker sex there generally. Libya is not too bad where opportunities for women are concerned though. No rights, no identity... So if there is no oppression people will not be rising up to kick up all these long-staying leaders. Gaddafi has been in power 42 years!!!! That's almost like a monarchy.

I know see the wisdom of the old practice... a person sitting too long in the same office/position... power gets into the head. Pride and arrogance seep in. Complacency becomes a shadow.... China is worried. One party, one system; ideal for corruption to thrive... now they have the budding of their own Jasmine Revolution... (how's that for domino effect. Back in the 50s and 60s, they were afraid of the domino effect of communism spreading throughout Asia).

So to be a journalist, I guess would be the most exciting job for now. In Egypt a Google exec started a FB group which got the 'revolution' going. Imagine! The newspeople did a good job of getting info out. The dangers they faced and the possibility of losing their lives. I guess in such times, balanced and fair journalism is every regime's nightmare. Al-Jazeera is one such media institutions. Can't say much for our own mainstream media though....

I read with interest a Chinese school in Pahang turning down free Utusan paper. A friend of mine told me about the free papers given to Chinese schools a couple of days ago... Anyone with a fair sense of mind would agree with the Utusan paper is thrash. It eschews everything right, fair and balanced that is supposed to be the mainstay of good journalism. That's our Malaysian media.... mouthpieces for the masters they serve. I thought journalist are not supposed to serve any masters.

Anyway, I salute all those journalists who put their lives in harm's way to get a story. I salute their bravery and also their effort to make the world a better place.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Another Look At Our Education System

Do we get dumbed down by education? A thought provoking suggestion of a paradigm shift... All educators and parents should listen to this.

For those interested to learn and improve themselves, this video is found at The Educator's PLN (Personal Learning Network). I deem it a gold mine! The stuff they have on the site beat any courses that I've attended lately. Also, instead of making us waste our time pushing paper and data, they should inspire us, or at least give us time and space to educate ourselves since they are unable to. I've had these list of sites which I've been meaning to visit but did not have the time due to the senseless pushing of paper at work.

Or encourage the building of websites such as Shmoop which provides resources for teachers. This site is tailored for the US. I especially like their Biography, Shakespeare and Bestsellers sections... with ready write-ups. I've read many of the books on the Bestsellers list and I like what they do there. Great ideas for teaching... if you have kids with good enough command of English.
This is another one from StoryCorps about a Mexican family who crossed over to the US for a better life. It's done in a way to make us appreciate the diversity.

It's so different here in Malaysia. Take the brouhaha about Interlok, the literature component for Bahasa Malaysia. Many Indians are unhappy because they feel that the novel is subtly instilling racial superiority. Or the recent action of a Chinese school which decided to reject the free offer of Utusan newspapers because the Board felt that it's a move to brainwash kids. We do not celebrate each race's positive traits sincerely. Rather, we instill suspicion... we say we are integrating, but at the same time have practices which seem to sow all these seeds of disunity...

Education... we need to have another look at our education system.... if they are really serious about the 1Malaysia thing.

Friday, February 25, 2011

O for Old..

Old is often used as an excuse... for many if not everything. There are things in life which we cannot defy... growing old is one. But too often we use it as the excuse for whatever that suits us...

Everyone knows what osteoporosis can do to us. My mom has that and as a result it caused havoc with her backbone. Some of her lumbars have collapsed, literally crushed. We put her on meds and it slowed down the bone deterioration somewhat but the damage was done. Breathing is affected as the space got more cramped inside. Moving about is very uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. That was many years ago... but Mom has the discipline and determination which I never knew. She diligently exercised, stretched, built her stamina... she might have been wheelchair bound but thankfully still can move around. The breathing is still difficult though... she gets tired quite easily after a walk. But the exercise regime she puts herself through would shame most of us... while she realizes and sometimes laments in bewilderment that growing old is a painful process, she has not used it as a reason to stop trying.... and I appreciate her very much for that.

Over the years, I am often asked to teach friends computer stuff... quite a number fall into the old group. What I notice is a large number often use being old as an excuse not to be able to learn. But again and again, I also notice that if there is an impetus for learning, for example like to keep in touch with their kids or use it for something they are totally into, learning takes on a path of less resistance. They push themselves to plod on task by task till they learn to use whatever function they require. I took tennis lessons more than a year ago and among those in my group was an elderly man of 70. I thought people at that age wouldn't be picking up games like tennis... I learned something from this affable man.

However, this using of 'old' as an excuse is not only confined to the old people. Young people also display such tendencies. In all my years teaching, my students tell me that learning English is too difficult.... most of them have a very poor command of English. And because they convince themselves that, many continue to have a poor command. Of course there are other factors at play as well.

But very often we make excuse for ourselves or others using 'old'. We are often reminded to let someone off the hook because she is old... you know-lah, old people are set in their ways. Aiyah! Nevermind-lah. But I find this rather inexcusable. Being old and set in your ways doesn't give you the right to be vindictive, racist, mean and arrogant, which happens a lot at work places. Many take 'being old' as a license to be excused for things... if I were an employer, I might as well hire 2 or 3 young people to do the job of one 'old' people. But for saying this, I guess I would probably be deem not to have compassion.

A few years ago, I worked under a boss whom I greatly respect. I wish there are more like her. But in the teaching fraternity, she's one of the rare gems. She took an 'early' retirement. Instead of going for 58 (like what most are doing) she retired at 56. She wanted more time with her family. She felt that she wasn't able to give her level best commitment to her job. So she retired.... she could have stayed on, continue to draw a salary and cut down on her work. She could easily get away with that. And there's always the 'old' excuse to fall back on. They are few people like her. The 'old' group of people stay on... and they expect 'special' treatment. I think it's a bad move to retain such people....

Anyway, 'old'... all of us grow old and die.... if anything is to go by, being old should remind us that there is an end coming... or a another beginning if you believe in the world after... but how you live your life.... that'll be the reckoning. Tis a reminder for myself too....

Thursday, February 24, 2011

N for Nitpicking...

Am in the mood for my own alphabet series.... the letter is N and the word is nitpicking.

Nitpicking is defined as being obssessively concerned about inconsequential things. And many of us are nitpickers at one time or the other.

We like to nitpick even though the things that we nitpick are of no use. We nitpick to find fault with people too because we are prejudiced. Nitpickers bog people down cos they are so tiresome to deal with. But I think they are tiresome because they are basically frustrated people. Or it could be nitpickers are unhappy people... they pick on the inconsequential because they are unhappy with their lives sometimes. So, they nitpick to make others misreable, as misreable as them. Happier people or those with more than enough or even those who feel that life has treated them well are less likely to nitpick.

Being a nitpicker usually also shows on one's physical appearance as it also bogs the nitpicker down. Your face, which is the window to your soul begins to reflect the contents of your heart. So, it is not uncommon to find nitpickers often looking dour and surly. They usually don't have much good things to say about the world they are in or the people around them. My Muslim friends often remind me that senyuman itu satu sedekah... unfortunately many nitpickers seldom smile. They find very little reason to smile... how to when they are constantly finding faults, other people's...

Spending time with the nitpicker can be very depressing as a result. They nitpick practically everything, all the more when the judgement becomes clouded by their emotions. They think they are qualified to nitpick because they are superior; when in actual fact it might just be the opposite. Unhappiness and inferiority often bring out the worse in us. Ted Bundy the serial killer was a introverted and shy kid... unhappy with the way he was rejected by his girlfriends.... he went on a killing binge.

Nitpickers are not just hard to work with but probably also hard to live with... nothing is good enough for them. I sometimes have to remind myself not to be one... being the fussy pot that I am sometimes about how things should go or be done. Over the years, it's been a humbling experience to learn that I am full of flaws too.... but a nitpicker I am not going to be... a constant reminder I have to give.

But in every negative thing there's also something positive if we care to look for them. Nitpicking often also refers to cari kutu... or removing lice. Lice is not good for our heads, that's for sure. Nitpicking means removing those unhealthy elements too.

But more often the negative seems to win this tug-a-war of the same rope... it consumes us and swallows us whole till it becomes larger than life... ours!

Nitpicking and brainsick... they sound kinda nice together too. Cos we become nitpickers when our brain becomes sick.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reconsidering homework...

I think it should be banned.... at least all those senseless copying and drilling types. I just counted 9 homework today; plus extra class which ended at 3.30 p.m. My gal came back and immediately got down to work... fell asleep half-way and I had to shake her up.

Extra classes, homework, tuitions.... from Std 4 they toil.... for the three days of UPSR, which doesn't mean much except to 'stream' them into selected secondary schools. So they 'study' and 'study'. For these kids whose parents make sure they complete their work, it's also homework for us too. Even as I type this, I sit beside my girl and keep her company as she copies away one of the passages from the textbooks.... senseless!

No time to read, no time to idle, no time for anything. And we pride ourselves in our ability to make teachers stay back to give extra classes... to show that we are prihatin (caring) about the child's education. They stay back for more rote, drilling, copying... even before they begin their extra classes, everyone is tired. So everyone just wants to get it done and over with. Blur of rushes.... meaningless educational pursuits. Those A(s) will not teach them how to think.... (some smart alec will probably pipe in and say that without the A(s) too you cannot gain entrance to a good uni)

Play??? Daydreaming? Read?? We also have nice sounding programmes at school like NILAM... supposedly to encourage reading! Hello!!! Anyone there with brains? Where do they find time to read? Over the years, I've watched some of my students copy the synopsis from the back to the book they were supposed to be reading.... LOL! They wizened up!!! Most kids would have spent so much time with books that they'd prefer to have a different companion at the very first free time they have. The TV makes a more interesting companion. The computer... no need to say will win hands down, not for reading but for the games. Now if homework were to include book reviews... maybe that might be good. Then again, given the blur of rushes for everything else... how to find time to read.

Results oriented we are. So we drill and keep on drilling.... till their heads have so many lubang, which leaks out what would have been stuff that makes up the EQ or creativity. Those have to be leaked so that more space can be made for all the facts they must remember.

I had a most interesting conversation with a friend's daughter (she's in F5 this year) who just came back from a 2-month student exchange programme to Italy. One of the things she told me she was impressed with was this; the kids in Italy speak their mind. They are not afraid to voice their opinions. And kids her age are taking Psychology, Liberal Arts, Social Studies... subjects of practical use. Unlike ours which is a very subdued, timid and 'voiceless' environment, ever afraid to speak out... cos all of us are rushing to do as much work as possible, no time to develop the mind really.... what more character. Maybe longsuffering counts as one....

Her foster family brought her to Florence. She saw the Statue of David and said it was awesome. She came back and for the first time actually made practical and real connections with her History lessons on European history; the transition into the golden age from the Dark Ages... And a light went on when I told her that life is like the European History too... in order to have our own renaissance.. we to must reform from within. Only then can we achieve greatness.

She told me that her History teacher at school just told them to read this and that, memorize this and that.... the rest is history. History is a subject with great opportunity to change a society for the better. But pity that ours is a double jeopardy cos apart from History being written with a bias bent, we also have teachers who are unable to spark the interest in the kids to see the connection it has to offer the kids to life itself. Teachers are also harried for the many, many papers to push.

Life in a Chinese school for a kid is full of homework, though I think the national schools are also trying to do the same.... Types of schools.... there isn't much option for us actually. Private schools, there's none really worth looking into where we are. National schools, they'd be many times when she'd be left out cos everything is so religion based, plus the brainwashing also.... it's a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. Either one also....'si'

But homework... I think it should be banned. Save for assignments of the practical kinds like looking for materials for write-ups, I think all work should be done during school hours...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kontrak Latihan, Pemantauan... blah, blah, blah...

There's this Kontrak Latihan thing teachers have to do these days too... the good I see out of it is it makes the teachers give out written work. More teachers can be seen marking their exercise books because of this constant reminder... which is a good thing. But as usual... the execution is going a little overboard. Teachers are making their own rubber stamps (RM15) to stamp the exercise books.... I thought one look can tell quite a lot... ever since the Headcount thing, we're so obsessed with the numbers...

But there is always a but... so here it is. They want the teachers to make sure those exercises are easy to identify, specific books for specific type of exercises. Say if you are a language teacher then perhaps the three areas you might want to give exercises would be Objective, Structure and Essays. To make things easy for those checking, one must have an exercise book for each type. But essays are most difficult to grade. They take the longest time to grade too, especially with the kind of students we have - just think the deplorable command of English today.

However, the ability to write an essay well most probably would sum up a students language ability. An ability to write indicate mastery. The better you write, the better your mastery. One of the reasons for grads not able to land a job is their inability to write critically.

The easiest exercise to give and grade would be the Objectives. You can hold class discussion all the time to counter check the answers. The same can be done for Structure questions..... but if you want to train kids to write you must be prepared to correct every sentence, going by today's weak command.

YT believes in training students to write. And because of that, YT decided not to have specific books for specific type of questions as it often is quite difficult to finish grading the essays before the next lesson. YT goes on a 'as-and-when-need' basis.... meaning all 3 books can be used for all 3 types of exercises. All 3 exercise books will be utilized in the same lesson on quite a few occasions. Over the years, YT has found out that it made no difference to the grades, the mixed exercises in an exercise book... in fact, by focussing on Writing, YT has seen better grades and overall passing percentage for the average students....

So it was much to YT's chagrin to be implied that YT's intention of using the exercise books mixed is meant to hide the actual numbers of exercise. In actual fact, YT has been faithfully noting down every single type of exercise in her spreadsheet everyday without fail; you see YT is a sucker for details too and tablet computing has made such endeavors very possible. So armed with the implied comment, YT sought out the Senior Teacher who observed her. YT sought an explanation but was duly told that it cannot be helped... you know-lah.... atas mahu. So YT told her that it seems that it's better to just stick to the contract cos that way 1 essay a month is quite easy to handle... since there is no rush. Guess what the Senior Teacher said.... she agreed!!!! Gosh! YT is a sucker for details when marking those essays, mind you; but is now totally baffled that the Senior Teacher agrees to cutting down on the number of essays so that it's easy for the observers to keep track of the number of exercises!!!! YT is now seriously considering this aesthetic aspect cos it's really attractive as it means less work and less hassle also..... And LOL! They're all suckers for appearance!

Pemantauan or orbservation... in one whole year, a teacher gets observed twice... if you perform really well, you might get a promotion. Strange thing that I observed... we have Guru Cemerlangs (GC) who are supposed to be excellent. But when you walk into their classes, sometimes you get the impression that they have no control over the class. There is a perpetual hum, a cacophony of noise; tis a conundrum which baffles the mind. There're always comments.... and no doubt some are actually good. But there are those who always seem to look out for mistakes and their remarks can be quite demotivating.... because of the maksud tersurat dan tersirat. What would be good would is that we, the ordinary teachers be allowed to watch them at work too.... learn from the experts. But sadly, this never happens. There is no accountability.... but perhaps after this YT should arm herself with these friendly gadgets and go tape them to learn from the masters.... YT is all for learning to be a better teacher. 8)

Back to Planet School! Teaching these days is also a lot about showmanship; of the wrong kind... for the moments that matter. I have a friend who has been teaching Science and Bio for many years... in all the years that I know her, her classes have always done well.... but guess what too! She has never been nominated for GC or APC or anything for that matter. Lesser effective teachers have melangkahi over her and become Principals. Not surprising too that my friend is quiet, non-showy and timid in her appearance.

As for YT, she has learned a valuable lesson... giving less exercise will solve the problem of the need of using the exercise books in the way that she is using now. Or perhaps she could also look into using nice and expensive files for filing up exercises..... can decorate them with punch arts, whatever crafty material... kind of a crafty way to score more points also.... LOL! At this point, YT is very attracted to reducing the number of exercises... at the present rate she has been going... one week would suffice to complete the whole month's quota. Not bad, eh?? Can crap for the rest of the month... talk, talk, talk more on her part, write, write, write less on the students' part, listen-listen-listen more on the students' part.... actually very often English classes are conducted more in BM... YT's command of BM would soon be seeing another big improvement. LOL!!!!

Anyway... YT thinks GKB is being personal... and perhaps a big dose of racism too.

Kontrak Latihan and Pemantauan... 2 supposedly instruments to help but has become a burden... We should practise this dictum; KISS - Keep it Simple Silly.... instead of burdening the teachers to the point of silliness too.

On an extra class day....

My gal in Std 4 started her extra classes yesterday. According to the letter given out by the PIBG, it would run for 3 days every week till Oct. My gal says her extra class begins at 1.45 p.m. and ends at 3.30 p.m. So yesterday, at 4 p.m. she arrived home, looking very tired. As it was a Sunday, it also meant that we had church service later in the evening. She hurried herself and bathed upon reaching home. Meanwhile, Son had already prepared toast for her. She took a couple of bites and told me that she wasn't hungry.... and she had lots of homework to complete. So, she proceeded with that while I started preparations for an early dinner. I made her favourite to make up for her long day.

After dinner, we went to church. She took her homework with her, saying that she wanted to complete them at church. So, when she arrived, she went into this little room. Anyway, Other Half went to check her 10 minutes later. Guess what? She was fast asleep on the couch. After church, we rushed off for a quick stop to get some groceries... We got home, Other Half proceeded to make pizza while I cooked supper. And what did my gal do??? Her unfinished homework! She finished her homework at 10.30 p.m. yesterday.....

I thought my life as a working mother is crazy enough... but my gal's isn't far off either. And she's only 10, living a life like a working adult. Childhood is lost upon entering school for many kids these days. There's hardly any time for anything else. We try to balance it with activities like swimming for my gal but I think it's just a matter of time before she succumbs to the busyness of her own life.

And extra classes... how much can we cram into these kids. Everything becomes a rush.... a rush to complete as much work as possible, a rush from one lesson to another. Frankly speaking, life becomes a blur of rushes.

Extra classes.... perhaps HMs should cut down on burdening the teachers with all the paperwork. Instead they should motivate and encourage teachers to give their best in class. All these extra classes seem to indicate failure. It seems the time prescribed in the official timetable is insufficient. If the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua brought so much criticisms in the US and other parts of the world over her parenting style... they should try sending their kids to our education system. We work our kids like 'slaves' too... supposedly for the betterment of their future! LOL!

My own crazy schedule??? Well, suffice to say, I was 'knocked out' too. LOL! I went in to check on my gal... sat down and when I next came to, the service was ending. I tried to convince the leadership to have a creche with 'service piped in' via speakers into the room years ago. But it fell on deaf years. So sitting there, hardly able to hear what was going on, I too ter-shut my eyes.... Anyway, when I opened my eyes, the congregation was singing the closing hymn. I have no recollection of whatsoever from the time I closed my eyes for a purported resting of my eyes till I opened it.

Dog eat dog world we're in...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Committed.... by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is a sequel to her Eat, Pray, Love. Reviews says she is a skeptic who has made peace with marriage or rather was trying to make peace with it via the book. First this is an informative book, though one has to be mindful that quite a bit is based on her own perception. But she gives the reader a good roundup of the changes that the marriage institution has seen in past centuries.

Divorce rates is on the rise, and I agree with her that the emancipation of women has something to do with it. In the olden days, women found security in marriage. It was not safe not to have a 'protector'. Where brawn ruled, the weaker sex needed protection. Empires were built (and torn apart) by marriages. Marriages were business propositions. You did not have to be in love to marry someone. A girl (and boy also) were 'traded' or played like chess pieces to consolidate, join, tie and unite for social, economic and political reasons.

Marriage has always been advantageous to men but women never did question much. They accepted their inferior position as their lot.... till the 20th century. The interest of the society always came before the individual. But 19th century Industrial Revolution brought wealth and education. Thus individualization took off.

She's candid! A lot of what she expresses are stuff that we think of too, just that they're seldom talked about.... inhibited by social and cultural practices. A woman assumes more responsibilities in a marriage. Some of her thoughts...marriage in America has evolved to the point where a woman could be both a wife and a human being. But a successful long-term human partnership requires a certain Death of the Self. Marriage is a repressive tool against both man and woman who enter into it... When we marry for love, the relationship is actually fragile, unlike those marriages entered into for economic, social and political reasons. She has many interesting quotes from thinkers of past... one of them being Kant... about going through 2 puberties. LOL!

The book is interesting enough but personally I think marriage should be keeps... though it's not hard to be convinced why stay in one if there is incompatibility. Then again, incompatibility is something that's possible to be sorted out... after all when a couple marries, they were compatible.. the incompatibility crept in later, or one decides to stop being magnanimous, or demanding or abusive.... it's all a choice. I wish Gilbert well in her marriage though.... I hope they are able to work at keeping their compatibility together. But this is a good read; if anything for the social cultural journey of marriage that the reader traverse with the author.

And it's good to know that Gilbert still finds this institution relevant... even though she implies hers is forced upon them because of the immigration problems Felipe was thrust into. Hey! But then again, they can always settle down in Australia. In the end, sometimes we need a push sometimes to walk down this gangway.... and take the plunge. LOL!

Book 8.... feels good that I can still finish an average of 4 books a week. 8)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

2nd LDP....

... and what a waste of time, yet again. This round of LDP is to teach teachers how to make brochures, as though that is going to help us in our classroom teaching. It's not that we don't know how to build a brochure... and I think they've made all those softwares so easy to manipulate that we no longer also need all those Idiot's Guide kinda instructions.... anyway if you get stuck, there's always the Help button. And if that doesn't work, there's the Internet.... just need to perah a little of your otak.

But the thing is it became a talk on Headcount by the boss for one half hour. The last round of LDP also had a Headcount slot. The reason given for the switch was there was no internet connection. For MS Publisher?? You can build stuff with their little library. But the Headcount talk seemed very well prepared; with printed handouts and slides... as if an ambush planned in advance. Headcount seems to be an obsession, the current flavour, if the rearing of its multiple heads in the last 2 LDPs were to be taken into considerations...

And it's a Saturday morning, some more, 3rd Saturday morning.... supposed to be off??? There were many subtle and veiled innuendos which were intended to burn ears... The chase for a complete paperwork to detail that work is carried out is at full blast is on. The bottom line is, the squeeze is on.... I guess next one might be hearing teachers going nutty... LOL! Plus, it never fail to amaze me how Heads seem to think they are immune to their own words. We are told to follow the Takwim Sekolah. But today's LDP is a deviation from the calling letter... which clearly stated it was a kursus for brochure making but in the end, the total time spent on Headcount and the veiled and subtle was one half hour. We must follow they are free to bend at will....

I may sound like I beh-kam-buan to attend this LDP... which I am. But it's only so because it's such a waste of time. I don't want to learn how to make a brochure. I already know how to make them. I think I can make them better than the facilitator. Even my 10 year old with no prior knowledge of brochure production can probably pick it up after half an hour of fiddling. And the letter states 5 hours. For people like me who have been willing enough to experiment with the various publishing softwares over the last 15 years, I probably have a few other tricks up my sleeve. Anyway, with YouTube and the Net, I've a teacher on-call for 24 hours. And many of them are pros..... so I'm not very dissimilar from those students who get agitated when their time is wasted at school.... another Saturday morning wasted. That's 2 LDPs in a row..... so you see, we teachers are a subservient lot, not very creative nor independent.... how to produce movers and shakers to rock the world???

Automation, mechanization, digitalization, etc, etc.... despite all the modernities which are supposed to lighten our load, it has become heavier. Instead of simplifying work, it adds more work... all those postulation based on projected data... hello!!!! This is teaching kids-lah. If you don't get down to the real teaching, all the data in the world will not change anything. Kids are not statistics to put a TOV, OTI and what have you not. Fiddling with just the TOVs and OTIs will not make any difference if our attitude and heart are not there... and the management has done a marvelous job at agitating many of us.... most of us would work our hearts out, if only minus the subtle and veiled.... the constant reminder of a hanging sword over our heads via KPM says this, JPN says that... we might as well start singing the same tune too... and throw the book back at them....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Running on max....

That's how I think I am running now. I wish there're more than 24 hours in a day. But I also know that having more than those hours would not make much difference. More things will just be piled into the extended day... and soon I'll be wishing for more hours in a day. Endless cycle of toiling never ends.

Tired... it takes effort to keep myself checked since school reopened. Long days at work, loads of paperwork.... workplace is more about churning out papers as proof that we're working this year. LOL! Frankly speaking I do see some good out of some of these but I think they can be simplified and made to really serve their purposes. At the rate we're going, we've been told to hentam so that the figures are there, buat bagi ada.... but paper work must be done.

Early mornings... the rush to prepare breakfast. I still try to pack food for my kids to bring to school. Am thankful for the ready supply of pies, puffs that I can freeze. But sometimes I still make sandwiches or fry something for them.... all that in an hour! But it's all worth it when my girl comes home and tells me her friends drool over her food. Earlier on she wanted to stop bringing food on certain days... but now that her friends are drooling, she wants me to pack again. Then it's off to work. Am thankful for the supply of food at work that a friend brings... it saves time sitting in the canteen - more time saved.

Work...It is unending. Housework; floor to sweep, clothes to hang and fold (sometimes), general cleaning to do and an occasional dinner to cook. But there's always the chak-fan shops and my caterer to fall on... they give me timely breaks. But these days everything is going up too.... so I guess I should go back to cooking more. Healthier too. 8( I think working mothers have crazier schedules than the dads... work at work, work at home. Both are full-time jobs. Some of us have full-time maids. Some like me are fortunate enough to have local help who comes in for an hour or so. Yet there are those without any help... 2 full-time jobs. Sometimes I think of quitting one for the other but then I'd begin to wonder whether I'd be able to fill my time. I wonder too whether I am being shortchanged or shortchanging my family. There's only so much that one can do... So, the vicious cycle perpetuates itself... or rather is perpetuated by the self.

People... families, friends... SOSes, a listening ear, an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on, etc, etc...yet again time. But one

Help... Am thankful for my day-maid who comes in. It gives me occasional breaks from these mundane tasks on a regular basis and that's a welcomed break. I look forward to those few afternoons when I can steal half an hour or so to do my gardening.. weeding and pottering around. It's therapeutic.... And the ever presence of books. I am glad I enjoy reading. I am glad Dad humoured me and got me all those books to read when I was growing up. Books are good companions, great teachers, a place to be immersed, to grow and learn... at my own pace.

Kids... Classes for my girl and boy... sort of a homeschooling thingy with them and their friends. I guess I should feel happy that both still want me to teach where lessons are concerned. You know how it is kids and their parents.... but I guess in a way, this is also my Dad's legacy to me and his grandkids. I used to follow Dad around for his tuition classes and I remember enjoying his classes very much.

But I guess I won't be always running on the max... am feeling a little worn out at this point... stuff piling up, pressure building up... but I am going to try to put a lid to the stress thingy.... sometimes I worry that one more event, or one more SOS will tip the whole delicate equilibrium into chaos....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kids Rule....

..... out of the mouths of babes, the world around us is shaped. Kinda ring true in our present, huh? Look at the marketing trend now. Advert companies unleash adverts targeted at the young, and the adults buy it all in too. My bone to pick remains the telcos, for the seemingly cheap packages they keep coming up to allow kids to spend ceaselessly on texts and calls. I had a most interesting conversation with an old friend during CNY. Her experience was the same as mine when he was at that age that her kid now is... her kid felt too that 3000 smses a month is not a lot!

Kids rule... parents lavish their children with the things they wanted but could not have when they were young. Toys, gadgets, cars creep in by and by. A whole new marketing dimension is actually now targeted at the young. Parents may not spend on themselves but they are willing to spend on their kids. We figure, what's the harm of giving them the best that our money can buy... even if it means not training them to lift a finger at home - that's were the 'Kakak' (maid) comes in. These days, many well-to-do families have maids to answer to their kids every bidding. Another friend shared that one day her maid cooked 3 simple dishes.. but when her newly minted teenage boy sat down to have dinner, he asked what was for dinner... Apparently 3 simple dishes of one fried fish, one simple soup and one veg ( I think that was what she said) didn't count as food... We teased her mercilessly that dinner at her home must be made up of 10 courses! LOL!!!

Kid rule... what the kids say goes. Even sitcoms make parents look goofy these days. Kids seem the wiser ones. What kids say carry as much if not more weight than their parents. Amy Chua in her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, also made a passing comment on this... I get the impression that we've elevated kids to feel that they're wise beyond their years... that parents can be 'hentam-ed' to look silly.

And parents contribute to this 'kids rule' thing. Many parents create a furore if their children are caned at school. We get indignant if our children are 'mistreated'. I remember my mom telling me that if the teacher canes me, she will gift another cane to the teacher so that he/she won't forget to cane me again when I misbehave. These days kids are smug in the knowledge that their parents will go after their teachers.... for one wrong move!

Parents feel guilty for various reasons... busy, no time, etc, etc. So they placate themselves by being 'generous to a fault' with their kids... no time but got material things to replace all those time not spent. So kids rule again...

But kids rule too cos today's kids feel that their parents are out of sync with their world... (which is quite true sometimes) but generally I think kids don't realize that their parents have gone down their paths before and actually do understand... same experience but different setting... Same old problem but these days, kids tend to rule unlike the days when I was growing up....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother... by Amy Chua

Precious Pearl brought my attention to this book... and I found it amusing too. Plus I could identify with the author... a lot. LOL! BTW too, the author is a Yale Law Professor. Her husband too!!!

The book brought in a lot of criticism from 'Western' media because Amy Chua's version of Chinese parenting is deemed very 'harsh' treatment to children. She's accused in all kinds of terms.... mollycoddling, menace, wimp, over-nurturing, prestige whoring (just learned this term).... the list is quite long. LOL!

Does Western parenting do a better job with happiness?? She says it's no better. But I think Chinese parents get a better deal at old age cos filial piety is something which is expected, or even demanded of their children... that children take care of their parents because they owe it to them the persons they've become.

Western parenting is more about boosting the self-esteem, meaning they give affirmative praises even for mediocre performance. Chinese parents on the other hand, demand excellence. But they are also lousy at dealing with failure cos the word is not supposed to exist in their vocab. It was funny reading about her clashes with her second girl who was very headstrong. I've a headstrong boy too......

One thing which I agree very much with her... in order to like something, one must excel in it first. But to excel you need to put in a lot of effort. Hence, rote learning, drilling, harsh words and punishments are all utilized towards that effort. These methods are frowned upon by affirmative (Western) parenting though, are what makes up the Chinese parenting style arsenal. I have to agree with her... a kid will never like something that he/she is not familiar or good at. You've got to push them (well, at least most of them) first. But there's need for affirmation too...

I find it immensely entertaining, Amy Chua's account of how she made her kids practise their piano/violin. And I can identify with her.... LOL! I remember holding the cane, almost nodding off to sleep from tiredness from my 3rd trimester of pregnancy, making sure my boy of 9 practised his piano. Suffice to say he was sobbing as he pounded away on the piano. It was a battle of wills.... often times with threats, cajoling, etc, etc.... without which I am sure my boy would not have completed his Grade 8 piano. It wasn't the piano skills that I was after cos in the end I just told him that he needed to complete it. It was the attitude of not quitting half-way that I was trying to instill in him and also the discipline. Music Theory was never much of a problem for him... as he'd score Merits or Distinctions. It was the Practical aspect... he was just too lazy to practise. I think it was more tiring on me than on him, his piano episode. It's much easier to just let him quit.... the marginal person that he was. Cheaper for us too... piano lessons are not exactly cheap!

I think 'Western' parenting is a bit more of a lazy type of parenting too. It's much easier to let a child choose or decide for himself than be at loggerhead with him/her over something which he/she desires (which may not be good for him). Cos the old 'Western' parenting style was actually quite strict too. As society evolved and as mom and dad go out and work, they have less time to spend with their kids, less energy to instill discipline, less of themselves to give basically.... hence the evolution into the Western style parenting that we know today... then the justifications. It's just like how we always condemn the Western Culture as decadent, etc, etc... It was not like that long time ago... it became decadent as good life became the norm. We become lazy with the good life..... Remember the Greeks???? Or the Romans for that matter.

I think kids need a balanced dose of facts, discipline and encouragement. Life is not all glossy and nice. You can't be telling a kid who can just belt out a few tunes on the piano or whatever instruments averagely that he's talented when he's not. Cos if you do that, he's never going to try to better himself or stand up to hard times. He'll keep running back to his parents for help or worse still, as the recent spate of suicides taking place, take his own life for the quick way out because he/she is just not resilient enough. But some also attribute suicides to over-nurturing... because in over-nurturing, children are over-protected and ends up lacking the social skills to understand the nuances of life... which sometimes can be bewildering.

So Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother... it's an interesting book. I may not agree with all her approaches but it certainly contains quite a lot of gems too... plus it put quite a lot of silly grins on me as I read along. LOL! So interesting that I finished it 2 days after I finished Grisham's The Confession, this being Book 7 for the year. Yay!

For those parents-to-be... go read what this other side of the old parenting style school has to offer... there are gems there to be collected for your own little arsenal when you become parents. 8) But bear in mind too, different kids require modifications of our parenting style... but the essence of parenting should always remain these too... love, hope, faith... cos there is no such thing as Western parenting or Chinese parenting.... parenting is just that.... PARENTING!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day

An Ustazah came out (it's in YouTube) and said that Valentine's Day is a day of maksiat, disco, couple bersunyi-sunyian etc, etc.... plus it's the traditions of the Christians. Read around and it's likely to find even more such statements from these narrow-minded 'religious' people... How is it that these pemikiran sempit people never get it that it is not in any religion's teaching for their believers to encourage wrong and maksiat definitely falls into that category.

Lots of religious people in our country are more interested in the do(s) and don't(s) of the narrow kind. And because Islam is politicized in Malaysia, it becomes a tool to sow seeds of distrust and suspicion. Many years ago, I was at the back of a class (there was a partition and sometimes the teacher would not know that another teacher was behind) when I heard an Ustazah teaching the students not to accept anything if they go to a non-Muslim's house.... the haram and halal thing. In Malaysia today, I think majority knows the food taboos of the Muslims... and also one more thing I'd like to note. I thought the Quran teaches its believers that what is given in good faith, the onus is not on the one who receives, it's on the one who gives. I'm sure they know their God is a compassionate God... yet they do not teach such things. They teach them only the do(s) and don't(s). And so, suspicion creeps in!

Sometimes I think they carry this too far... the air we breathe, pigs breathe them too. The water we drink, it's also recycled, water is a limited resource, remember? It goes in, gets filtered but these days with the environment so badly polluted, be my guess whether the filtration process is really clean... the water that comes out from our taps is yellow with lots of heavy sediments... LOL! Unless you kill all the pigs and boars into oblivion. But I could think of dozen other things which do us more harm than just pork. Makes me wonder whether God made a mistake creating the pigs.....

Anyway, back to Valentine's Day... Take a walk back into history.... in the old days, marriages were pretty much arranged by their elders. When a boy or a girl came of age, they'd be arranged into marriage.... I guess it was probably to kurangkan the maksiat since human beings are sexual creatures too...

Valentine's Day is just a day for people to 'commemorate' their love (and it's not necessarily the sexual kind) or infatuation .... over the centuries it has become something like an avenue for young people to let the one they admire that they've a secret admirer or for couples to affirm their love, etc, etc... It's just another one of those 'celebrations' for a reason, and very commercial too cos there are mega bucks involved. All the flowers and teddy bears (this year for the Chinese, it'll be the rabbits) that fly out from the nurseries and off the shelves... it's good for the economy. LOL!

We can never stop the young (or the old for that matter) to want to feel loved or to love. It's what makes us different from the other creatures. Anyway, I believe if the people want to commit maksiat, they'd still do it with or without Valentine's Day. Blaming Valentine's Day as a celebration that brings about maksiat goes to show how out of modal (capital) some people can be... many years ago, when I was in the university, there used to be a joke that we can never tell whether those girls who pakai jubah were pregnant or not... now will this same ustazah say that the jubah is a reason for maksiat too since it also can hide the consequences of maksiat??? That's me thinking narrowly now....

And go read up some of the tales about the origins of Valentine's Day... sacrifice and love were the themes... not the maksiat. The maksiat thing is our own doing, don't blame it on one day like the Valentine's Day.

BTW... I'm not such a big fan of Valentine's Day myself these days. It's way too commercialized. Everyday should be a Valentine's Day, if I have my way. He! He! Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Confession... by John Grisham

Have not read a Grisham book for quite a while. Other books by him which I've read include The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Partner, The Runaway Jury.... just to name a few that I can remember.

Like the rest of his books which I have, this one also has something to do with the law. And it doesn't quite end with a happy ending. Well, wrong were righted in the end, but not after great losses.

A kid gets arrested for murder. Corrupt officials wanting to see a quick resolution use all means to get a confession. He gets the death sentence. After 9 years on the death row, he dies after lethal injections were administered. Meanwhile, the real murderer confesses at the last minute, televised publicly. But officials think it was a nutcase vying for cheap publicity. So all the institutions which were put in place to ensure 'right' is carried out fail to right the wrong, not even in giving more time to clear the claim. And an innocent man went to his death....

We read about a State Governor who is more concerned about his ratings than show mercy, what more with a probable doubt. We see courts made up of judges who are more concerned about their golf rounds than see that a stay is given since there were probable reasons for doubt. And when they fail, we read about the government officials failing to be the check and balance. We also see court officials who are more interested to conclude a case because of their racial bias. And so a young innocent man who lost his youth to the system dies.

As in real life, innocence does not guarantee an absolution or exoneration. The system often fails us because it is made up of people. Our institutions are often formed with noble aims but the executors very often get carried way by the power and wealth after some time.

And in real life, that happens a lot... justice may prevail but sometimes it takes a long turn and time. Sometimes you don't get to see it prevail at all. The innocent often have to suffer. This read brings out more feelings of disappointment than anything but I feel it's a close reflection to how the world operates.

Recently a friend of mine was involved in an accident. She made all the necessary reports as she needed to get the copies for insurance claim so that repairs can be made. The Sergeant in charge told her that things would be faster if she were to send her car to the workshop he recommended than the one she wanted to send.... I find it strange and can't but wonder whether I smell rat here. Cos, it shouldn't matter where she wants to send her car for repair. The police officer's job is just to take the report and complete it within a certain time... which I think would be clearly stated in their work process documents. Now she is being told that it might take 2 weeks or maybe even longer.... now isn't this an indication that our institution is not functioning as it should. Now I wonder whether this Sergeant has been entrenched there so long that he feels he can dictate where accident victims must send their vehicles for repair....

Oh one more thing! Hosni Mubarak is finally out after 30 years as President of Egypt with a fortune worth about USD40 - 70 billion!!!! I wonder what of our rich tycoon politician in Bumi Kenyalang with his recently acquired young wifey....

Book 6... a real novel after a few 'pseudo' ones.. 8)

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Deal....

A total of 924 school heads have been shortlisted to receive the "New Deals' cash incentives promised under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP). And how much would these heads be getting??? Well, RM7500. Additionally 5% of the top teachers from these schools who have improved beyond expectations will receive RM1800 while the rest will get RM900 each.

I think this it's all skewed. Why reward the Principals more? It's the teachers who do all the hard work. The cash incentives should be the same... it takes a team to improve a school. After all, Principals only teach 5 periods a week. They spend a lot of their time attending meetings. And very often they take the easiest class or subjects to teach! Many of them are lousy teachers themselves. Also, in many schools Principals teach on paper only cos they get other teachers to go into their classes.

What this New Deal is going to do is many Principals will chase the teachers for paperwork while they sit in their air-conditioned offices (some with personal attached bathrooms). It's hard to see a HM walking round the school all the time checking on classes on a really regular basis..... you might see them once in a while but the walks around the school seem to tire them or give them knee pains. There'll be more forms to fill for sure, more meetings to hold so that there'll be more record of work done, more show of everything so that effort is seen.

New Deals... somehow every programme hatched with noble intentions inadvertently saddle us with more paperwork and bog us down...... teaching is not made up of people with noble hearts even though it is a noble profession.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Much Ado About Nothing...

ASTRO finally cut off my transmission and yesterday, one of their bill collectors (I presume) called me to ask me to pay the necessary to reconnect. I've always been a prompt payor, always paying 3 months in advance for the past one year. So when the bill collector talked to me in an intimidating tone that I should pay, I sort of flipped.

I told him I always pay in advance and this is the first time that I've missed payments. His answer was my last payment was in September.... he kept implying that I've not paid for the last 4 months. Yup! My last payment was in September but I was paying for the ensuing months too! All he saw was just 'the last payment date'. If at all, it would have cost them next to nothing just to check my payment records. Anyway, after much ramblings I said goodbye to the caller at the other end.... and I am quitting ASTRO! 8) Been entertaining that thought for a couple months actually. LOL!

And then Nissan. My car window got smashed by some good-for-nothing petty thief and after 3 days of being given a runaround by Tan Chong & Sons (their spare parts section), I had just about enough. So I called up their Careline and told them that it's actually quite inexcusable for their Service Centre not to stock something like a car window.... The reason they gave was their transport service would only begin this Friday, hence I would most likely only get my window replaced next week. Suffice to say, I told the lady manning their Careline that if that's the level of service that I can expect from them, this would be my last Nissan car too. Thank God that we don't have monopolies for cars!

Nissan Careline (KL) was more proactive, at least... Half an hour after our conversation, they called me up and told me that they would send by courier and should be here by today. Well, at least that cooled me down somewhat.

Service... good service. We talk about it all the time. A lot of it is glossy on the outside really. Good service still comes with a lot personal involvement. These days, we have nice packaging, nice sounding slogans, posters, etc, etc... but really good service is still a little harder to come by.

This morning, the whole school had to come to a standstill to listen to the Minister of Education give a speech.... what sheer waste of time. So students sat in the assembly area, in classes and labs to listen. Even the kids can mumble to themselves that 'election is in the air!' This being the subtle seeping of politics into the education system. Here's a good piece by Zairil Khir Johari on Freeing Education From Politics.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

After 6 years...

In an English lesson....
"This is my book. This book is mine."
A Form 1 boy repeated it a couple of times.. and then looked up to the teacher and said, "Eh! Sedap bunyinya, ya, Teacher?" He liked the sound but didn't understand what it meant!!!

Going through students' written work, I find sentences chopped half, left dangling, as though their mind wandered off somewhere in the midst of copying them down into their books. I hauled a student up and made him do his corrections. The same 'chopped' sentences appear, even though I had painstakingly written down the sentences. He is hauled up again and made to do his corrections yet another time. This time, he gets the answer wrong but the sentence is complete.

Yet another girl makes a mistake in her corrections. I write down the answer and make her do her corrections again. Second time around, the answer is still wrong... so it's back to the correction board again... And finally after 3 rounds of corrections she got it right.

I notice that my Form 1 students tend to complete their work for the sake of completing it... blind copying; there is no or very little effort to understand their error. 6 years down the road after primary schooling, English comprehension is deplorable. We are hardly shaping them the right way for shipping into the real world.

When we moved up to secondary schools long time ago, our work habits were more or less set by the primary school teachers. I notice different patterns from students of different primary schools and I am convinced that the kind of Form 1 students we get also reflects the kind of 'training' or 'work habits' they were instilled with. And it goes back to a great extent, their primary school teachers....

Monday, February 7, 2011

CNY 2011

It's still CNY cos CNY is supposed to last for 15 days and today is just the 5th day. There're 10 more days to go. But for most of us, those days that really count are the New Year's eve and the first few days. Cos New Year's Eve is when the whole family from far and near gather together.
CNY Dinner
And this year, I got to celebrate CNY with my bros, something that I've not done for a long, long time. I think it meant a lot to my parents. Would have been perfect if my sis could make it. My gal had a whale of a time... with cousins from both sides.

I also met up with some of the guys in my year, many whom I've not seen for ages, some since Form 5. One was Victor. We were together for tuition under my dad at KL's place where we'd purposely go earlier so that we could play together... hide and seek being one of the games. We'd climb up to the roof, go into the huge longkang.... wonderful memories I have of those 2 years! ...of the whole wall of books at KL's place which used to mesmerize me! And oh! The space! Of Audrey, whom we teasingly called Speedy Gonzales cos she was so fast on her feet and of Jean whom I'm still in contact today.

The whole bunch of us bumped into Mr. & Mrs. Tay with their children at the restaurant. She's 81 this year. And it's amazing how all of us jumped to our feet when she came in, the deference and fondness we share for her. Many of our lives were touched by this amazing lady one way or the other. Her tireless, unending commitment to the young people through her work in the IMYF.... many owe what we've become to her. There's an African saying that it takes a whole village to raise good kids... she epitomizes the effort of the village. The humility she shows despite their social standing.... At 81 she is still serving God. I could think of a few of my bosses whom I'd not pay a second glance should I bump into them.... the arrogance they display.

I met up too with Jean, Yu Lin and Chin. It's always difficult to meet up with the 'girls'... but we had a good time, hanging out for a late breakfast and catching up. It's nice to share that sort of familiarity that only old friends provide... like the old comfy bolster. We visited Chin's mom too....

Time with family members, friends.... a reminder that our days on earth are limited too cos when we get together with friends who grew up with us, there are lots that we share. We watch each other's parents grow old, we see our kids gain inches over us. We hear of friends leaving us.... We empathize for each other in a deeper way... Life's cycle visits us at almost the same time....
CNY Fun Fair
Also the sights and sounds associated with CNY.... this year, the kids had a time of their lives watching the fireworks display. The sky was dotted with flashes of fireworks and lighted lanterns. Other Half and Son think that Tangled had something to do with the more than usual lanterns in the sky. We also took them to the fun fair. There were a lot of firsts for my gal at the fair. 8)

There were also some unpleasant moments... as always when there are meetings of people. But as long as the communication channels are opened, as long as there is willingness, there is always hope to move forward. Another one was my boss who refused to take the eve off, till she attended a meeting and realized most if not all schools were taking one day off. So at the eleventh hour, we took off too. But the opportunity for goodwill was lost...

One more was when our car window was smashed by a petty thief at church.... of all places! I find myself wanting to curse the perpetrator to a miserable existence. The window can be replaced but the inconvenience.... *sigh* But then again, perhaps we'd be moved to take more safety precautions after this. It's a bit difficult to make any headway with the leaders sometimes.....
CNY Dessert
So like all other celebrations.. meaning during CNY comes when there is meeting of lives and like the dessert above we had, they sweeten our lives. And this year, I'm glad that I was able to meet up with some more old friends. 8)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

C for Corpse... by Sue Grafton

Book 5... the corpse in the book becomes the 'main character' only at the end of the story, where an old gun used in an old murder case was cleverly hidden in it. As usual, the main character of the novel, Kinsey triumphed, but not after some heart stopping moments. But then again, heart stopping moments don't quite stop hearts in series like this when you know the heroine won't die. She might get hurt but she won't die..... another one of the alphabet series by Grafton. An enjoyable read!

Book 6... The Big Four. Now this is an old book from the past. I can't recall whether I've read it cos I never did complete the Agatha Christie's Poirot series. But this was a nice enough book, the old spy thriller type.

So 'short' books for numbers 5 and 6, light reading for a busy time of the year.