Friday, June 29, 2007


Part of the "perks" of being in the teaching line is that you may get your property vandalized by students from time to time. It surely doesn’t help if you’re teaching in a school where visits by the local police is a regular affair.

To date, my dear Estee ( a nickname I’ve reserved for my car), has been vandalized 5 times in a span of 3 months. Most of the times it would be scratches…sorry..long scratches at the sides of the car, extending from the back door all the way to the front. At other times it may be chalk markings on the windows. Yeay! Lucky wasn’t liquid paper like my friend’s Altis. Perhaps Estee is a tad too pale for the students’ liking, so much so they felt they needed to give her an instant make-over by splashing Milo onto the windscreen.

When I see the “art work” left by the students, I often wonder what goes on in their minds when they do these “touch ups”. What drives them to cause such destruction? What have I done to deserve this? The physical scars can be repaired…all one needs is money. But the emotional scars that one bears inside take time to heal. Often, a very long time indeed. For many of us whose husbands take interest in our cars, having to explain to them about the scratches and sorts is something that we can do without. Really, we don’t need to be reminded that we work in a zoo (as mine had aptly put it). And yes…we have been extra nice to the students today…no punishments meted out to those who turned our classes into a circus.

So when I discovered a 2 meter scratch on Estee yesterday, I quickly went into control damage mode.With the help of my kids the car was “cleaned”. After an hour of laborious polishing (and a backache to boot), we managed to get most of the scratches to magically disappear. Thank God! Coz hubby returned about 10 minutes later, and I really didn’t feel like going through the rigmarole of explaining the why and the wherefores.

To end this post I leave you with a poem that I penned on the eve of Teacher’s Day.

A Teacher’s Wish

On Teacher’s Day I have one wish,
For students to try their best and resist,
Temptations to scratch a teacher’s car,
The one that’s near, or one that’s far.
Be it with stones or twigs or pens,
Your actions are hard to comprehend,
Splashes of Milo across the screen,
It stains our hearts, makes us wanna scream.
Oh Why! Oh Why! Do you do this?
Why is it you’re hard to please?
What would it take to leave our cars alone?
Perhaps a parking bay in some safe “Green Zone”.
Till that day comes, we just have to pray,
That you’ll turn your backs and walk away,
Heed this advice, and be at your best,
End this vandalism, give it a rest!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

D-ARMPIT for IED by Mr Tompang (Unwelcomed Guest Editor)

More and more American soldiers are dying in Iraq these days, prompting GW Bush to rethink his global strategies for world domination. This leads back to the American soldiers’ love for acronyms. It all started many years ago when watching Gomer Pyle USMC (That tells you how old I am). USMC means United States Marine Corp (or corpse).

IED was coined for Improvised Explosive Device by the US military. This sounds like somebody concocted something from his kitchen sink, as he was making curry puffs , they actually turned out to be an explosive device, perhaps too much curry. He then lays down these curry puffs by the road side and then KABOOOM!!! They explode! And next thing you know, its on CNN.

However in the last few weeks or so, you hear no more of IEDs. It’s now called Home Made Bomb (HMB) not to be confused with HMV your friendly local CD joint. I somehow doubt that these are really HMBs. The last I heard they were built with armour piercing elements and laser guided triggers.

So let’s call them for what they are D- ARMPIT for Device for American Reconnaissance Military Provocateur as Intentional Target. A mouthful of BS isn’t it… well I have nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon.

I am what I am and Mr Tompang is who I am!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Of Teng-Teng and Zero Point

At lunch time today, an interesting topic cropped up amongst my colleagues and I. It was on games we used to play as a child. Games we played with our friends whilst waiting for class to start at school, or those we played alone, in the lazy afternoons when none of our friends could come out to play because of one reason or another.

I’m sure we all have our childhood memories when it comes to these games of the past; who we played with, when we played them and where we were exactly when we played them. For most of us who grew up way before the advent of computer generated games like PS 1, 2 and 3..(is there a 4?), these games were our little forms of entertaiments and enjoyments. I love the fact that these games were very simple and straight forward. No wire cables or plug points needed. Often, all that's required were simple stuff like a piece of chalk, rubber bands, cap bottles and a whole lot of imagination.

I remember my primary school would start at maybe around 1p.m...but I was usually at school an hour before that. My friends and I would run to the field where the giant saga trees with its lush foliage, would provide us with some shade. We planted ourselves there and immediately got into our respective groups. From then onwards it was GAME ON. We would only stop when the bell rang, signaling it was time to get to class.

I recall these games were actually seasonal. At one time we wou
ld be playing Teng-Teng (hopscotch). At another time it might be the hundreds of rubber bands attached to one another (zero point). Sometimes we might be playing with 5 bottle caps or the famous batu seremban on the canteen table. Then, there’s the galah panjang or cop tiang. There’s this other one which I can’t remember the actual name. Is it capteh? Where we have a couple of feathers stuck on a small circular rubber piece and we’re supposed to hit it with our legs (timbang2) as many times as possible and stop when it hits the ground. Aaahhh! Those were the days.

In retrospect, I often wonder what was it that made these games so enjoyable? Was it the people we played with or its sheer simplicity? Perhaps it’s both. When I tell my children about my childhood and the games that I used to play, there is often this look of bewilderment. Then it dawned upon me that many of the kids today may have never heard or seen any of these games. It would be a shame if the art/skills of teng-teng or galah panjang or zero point are lost in the future. Hmmm..perhaps it’s time to smuggle out some chalks from school. I feel my itchy feet can do with a bit of hopping with the kids.

Err..this is not me playing batu seremban ok!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Happy Father's Day

(TQ Kak Lang, for sponsoring the cake)

After weeks of waiting, 17th June arrived, much to the excitement of the family. It’s Father’s Day!.My sis-in-law and I had earlier planned to rendezvous at the “big house”with our respective families on tow, for our annual father’s day do. Unfortunately though, hubby had to be at a conference and would only be back in the late afternoon (conference organizers!!! Don’t they know anything about Father’s Day?). So gathering was set at roughly 5pm.

Anyway, since I was busy slaving away in the kitchen preparing my infamous mee lemak, my eldest quarantined herself in her room and produced another one of her famous Father’s Day card, complete with Winnie the Pooh and Hello Kitty stickers!

I love it when we meet up on special occasions. Be it for birthdays, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. I feel it’s important to celebrate these occasions and show our appreciation towards those who we love and care very much. Often as we mindlessly go about our daily routines, we may forget to thank our partner for his/her contribution in keeping the family “together” . And what better time to do so, than on these special days.

So to dear husband, the father of my five children…Happy Father’s Day. Thanks for being such a great guy.

It matters not that Time has shed
His thawless snow upon your head,
For he maintains, with wondrous art,
Perpetual summer in your heart.
~ William Hamilton Hayne

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Special Needs Special Kids

When the eyes and hearts are closed, that can be a difficult thing. It stops you from seeing things from a different point of view, a different perspective. But most importantly, I feel, it prevents you from empathizing towards those who may not be as fortunate or as lucky as you are .

I have a story to tell. A sad, but true story to tell. It’s about a special boy, from a Special Needs class in a local secondary school. This boy was vision-impaired. Although he had problems with his sight, that did not stop him from leading his life as normal as possible. In fact in his school where he sat for his SPM, he was placed in a normal class, with the other average Joes. He was a hard worker, listening attentively to the teachers in class and occasionally checking his notes with his mates. Often one would see him placing the reference book only a few centimeters away from his face when revising. The only preferential treatment he received was during exam, where his exam papers would be enlarged to A3. Aside from that, he was just like any other kid.

Perhaps it was his perseverance and the will to do well in life, that pushed him to excel in his SPM. When the results were announced, he did very well. Scoring a string of As, where other “normal” kids have failed to do. This didn’t surprise the teachers as he often managed to score high marks in his tests and exams. So when he was called to continue his studies in Form 6 at a neighbouring school, he was very excited. To give support and encouragement, one of the Special Needs teachers accompanied him to his new school. She went to assist him in registering and perhaps meet somebody there to give some background info on the boy.

However, the new school was far from welcoming. The administrators’ reaction to his presence at the school was very negative. The boy was taken aside and a private conversation ensued between him and the school administrators. Whatever transpired between the boy and the administrators of that school remains unknown. But it is suffice to say, that when he was later met by his teacher, he was in tears. To this day, he has refused to reveal what has been said to him in that private conversation. When asked if he wanted to study there, the answer was a definite NO! His spirit had been broken.

I am angry and I am ashamed. More so of the latter, as I too am a teacher, and I feel that we of all people should be more sensitive or understanding towards those who want to learn. What right do we have to prevent one from achieving one’s fullest potential? Who are we to cloud over the dreams of others? How hard is it to give the boy a chance? Perhaps, God willing he may do well in his STPM, and the school might even share the limelight of his success. From where I’m standing, I see him who is vision-impaired. Not blind, mind you. Just a regular boy with some problems with his eyesight. It is the administrators who are blind, for not seeing the gem he is.
Buta di mata dan buta di hati.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

What’s in a N. A. M. E?

Finally, exam is over (this morning) and I’m now free to accept the tag passed by my old chum D ( pausetoreflect). So, what’s in a name? A lot apparently, from the entries of those who have been tagged. Thank God the quantity is 5 ( have 5 of my own and wouldn’t want to exclude any of them!). goes;

Proposition: What is the meaning of your kid(s)'s name?
Requirements: write about what or how or why you gave the name to your kids.
Quantity: FIVE PEOPLE.
Tag Mode:1st - You leave their blog and post link and add to the list below.
2nd - Let the blogger you want to tag know they been tagged by commenting in their blog or etc.

Msau The meaning of SQ and Kiki
Shopping Mum The meaning of Justin and Isabell
Judy Chow Terry
Shannon Rachel
Samm Gordon n Malcolm
Sasha lil J
mott 2 monkeys
Fatty Poh's Fatty Boy
D Abang Z, Abang H, Princess & Little D
Bluewonder NH, YS, UM, SF & LH.

As mentioned earlier, I have 5 kids (3 boys and 2 girls). All of which I had by the age of 34. When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I remember telling my husband that I wanted the child and the ones to follow (insyallah) to have just one name. Not 2 or 3, but only one name. Being one to please yours truly, he agreed. But, since we can’t actually agree on everything, I’ll give you my version and my husband’s version for all of the names.


The name of my eldest was actually taken from the name of a postgraduate’s daughter that I used to know back in the early 90s. The name means compassionate, affectionate, loving and tender. I remember the little girl as being sweet and pleasant. I was smitten by her and her name. But when I gave birth, my mom-in-law wanted her first girl grandchild to have 2 names. To please her, we agreed. And accepted the one chosen by dear Wan which means light.

Husband’s version:
He claimed that he had a dream of an Irish leprechaun who repeatedly said “Light as a feather, you are..” x infinity. When our girl was born she was truly as light as a feather, weighing a mere 2.21kg. So the inspiration of that leprechaun inspired the name of NH which means light of compassion.

Now since the first child has 2 names, the ones that came after that were automatically given 2 names as well.


My second child a boy who came about 1 ½ years later bears a prophet’s name. His second name however is the name of the Muslim leader who liberated Al Quds from the crusaders. When we decided on the second name, we hoped that he would grow up being a gentleman and as brave as his namesake.

Husband’s version:
When Y was born, he was, according to my husband, the most handsome baby that he had ever seen. So he named the child after our most handsome prophet. The second name was to commemorate hubby’s grandfather’s name. True enough, when he grew up he seemed to emulate his great grandfather who was mild mannered but can sometimes go into a rage at appropriate circumstances.

The third who is also a boy was named after the 2nd Caliph of Islam. It was also the name of my late grandfather who (as I was growing up) was very fierce and strict, but mellowed in his later life.

Husband’s version:
This one was named after a certain Libyan nationalist/ Islamist/ rebel who lived in the Sahara Desert fighting the Italian colonialists. He was feared as the “Lion of the Desert”. Second name is taken from the 99 names of Allah.

I went thru the Net and chose my little girl’s name which I felt sounded nice and had a simple, straight forward meaning – Pure delight, happiness. And truly, what a delight she is. A perpetual sunshine when not antagonized by big bro UM

Husband’s version:
He wanted to name the child sapphire but it wouldn’t register with NRD. Hence, he was resigned to accept my proposal but added the second name to remind him of his cat and dog relationship which he had with his sister.

Finally, L H
The last one is a boy, and again it’s a prophet’s name. Whenever we tell people his first name, nearly everyone would say “Hakim” after that. So to make his name different from the norm I chose his second name which means protector, one who has memorized the Quran.

Husband’s version:
As he came home late one nite, he could not enter his abode as wife was in deep slumber. He then dreamed (yes...another dream!) of a child who would wait for him in the wee hours of the morning, to open the door with open arms. Thus inspiring his first name.

All that's left is to guess their names and a prize will be given for the correct answers.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A fetish for Bean

What is it about Mr Bean that appeals to all? The young, the old, the English speaking or not. How is it that this gangly Englishman who doesn’t say much, is understood perfectly by the millions of people around the world?

When I first arrived in the UK as an undergraduate, my friend and I were placed in a Scottish home as part of an integration effort by our Malaysian government. We were given a cosy twin sharing room that came with a small TV. Sometimes, we would join our hosts to watch some programmes in their living room but we'd definitely be in the comforts of our room when it was “Bean-nite”.

I distinctly remember my first experience of watching Mr Bean back in 1990. I have to say I’ve never laughed so much that my jaws hurt. In fact, my roommate D, who I was just getting to know at that time, laughed so much that at one point she was just shaking uncontrollably, in utter silence, as tears trickled down the sides of her face. I recall thinking she was sick or something as she wasn’t able to speak to me for a good couple of minutes. Aaah! Such is the unique effect Mr Bean has on us.

Well 17 years down the road, my kids are now watching Mr Bean. Though the younger ones don’t understand English that well, that hasn’t stopped them from enjoying the show. A couple of days ago, my sis came home with Mr Bean’s latest movie. The kids were so excited that they insisted we watch it immediately. And they have been watching it everyday since. Just this morning, my husband tuned in to CNN for his usual morning dose of news and my 3 year old pleaded with him to put Mr Bean on instead. To this I replied, “Let ayah watch CNN first. Bila ayah dah pergi, baru kita tengok ok”. Upon hearing this, my girl who is 1 yr 8 mths , quickly turned to her daddy and said “Ayah, work …keje..(waving hand)..bye!”.

After ayah leaves for work, kids go on a holiday with Mr Bean

To end this piece, let me leave you with a question. Who would you consider to be our very own Mr Bean? For me one name comes to mind...the funnyman himself..Mat Sentul!

Monday, June 4, 2007


It’s quite common to come across funny signs when we travel. Sometimes it’s in the spelling, sometimes it’s in the play with words and sometimes it’s in the message itself. Here are some examples that I found in the Net.

When I was in Edinburgh, in my 3rd year university, a group of friends and I went north of Scotland to spend our Xmas break. The holiday was most memorable for several reasons; the convoy journey that was made in my friend’s second hand VW Jetta, the 20 frozen chickens that were packed in a cooler which were to last us for a week and the many unplanned stops made along the way as we struggled to read the map in the darkness of winter. And it was during our travels that we would come across some funny Scottish signs. Perhaps one that strikes my mind is a sign for a small town which read “GOSTAN – 2 kms”. My friend the driver, P, simply couldn’t resist stopping the car and insisted that we took a picture of him standing underneath the sign in the freezing cold. I think you and I can easily understand the significance and hilarity of such a word!

Well a couple of weeks back, my hubby and I met his friend who happened to be on his way to put up a “No Trespassing” sign on his vacant land. Apparently people have been trespassing and even dumping rubbish on his property. Not one to put up with all these nonsense, he customized a special sign which was Big and Bold indeed! When I read what was written, I just couldn’t stop laughing. You have to be a person like A, with his strange sense of humour, to be able to come up with such gems.

Hannan's Pahang Adventure