Friday, July 27, 2007

I’m a teacher, hear me out

Of late, there is not a day that goes by without teachers being mentioned in the daily news. If you have followed the current events in Malaysia, you will definitely know what I’m talking about. But for those who are away from home or not a Malaysian, let me enlighten you. Teachers are making headlines for reasons such as below. Let these news clippings from the local dailies speak for themselves.

School head suspended for allegedly slapping 22 pupils
KOTA KINABALU: A primary school principal here was suspended with full pay for two months following complaints that she slapped 22 Year Four pupils for failing to turn in their homework.
via The Star Online

Student (slapped by teacher) may lose his hearing
Penampang : A Form One student who was allegedly slapped by a female teacher on Friday may lose his hearing on the left ear forever.
via Daily Express

These are just a few of the clippings that I found, but if you have time to scour the dailies you can indeed find more.

When parents send their children to school, they expect their children to be taught and nurtured by teachers and possibly along the way pick up good moral values from school. The last thing they expect is their children to be slapped or punched or anything of the sort by the very people who are supposed to be looking after them.

Being one in the teaching line and having to face hundreds of students each day, I feel that one should exercise the utmost restraint when dealing with school children. Patience and tolerance are prerequisites, if one wishes to survive in the teaching world. This is especially important if one is teaching in a primary or secondary school. Without these qualities one can easily succumb to the pressures at the workplace and end up doing harm not only to the students but to one’s career as well.

I often hear people say that those who end up as teachers are those who have failed to secure any other jobs. I don’t know about that, but I do know that there are many who choose teaching as their vocation and do so because they feel they can be good if not great teachers. One who inspires the minds of the young ones to lead less ordinary lives. Perhaps in the light of these events, we should, as a friend would put it...pause to reflect...and ask ourselves where do we go from here? Aside from teachers adhering to the clear guidelines set by the Minstry on what is deemed as acceptable forms of punishments, I feel that parents should play a more active role in bringing up their children. You’d be surprised that many parents have no inkling whatsoever on what their children are up to when they are busy at work, the people they consort with etc etc. Some children are so good at masking their true selves, playing both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Perhaps they are little angels at home. But sometimes these kids can be very different when at school, with the way they behave and the foul language used. And in many instances it is the teachers who bear the heavy responsibility of disciplining these kids.

Another thing to look at is the Malaysian education system’s emphasis on academic excellence. The way things are, we are trying to produce little professors. But children are not all academically inclined and why should they? There are students who find school a bore as they feel that the syllabus has no relevance to their lives. And when they are bored or find the lessons difficult to follow, these children may resort to mischief and cause discipline problems at school. I feel, we should make an effort to cater to the needs of such students i.e. vocational subjects should be made part of the mainstream schools. Instead of just Science and Arts, there should also be a vocational stream in all schools. Many of these kids may not be good in their studies but they’re good in other things. If we can tap this talent we will be helping them in the long run, by giving them something that they can actually do, skills that can be used after leaving school. And when students see the relevance of what they can be taught at school to their future needs, then perhaps they will find school / education indispensable. With some luck they’ll behave and appreciate what schools have to offer.

Teachers are in schools to help mould the future generations and if there is a need to punish, it pays to exercise good judgement. After all, we are not in schools to become punishers and the “teaching profession is not peopled by psychotic tyrants” ( I hope!) I’m optimistic that things will get better.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


My other half goes away every 2 – 3 months for about a week or so. Usually to conferences, either as a participant or speaker, or at other times for business pusposes.

The kids love it when he goes off …when the cat is away, the mouse comes out to play you’d think. Well maybe, but they love it as this would mean that ayah will come home with lots of goodies (read as presents@toys). Also, this would mean that the older two will take turns to sleep in my room together with me and the younger three. The excuse…well since ayah is away, mama might be needing help at night and it’s a boon if one of them is in the room to give a hand. They’ve even done a schedule on who gets to sleep first, carefully dividing the number of nights between the two of them. Not a day more, not a day less. Equal number of nights on my already cramped Kingsize bed!

On my part, I dread when my husband is away. Simply because I find myself having to do the stuff which used to be taken care off by my partner. The runarounds like paying bills and picking up stuff from this person and that person often leave me feeling like the dispatch boy/girl. But the one that I dread most is the morning run to send my eldest to school. You see, it’s his job to send my girl to school everyday. I on the other hand would send my number 4 and 5 to the babysitter and then send my number 2 to school on my way to work. This arrangement has worked out quite nicely. But when he is away, adjustments have to be made. I find my day starts 30 minutes earlier. Need to get myself ready for work, get 2 kids ready for school, other 3 kids ready to be sent to their babysitters. Make sure the TV is not switched on as kids would be watching it and not eating their breakfast. Get things in the car; laptop, schoolbags, bags for the sitters and the list goes on and on. Really! With me running around getting all these things done, there’s no need for any morning exercise. I think I’ve managed to have a full cardio workout even before stepping out of the house. By the time I arrive at work at 7.30am and plonk myself at my desk, I feel as if I’ve gone through the whole day already.

Dear hubby knows my feelings about his outstations. Often, a day or two before leaving he would try and “suck up” to me by taking me out for some nice dinner or lunch. This time around he didn’t get to do so. However, a few hours before he left, he managed to get me a box of Secret Recipe’s sinfully rich chocolate cake as a butter-me-up …before-I-leave-you present. Like they say, the best way to win a person’s heart is through the stomach …and that reminds me…I need to eat the cake with my kids before he returns tomorrow!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

SCRATCHES - Part 2 (the C.S.I version)

Just like many successful movies that are later followed by sequels, my “Scratches” too has its own sequel but this time with a different set of cast and at an entirely unexpected location.

The setting:
Last Sunday at home, sometime in the late afternoon.

The plot :
I had just returned from the shop with my eldest son for our weekly grocery shopping and as we were busily lugging the grocery bags into the house, I noticed some scrawls on the passenger door of my husband’s car. Ohhhhhh! Are my eyes deceiving me or are these actually scratch marks!! And they’re on HIS car!! For those who have missed the earlier “Scratches”…the car that tends to get scratched has always been mine. Not his, but mine. Always at my workplace and NEVER at home. So imagine my horror!

Anyway, they were scrawls…imagine someone placing his hand (with long nails to boot) on the door and moving it in a circular motion over and over again…that’s what it looked like. I yelled for my son and daughter to come outside immediately, and when they saw what had happened they quickly announced that they had nothing to do with it. They even gave their alibis for me to check. By this time, my husband who was in the house, had heard the commotion and joined us at the porch. There was dead silence as he bended over to inspect the damage.

When he asked who had done it…my 3 year old son almost on cue declared “Pia” my youngest daughter, and insisted that he had been the sole witness to the crime. Both husband and I stood there puzzled. Yes, my youngest girl was in the vicinity at the time, but really…how much damage could this 1+ year old inflict with the egg carton she was holding. It was at this very moment our CSI skills kicked in. NO, we didn’t have any magnifying glasses lying around in the house to help us with our case, nor did we have any fingerprint dusting kit that would lead us to the perpetrator. All we had was the God given skill of using Reverse Psychology on a 3 year old. We realized that the only way to ever find out the truth was to get hold of the crime weapon. So we asked for our son to go and fetch the so called “weapon”. To our surprise he said…O.K...and darted into the house. We waited with baited breath. A few seconds later he returned. Lo and behold he was holding a packet of Chipsmore! And eating it too. Is it possible that my lil’ Princess had used a biscuit to scratch daddy’s car? Whatever it was, we were definitely losing sight of our evidence, as it slowly made its way into my son’s belly!

The Conclusion:


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

11 Years Ago Today

I received mails today from friends whom I've known for the past 17 years reminding me that 11 years ago today... twas our graduation day! How quickly time flies. I recall 6 years before that, we were called to attend an orientation programme for a couple of days at Wisma Belia in KL. Students selected for the course came from all over the country; East and West Malaysia and we congregated at this nondescript building to meet each other for the first time.
We met, we bonded and became life-long friends in the end.


Wisma Belia - Days were filled with morning exercises and listening to talks and participating in group sessions. We not only learnt about each other but also ourselves.

The famous Malaysia Hall in London (er...excuse the cat!) Who can forget the lunches at the canteen - nasi, satu lauk berkuah, sayur and the compulsory air sirap? Not to forget the dashing Dexter then.

After saying goodbye to our other half who headed off for Coventry, we were bundled off to bonny Edinburgh and roughly 4 1/2 hours later arrived at Waverley Station.

Aaahhh!...first few glimpses of beautiful Edinburgh...

Horay Mouse Institute :) for the next 6 years.


Field trips-summer picnics-winter sales-Boxing Day,

weekly usrah-sleepovers-video marathon,

HMV-Virgin Records-Dorothy Perkins-Argos-James Thin-Odeon

Kebab Mahal-Pancake Place-Veggie burger-Pizza Hut-Crawfords

Lawn bowling-Croquet-Ice skating-hill walking

Eid prayers at the meadows-Raya gatherings-open houses-free food!!!

Easter break-study break??- Xmas holiday-trip to Europe

oh yes..not to forget classes-assignments-presentations and exams.

...Pure bliss...

McEwan Hall - Our Graduation Day!


Though we have gone our separate ways,

the memories are here to stay,

Of cherished thoughts that fill our hearts

Till the last moments when we part.

Hannan's Pahang Adventure