1975

A sunny day, at the edge of the paddy fields. Blue sky, sparrows flying across the golden fields, the mountains far away, my feet dangling in the cool, clear water of the stream. Life is a bliss…I walked back towards the small hut perched on top of the small ant-hill. I squinted my eyes and saw Atuk, Nik and the workers, their heads looking like pin heads under the hot sun across the paddy fields. I climbed the pokok petai jawa, favourite past time.

From there I could see further, right across the tali air where Nik Ngah’s hut was. Just last night I was there, spending the evening lying in the very hut, the small window next to me. The bright moon and the scattered stars across the dark, bluish evening sky. Atuk, Nik, Nik Ngah, Abah were chatting quietly outside. Sipping dark kampung kopi after a simple dinner of rice, fish and some boiled pucuk ubi.

Saturday Morning

I woke up this morning with the sun ray passing through the window grills. Rexton was sound asleep on her usual pillow, or rather, her daddy’s pillow, on her daddy’s side of the bed. I could see her eyes shut tightly, with even breathing, body curled like a big, furry ball. I kissed her belly and smelt that wonderful Rexton-esque sweetish scent. Wonderful.

It is a Saturday morning  afterall. I get to sleep in a little bit too unlike the usual weekdays. The house sounded quiet too. Lyn is obviously still in her room. The rest of the cats are still asleep too.

I love Saturday mornings. Just wishing that Man is back home. He has gone back to KK for almost a week todate. Looks like it will be another few weeks till we see each other again.

Cat With Toothache

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This is Rexton, Razman’s spoilt 5-kg baby.

And, she has a tooth ache.

She hasnt been eating well lately. Very clingy, up notching her meowing and just refuse to eat her usual biscuits. We found it odd she sleeps with drool lolling out from her mouth. And on Lyn’s pillow too!

So, on Monday, I, like a good mama, took her to the vet. It was a looooong drive from TTDI all the way to Cheras Government Veterinary clinic. And to top it off, I hit the road at a wrong time. I was caught in the vicious Damansara morning traffic at about 8.30am.

Rexton and I arrived at the vet around 9.30am and soon found there were so many others who were there already waiting for their turn. Along with Rexton, I have decided to bring another two kittens – Pacak and Putih, both are about 2 1/2 months old, for their vaccine. Pacak’s name, courtesy of Lyn’s BF drew plenty of laughter at the registration counter. A few curious mamas and daddies wanted to have a peek into Rexton’s basket. They must be wondering how does a cat named Rexton looked like. I obliged them by opening the basket cover. She was obviously not pleased. With a slight hiss she showed them her fangs and turned to her back, showing her bum that resembles the car that carries her namesake… 

Well, after much prodding in her mouth by the vet, Rexton has another appointment to keep on this coming 7th August. She wasnt a very happy cat that morning.

Shuffle at your own risk

I was talking to my daughter yesterday. She’s 16, well..almost 16, comes this October. I was trying to comprehend her excitement over a new dance move called “The Shuffle”. Feeling old as a goat left in the middle of the dessert, I went, “huh?”. Not that I am THAT old considering I was break dancing just a tiny weeny ohhh…..15 years back..and goat has got nothing to do with anything, I decided to explore further about this new dance sensation that seems to be the in thing with my teenage daughter and her bunch of friends.

According to a blog, The Shuffle is actually a dance concept with all sorts of moves like building blocks. Wikipedia even has it listed as a style of dance, originating in the late 1980s in the Melbourne underground scene. The movements are typical Jazz dance steps incorporated with a modern twist, often performed to music with a heavy beat. So, its not so new afterall.

Now back to my teenage daughter. She showed me a video of her friends, taken with her latest Nokia phone, doing The Shuffle. I must say I was pretty impressed with the moves though I was a tad reserved on the kids were dressing. She also told me that they are going to form a dance group called the Uptown Hardstyle and they dance to songs by someone called Base Agents. Now, I have never heard of anyone who is in their right frame of mind calling themselves Base Agents, it sounded like a code name of a person who works undercover for the police. Well, thats just me.

My baby girl also told me, in her excited voice, that SHE will be the only girl in the group and that she will incorporate Liquid Dancing as well. Images of people froclicking in the river popped out from my brain. I don’t know why. So, I asked her the question like any mother would, “Girl, what IS Liquid Dancing??”

Apparently, Liquid Dancing is form of gestural, interpretive dance that sometimes involves pantomime. (Thank you Wikipedia for being there, for parents like me who are trying to converse with their teenagers and trying to understand alien words that pop out from their mouths).

She proceeded to demonstrate to me her Liquid dance moves. With plenty of hand gentures that looked like wave (waving), she also seemed to glide around the family hall with some other hand movements that she said, is the Hand Flow. While I was enjoying this private show, I remembered the last I saw something similar was Michael Jackson doing the Moon Walk. But, that was ohhhhhhhh…..15 years ago. Talk about crash course on teenage rave.

I am still doing some readings around the net to understand this rage. I ended the mom-daughter chat by telling her, as always, that I will suppport this new interest of hers but with the regular caveats. You know, the usual stuff, no booze, no smoking, no revealing stuff, no funny stuff, no late nights, …..and the list goes on and on..

I wonder whether an old goat left in the dessert could shuffle or liquid? 

A Complete Student

The Education Ministry will want to make the extra-curricular activities a priority in schools as they think that participation of students have not reached the desired level.

Although this change of thought is very much welcomed by parents like me, I still hope that Datuk Seri Hishammuddin will open his eyes and realised that his Ministry should TRAIN the teachers first and change their mindset from being a 110% Hitler’s style full year academic achievement, to a more balanced perspective. Not that I am banging the private schools have a better and balanced activities but this is so true. Why cant the teachers (the Head Of School in particular) in most Government schools be more proactive in developing all these young minds? Instead of worrying what goes in “Keceriaan” programme which eats money from the students, why cant we stick to the basics?

I am at awe with what most of the teachers my daughter’s school goes to. Their mindlessness at developing curious minds have made the children to be anti-progress, cocooned, too accepting, and what is worse, no respect towards the teachers. I dont remember these happening when I was at school. My former teachers still command a high respect from me everything we bump into each other in the market.

Only 56% of students are involve in uniformed units. Why is this? I have personally seen some of the uniformed units’ teachers….they dont even believe in their OWN units. They delegate the responsibilities to senior students who in turn, actually need guidance themselves.

Parents can do as much at home to train and to teach their children. However the bulk of the school activities still remain at school. The Ministry should have a wake up call now TO CHANGE THE TEACHERS MINDSET first. Then, after much brainwashing, hopefully (fingers crossed) they found their wisdom and pass it on to the students.

Of Incompetent Teachers

As a mother to a 16 year old girl, I can relate fully to any moms and dads who have gone through nightmares of bringing up a teenager. There are friends who can influence them to do bad or good things. But I guess they spend a lot more deal in school nowadays than at home, so the other party who wields another strong influence is the teachers.

The issue I want to ponder here is this: what makes a good teacher?

When my daughter was transfered to this particular school in Damansara Utama area 2 years back, she was happy with her newfound friends and adjusted pretty well. However, a few months down, I noticed the stories she brought back … of rude teachers and/or MIA teachers for some classes or…unqualified teachers (?). This disturbed me and hubby. We went to meet the class teacher and was not so impressed with what we heard.

Here we are in 21st century where Science and Maths subjects are taught in English and , from what I can gather, the teachers in these subjects are not so proficient in English and they have thick slang which makes it difficult for the students to understand.

Now, before anyone else come and bombard me with “you are not perfect too” statement, please dont get me wrong. These are important subjects. I am no teacher (thats why I dont teach) but to have a basic command of the language to teach excited and young minds as these, surely it is not too much to ask for some preps or training in teacher’s colleges? 

On 23rd July, a School Head in SK Gayang was suspended following complaints that she slapped 22 Year Four pupils for failing to turn in their homework.

In Sibu, a female teacher had forced nearly 200 students into a fish fond as the school’s toilet bowls were repeatedly clogged by sanitary pads dumped into them.

In Miri, seven Form One students suffered injuries on their backs and buttocks due to the repeated canning by their teacher. They said the male teacher had beaten them with a rotan between 10 and 20 times after he found the hostel in a mess, with rubbish strewn around.

Another issue …: of teachers with bad etiquette..

And I am talking about the Headmistress.

Scene 1: Early January. Lyn had one asthma attack the night before school reopens. We missed the bell by a few minutes and didnt see where the new Form 4 students in the school compound. Could it be in the hall? Dunno..So I said to Lyn, lets check with the office, they could tell us where the students are.

Scene 2: As Lyn and I were just about to climb the stairs heading to the office, a group of teachers were coming down. And..all of a sudden, one authoritative lady with an equally authoritative index finger stopped dead in the middle of her descending down. “Nak pegi mana ni?” (where are you going?) “Apa pasal awak berbaju tak senonoh ni? (why are you indecently dressed?)

Surprised, I looked behind me, to see who was the poor soul who got into this lady’s wrath so early in the morning? There was noone.

“Ha! Awak la!” (Yes! You!)

“Saya??” (Me?) There I was, a 38 year old lady dressed in a ladies slacks and a 3/4 sleeved white blouse, all in my fineries (short of not wearing my jacket) on the way to the office, was accused on indecently dressed? Was this lady blind?

The barrage of insults didnt stop there.

“Kalau student yang lain nampak awak macam ni, apa nanti diaorang fikir?!” (If other students see you like this, what would they think of you?) Authoritative finger still pointing at me, left hand at hips. Finger now pointing towards Lyn, “Ni apasal lambat? Awak ada masaalah ke? Apa nama?” (Why are you late? Do you have a problem? Whats your name?”. Lyn answered confidently that she was not well, and yes she was sorry she was a bit late and told her her name.

Next came the big blow…”Awak ke yang pelajar ada masaalah sosial dan masaalah dengan ibubapa tu?” (Are you the student with the social problems and who has problems with the parents?”) Man…this lady must be REALLY BLIND..and an idiot!

Moi…., wants to take this sHXX?? Infront of a bunch of other people AND my daughter? Err…hmm..

My turn now..I pulled the Headmistress to the side and gave her a lecture on social etiquette and the ways of Muslims towards other human being and it just went on from there till eternity……

I am no holly-molly person but I dont believe in embarassing anyone else infront of strangers. She wears tudong, I dont. But that didnt stop her from doing what she was doing. I think she has no tack and show no true “akhlak” (virtues) as a Headmistress, and as a Muslim lady. Infact I think she does not deserve to wear the tudong until she, herself observe her own akhlak. Noone in this world has the right to be a Moral Police.

Some friends who doesnt really know me think I am biased against teachers. Au contraire…my late father was a music teacher AND a Headmaster in the last few years of his postings in Fraser’s Hills. I am very proud of his achievement and I look up to him. No, I am a teacher’s daughter. There is no issue there. I also believe in disciplines but the above incidences make me think twice.