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Showing posts from April, 2010

Pause to reflect

I am packing my room/office.

We are going to move out of our house tomorrow. 

This house, where we have shared so much joy and laughter, me, my son and my wife... my family.

All of a sudden, a harrowing sense of sadness threatens to overwhelm me.

We are moving out of our family home, to rent it out to complete strangers (a nice enough family but still), and I will be uprooting my wife and son from everything we've ever known as a family. 

We will be staying with my parents is Skudai. My son will transfer to the Skudai branch of his kindergarten, having to start over again with new teachers and new friends. My wife will now have to travel the arduous 30-45minute journey to her school from Skudai, heading out at 6.15am in case of the jam.

Strangers in a strange land.

And for what? A chance that we can go overseas to NZ. A guarantee? No... As much as I hate to admit it, this uncertainty is tearing away at my soul, and I can't help but wonder... What am I doing? What am I doing to my fam…

More Information Please

It has been three agonising months just doing what NZ Immigration has asked me to do, and waiting for the damn results from the medical assessors to be returned.

Call up NZ Immigration this morning.

Answer from NZ Immigration "Sorry, the medical examiner needs more information. They need a liver function test, and a hepatitis test. Sorry you're going to have to call up the university and ask them to postpone the starting date for a while".

I am crushed.

Not as bad as a full out rejection, but still bad.

This means a few more hundred/thousand ringgit on useless tests, with still no guarantee of anything by the end of it.

This means waiting another month after I do the tests to see if I need to do more tests, or if I am through, or if I am rejected.

This means another whole month of worrying.

This means another whole month of answering the onslaught of the usual friendly question - "So when are you going?".

I think I'm almost burnt out and jaded by this whole…

Make RM*** a day logging on to *******???

It's a dream come true for many people to have the ability to make money out of thin air. 
Heck it's even my dream too...
But, unlike some of my respected friends and colleagues, I believe that a money-making system has to be verifiable and sustainable. 
Reason? I've been burned before.
By whom? This ratty thieving company called IPC that market this ratty scheme called Em-Pay. How do you do it? May sound familiar to many of you. Buy in at so and so amount. Get people to buy in at so and so amount. Wait for the money to roll in. As long you keep on rolling in the suckers, you get their share of money. When you stop reeling in suckers, your money stops too.
Except with this ratty company, I didn't even get what I invested in back.
Anyhow, any of this sound familiar?
I'm sure it does.
Right now, there's a very successful one going round in a popular Social Networking Site (SNS). It sort of goes like this: Make RM*** a day logging on to *******.
At first glance it…

Wordpress depressed

I just started dabbling into the other side (the Dark Side for us Blogspotters).

Yes, I confess, I have started looking to Wordpress to advance my blogging needs. It's just that people say Wordpress is where it's at if one really wants to blog. A friend of mine in Melbourne said that Wordpress users didn't have to dabble in HTML (as seen in my previous post), and that everything was done for them, just like that.

Well, I really had to check that out.
So here I am, with two new Wordpress blogs under my belt - one a mirror of this site, and the other a professional project blog for practicing and aspiring teachers and educators for us to exchange ideas and information (click on the links I have provided - one in the picture slider, and the other a free link). And guess what - This is what I found.

1) Really cool point - Wordpress has the ability not only to host blogposts, but also pages. This means it can function like a website (though with very limited functionality). If one …

HTML masochism

HTML is painful.

Ask anyone who has ever tried to learn it.

Your coding has to be immaculate, or the script will not load. Your tags at the beginning have to have the appropriate tags at the end. Make a single small error, and you may find yourself crawling inch by inch, scrutinising every letter in the code, trying to figure out what went wrong.

While you are involved in the process, you will inevitably start doing a few other things too.
First among these other things is finding yourself without enough sleep. Your brain starts to shut down bit by bit, and things start to become a wooly haze. You see people's mouths moving, but you struggle to understand what they are saying... This is bad... This by itself should deter anyone but the most hardcore fanatics from even looking at HTML coding.

Next, you may suffer from rosy cheeks. This does not come from a glowing complexion of someone who has just spent their evenings jogging at the local lake gardens... No, this one comes from sl…

Literary nightmare, literally...

The semester has drawn to a close, and as always the students feel a need to celebrate after completing their final paper.

It is a time of joy and happiness. A time where they get to know that their sleepless nights studying and completing assignments has paid off.

Here I am, at the KFC in Jusco here in Taman Universiti, with a group of my First Year TESL students, having the time of my life talking with them about how the semester had been for them. We all joke about and tell funny stories, recollecting the good and the not so good times we had during the semester... And then to wrap things up, they ask me to make a formal speech.

Everyone pipes down and focuses their attention to me.

I look around the table, focus on each smiling face, and suddenly feel myself transported to the times when I was in class with them...

They were a mixed bunch, some very good, some good, some not so, and some quite bad in terms of language proficiency and ability to analyse literature. I remember push…

Memories of Kuwait Al-Hur

Image credit here.

Dust and sand... Dust and sand... Dust and sand... Thus the gathering 'toos' (sandstorm) swirls in the wind gathering unbridled momentum, angry and pulsing with life. It was as if the sandstorm had become a living entity, an embodiment of the life-force of the desert sands - harsh, unrelenting, and totally out of man's control... I stared unblinking as the fury of nature unleashed wave upon wave of unnerving howls, each wail seeming like a call from souls lost in the vast expanse of the unforgiving desert...

I thanked the Lord above that I was safe indoors, in the sanctuary of the room I shared with two others in the student hostel, our 'sakan'. It was a paradox of states, as if two forces were struggling to collide and merge with one another, one the peace and serenity of the sanctuary found indoors, and the other the pure untamed wilderness of Nature. I stared on, eyes wide with the fear of a man who is confronted with a new element in his worl…


How many people here have had to endure the constant barrage of friend requests of e-networkers on their personal Social Networking Sites (SNS)?

Not that I have anything against business per se, or even against MLM businesses in general because I too aspire to be a successful entreprenuer, and I have personally gone through my trial by fire for MLM businesses as well.

No, I do not harbour any grudges against businessmen or network marketers who have finesse and practice calculated restraint over their zealousness to 'bag the next client/ downline'.

But I do have a BIG grudge against 2 types of e-networkers on SNS.

Type I
This is the type of e-networker who uses a PERSONAL account on PERSONAL networking sites like Facebook for pure business networking. They can be characterised by their number of 'friends', usually amounting to thousands of total strangers with whom they have no interest to get to know personally unless they bring in money. This type of e-networker operates …

Neil Armstrong - The undying rumour of the Muslim world

Many years ago, when I was an impressionable schoolboy in a religious school, I was stunned by a startling announcement made by my Ustaz (a religious teacher).
"Do you know that Neil Armstrong is a Muslim?!!" he said emphatically.
I was flabbergasted.
"You mean THE Neil Armstrong? The first man on the Moon?" I asked.
"Of course I mean that Neil Armstrong! How many Neil Armstrongs do you know?" was the reply, "There was a big convention when he came to Malaysia... Tabligh (a religious organisation) brought him over.. there were thousands of people who went"
... Wow... I thought... But somehow, deep within my gut I was still skeptical... you know the feeling, like you want to believe something with all your heart, but you know that something just isn't right.
But it's not something to lose sleep over is it?
And so every few years, the news would surface somewhere that Armstrong was Muslim, and many Muslims just accepted it to be natural - Of co…

Time, Tide and The Grim Reaper

Image credit here
A lot of people say that before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes.
Hogwash! I used to say... How can a person's whole life fit into the split seconds before his untimely demise?
But here's the thing about time - Einstein was right on the money when he said that time was relative.
This would mean that 'time' as we know it exists in different forms for different people, at different points of their lives.
Heavy... isn't it?
Let's take on a few examples to help illuminate this theory.
First, let us have a look at a college student who is hanging out with his friends at the local sports bar, having a few drinks, watching the Premiership game on a widescreen TV, and he has an test tomorrow. You can that for him every time he looks at the clock an hour would have passed without him realising it.
Next, let us have a look at someone who is stuck indoors on a beautiful summer's day, having to read up on Calculus because he has a Calculus exa…

Open Relationship my A**!

Image credit here

I love Facebook.
I really do.
It's cool. It's got all you need to tell people about you - your photos, your likes, your dislikes, what you did for the weekend, what your grandmother had for breakfast etc.
One thing I like about Facebook is that it gives the opportunity for people to tell the truth about their relationship status, whether they were single, married, in a relationship and so on. As a social scientist who is somewhat versed in discourse analysis, allow me to analyse a few of them.
1) SINGLE - a lot of lovelorn teens and young adults post this as their relationship status. Mostly, when they say they are single on Facebook you can generally believe it. Reason - they're going to get a whacking/tongue lashing from their significant other, who is also on Facebook.
2) (Not Stated) - This equivocation is one usually used by people who are in a relationship but are not comfortable in admitting it yet, or are in a relationship but their significant other i…