Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Me and English

I always try to find ways to make my students realize how important English is. I am glad that PPMSI is being conducted in our national schools because the students can be exposed to ‘more’ English rather than learning English only in B.Inggeris subject. For me, early exposure is important when we are still young, because at that time, our brains are like sponge. It can easily absorb anything. It’s like, you have to learn muqaddam when you’re still small and learn to solat by the age of 7. Young age is tender age, so, if you want them to absorb more, expose them early.

I learn how important English is the hard way, after getting less favorable result for my degree programme despite being a recipient of TM scholarship. I have my own personal bad experience that give me a hard time learning a 4-year engineering degree programme fully in English. I was born in a small town in Tanah Merah, Kelantan. My old folks are not graduates, but, my father is a government servant and my mom is a teacher. We stayed with my grandma and grandpa, and the whole family speaks in kelantanese dialect. Standard malay language is not spoken, and what more for English! Zilch! I still remember one time when I go to kindergarten and my teacher asked me (also in kelantanese dialect) what did I have for breakfast. My answer is “Make air milo nge roti (makan air milo ngan roti)”. And I still remember my teacher’s smile afterward. She said that, one cannot makan air… you must use minum air instead. Haha .. Ye ker? Seriously, I didn’t know that until my teacher corrected me.

But, I am lucky that I have a smart brother. He has indirectly given me an opportunity to learn English better by teasing me whenever I want to watch ‘cheap’ malay movies. He is into English thriller/action-packed movies, so, he really hated it when I tune the TV to watch cherita chenta. He’s my big brother, so, I gave up and watch his favourite stories instead. As a result, I think my English is quite okay as compared to my other classmates. I remember using the word ‘fantastic’ when I was in standard four, and my English teacher Sir Rozmi was quite surprised to hear that. He did ask me where did I learn the word from, and my answer is … yesterday’s movie on TV. Waaa…. The teacher complimented me in front of my friends. Hihi..suka giler! From that day onwards, I rarely argue with my brother on his selection of movies to be watched.

Then, getting myself into a boarding school has given me some help in improving my English. But, I improve in writing English, not speaking English. I hardly speak in English because I don’t know how to. Plus, I felt inferior since my friends from KB town are way better in English than I am. But thanks to them, they are also the ones who encouraged me to read English novels. I remember Boo-chique, De’ and Mok Nik. They read a lot of English novels and their english are good. I manage to read only one, after my PMR exam, and it took me almost three months to finish it. Itupun.. there are a lot of parts that I have skipped because I don’t understand them. It was Mok Nik's book, on a psycho killer. But at least, reading that novel has widen my vocab. The next English novel that I manage to read is after my SPM exam, a John Grisham’s which belongs to my brother.

Wah..this is gonna be a long story ya? Yes..because I have a long history with English. Then, I got an interview with Telekom after scoring 7 agg. in my SPM. Before entering the interview room, I was very nervous because I CAN”T SPEAK IN ENGLISH. Whoaaa….the interview is in English. Plus, I heard that those interviewers are quite reluctant to interview us, the kelantanese candidates, because our English is bad. And that is so true. They called five candidates into the room, expecting us to compete with each other when attempting their questions. But, it turned out that … almost everyone was in silent mode. Payoh wei nak speaking London nih!
I never thought that I will ever get that scholarship.. tapi, rezeki dah tertulis kan. Alhamdulillah, dapat jugak, but, it was a 2-years diploma programme locally plus 2-years degree programme abroad, not the one which is directly an oversea programme. And lastly, it turns out to be a 4-years degree programme locally (George Soros and Asian economic crisis punya pasal!).

Ok..this is the climax of the story. My degree programme is horrible! Lecturers are from everywhere around the world. So, I need to constantly try to understand everyone’s English and at the same time try to understand all those engineering jargons used in our thick textbooks. Did I score badly because of English? I don’t blame it all on English, but, I think that it did contribute a portion of it. However, that degree programme has helped me a lot with my English. Met a lot of friends who can speak English fluently. Working in an engineering office for 5 years has also improve me, but still, I rarely speak in English. Most of our colleagues are malays, so, why bother speaking in English, rite? Then, getting myself into KPLI and learned Physics in English has truly opened my eyes that I can converse in English. It gives me confidence to speak in English in front of the class. Thank You Miss Tan Mun Wai (our mentor!). Thank You Physics Class of IPTek 2006.

And when I thought that my English is already ‘okay’, I was asked to teach English Form One. Waaa… only then I realize that I still need to improve my English. Grammatically. That is really a blessing in disguise. Even though I didn’t get to teach my option, at least I can prepare myself for better English. All in all.. I am still learning now. Learning to improve my English grammar. So, pardon me if you find ‘broken english’ , manglish (malaysian english) or grammatical errors in my postings. Learning is ….. a lifelong process.

Ok, since I'm talking about English Language here..there’s a story that I always share with my students in my English class. (My dearest hubby told me this, so, I searched for the written version on the net). I rationalized how practice makes perfect with this story. I advise them that they need to practice English more often to make it perfect…

One day during a speaking tour, Albert Einstein’s driver, who often sat at the back of the hall during his lectures, remarked that he could probably give the lecture himself, having heard it so many times. Sure enough, at the next stop on the tour, Einstein and the driver switched places, with Einstein sitting at the back in his driver's uniform.
Having delivered a flawless lecture, the driver was asked a difficult question by a member of the audience. "Well, the answer to that question is quite simple," he casually replied. "I bet my driver, sitting up at the back there, could answer it..."

See? Even a driver can give a lecture like Einstein just because he often heard them. So, can we speak good english if we often heard english?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gardening on my birthday

I have a special privilege this year. My birthday falls on Selangor's Public Holiday (including some other states as well). 17 September this year comes together with 17 Ramadan. So, we have a Nuzul Quran holiday, in line with my birthday. Hihi..
Thinking of my birthday, in Ramadan, I thought of my late father. I was born in Syawal, 2 weeks after Raya. But, since I was quite big in my mom's womb (still big now..), my father has to take charge in preparing our house for Raya. He even help mom made some biscuits. I was surprised when I heard that from mom because my father is a very strict man. Manly. Veto. Etc .. (bekas askar lah katakan ..) So, to think of him helping mom in kitchen is quite unbelievable for me. And now he is gone .. I really think that I miss him. Very much. Remembering my birthday would also be remembering him. Alfatihah...

Well, life has to go on rite? On the other note, I am still in gardening mode. So, as for today .. these are my calorie burners.

I have to dig those plants from the 'induk' (what's this word in English by the way? parent is it? ) first. Then, fill in the pots with soil before putting them in. It's very tiring .. plus, it is a very hot day. But, I still think that it's worth it. I have plants .. and at the same time, I'm burning some calories. IMHO, it is an enjoyable exercise, rather than running on a treadmill staring straight at a dull-looking wall, rite?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gardening ... in Ramadhan?

I'm unable to update this blog for a little while because I have too many things to catch up with. I have a garden to look after, two kids who constantly need my attention, a 'long-distance' hubby who needs to talk to me online thru Skype whenever he's free, and bla, bla, bla.

There are stories that i want to share in this blog. One, on my beloved cute son, Wawan a.k.a Juan. Oh my! He's very naughty and active now. He did many sorts of things that make my blood 'go upstairs'. Some of them are ...
1. running naked here and there after his bath, trying to avoid me whose trying hard to make him wears his diapers. Gerammmmmmmler sesangat!! He won't come near me until I threatened him that I would leave him naked and continue my chores.
2. exploring/touching everything in front of him. When I was at the back to hang the clothes, he would run here and there, and try to find anything that will fancy him. One of the things that he found interesting these days are the detergent bottles arranged near the washing machine. I caught him trying to open the Clorox's lid. Eiii..bahaya betul!
3. asking for more and more bottles of milk because he's unable to sleep. Last few days, he asked for the fifth bottle before drifting to sleep. And that very last bottle was made by sleepy me at 12.15 a.m. Can you imagine that? I was already asleep, and I need to wake up for sahur some more. Urghhh ... sabar jelaa.

All in all .. I think he was just trying to catch my attention. Last night, I had a headache. I was lying down in front of the TV, and there's a glass of cold carbonated drink on the dining table. He brought the drink to me, and said "Mama, minum la sikit. Baru kuat." .... Ohhhhhhhhhh...terharunyaa...

Ecah on the other hand, gave me a letter. She got an A4 paper and fold it to an envelope-like pattern. It says I Love You. I wanted to scan the letter, but, I don't know where she keep it ( She insist to keep it ). How sweet ... At first, I cannot read what was written on the letter because I read it upside down, and I thought she was just kidding. But then, when she showed me what was actually written on it.. I was soo touched. It is her own handwriting, and she wrote them on her own. She didn't even ask me how to spell them. Dah pandai rupanya anak aku. I Love You too Ecah. MMuaahhhhss... I'm speechless ....

My Gardening Activity on the other hand is still in progress. Here are a few updates on my gardening activities ..

Petunias have bloom .. from this

to this

New concrete slab@RM9 each ... yet to be arranged..