Thursday, October 30, 2008

My class representative was appointed at the beginning of the year by the class and until today, our friend has not been relieved from his duties. He did not volunteer for the task, he just did not know how to say no. This guy is not an ideal student, he is sometimes blur and does not excel in his studies, yet, he never skips lessons and like many, he dreams of graduating with a good qualification. It's been four weeks since I became his lecturer and I see him serving the class well. He is responsible in attending to the welfare of his classmates.

As a result of his commitment towards his role, he has failed to be a good student in my class. He is physically present but mentally he is not. He is always worrying about his responsibilities as a class representative. He looks messed up and is always doing his class duty whenever I give them exercises. At the moment, he is one of the weakest students in my class yet he is doing nothing about it because his time is committed to class responsibilities. He told me that he is so busy because nobody wants to help him and I believe him.

It is interesting that despite having many classmates, no one seems to be willing to help to ease his burden. Everybody wants to be served but no one wants to help. They want convenience but no one wants to contribute. I find this such a shame, and I see this as how our future is going to be.

We love to complain and criticise others but when it comes to acting, no one wants to lift a finger. Everyone would rather sit and watch and let others do the job. My class is going to kill their class representative one day and no one seems to care at all. In the midst of his business today, he forgot to do something. Everyone collected their own notes and signed their attendance but he was too busy and he forgot. Yet no one told him or reminded him or help him collect the notes.

Will he stop being the class representative? I doubt it, because no one will be willing to take over.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I’ve always thought that a squash ball was bouncy but I guess I was wrong. It only bounces hard if you hit it hard enough. I had a fun time playing squash for the first time today. My programme supervisor was my coach and boy was she patient with me.
I play badminton but I think I like squash better. It suits my style of hitting the ball and encourages me to really stretch my body and legs, my current set back is that I’m slow with my reflects and I’m very likely to irritate my partner at game because I tend to stand in the way and block my partner.
When I was a kid, I loved badminton, in fact I dreamed of becoming a badminton player and I even got myself recruited for badminton clinics. I was fortunate enough to be part of a clinic coached by the current national coach, Misbun Sidek when I was twelve. Unfortunately, my interest towards the game dwindled after I graduated from university, I realized last month that I was no more interested in the game. I could not enjoy the game anymore. Perhaps, it was due to my age and some stiffness in my body.
I did consider playing tennis but I could not find people who shared the same interest, then I heard my supervisor talk about squash and I joined her and some other male lecturers for the game. It was fun and I like it. I’m now in love with a new game. I’m not good at it, I don’t know much about the rules yet but I’m enjoying it. Looking forward to a new session on Tuesday.
Of late, I’ve listened to talks and have had encounters with few people, I suddenly realized my idea towards my faith is different and sometimes it is frustrating to hear how non believers are being criticized for what they believe in. Sometimes I wonder is it me who has a problem or is it others. When people are louder and more confident, I get angry at myself for knowing so little about my faith, being unable to stand firm on what I believe is right and convince others to reconsider their thoughts.
For the past three years, I’ve been pretty much protected when it comes to faith. I worked in the church where 90% of the people whom I encountered with believe in the same God. We were not 100% agreeable in every matter but our ideologies came from the same source, the bible.
Things are different now, 90% of the people I encounter with do not share the same ideologies as the Catholic church. Everyone has their own interpretation of who God is and what God wants. I have difficulty accepting and agreeing to their point of view. It is tough and I sense what I’m feeling is only the beginning. More is expected to come and I pray for wisdom and maturity to face what is about to come.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Brandy is getting very naughty. She does not obey orders anymore and of late, she sneaks out from the garden to go gallivanting. Her new interest is a tragedy to me as she poses as a nuisance to the neighbors. She entices other dogs by barking at them outside their gates and brings home fleas. Something out there seems to attract her very much but nobody knows what it is. That thing out there seems to be so important that she pushes her way through the fence despite getting herself stuck at times.
Today, my neighbors helped me to seal her little exit. My drug addict neighbor provided me the nettings and iron bars while the Mogan (another neighbor) provided me with the wire to tie the net. I had always disliked my drug addict neighbor because of his irritating habits but he helped me today and that little act of his made a little twist on my perception towards him. He is still annoying and irritating but he has a good heart after all.
I like my neighborhood because despite all the disagreements that we may have towards each other, we still care for all that happens towards one another. Honestly, if anything is to happen to that drug addict neighbor of mine, I would sure miss him. Of course, I do wish him well even if he never changes his ways. Oh by the way, Mogan dislikes that drug addict guy and Mogan and I actually don’t chat and I can’t imagine myself having a cup of coffee with him. So this is how interesting a neighborhood relationship can be. What prevents us from sitting together at the coffee table? I guess it’s what you call ‘ pride’.

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A few weeks ago, during mass, I told mum to pray that Sokha would be a good person, someone who will be able to attend to our needs. Mum laughed. I guess she underestimated my seriousness, not expecting me to think about such matters. I believed mum did pray for Sokha turned out to be a fine person.
Sokha only knows a few English words. She knows ‘yes, no, you’ and nothing more. Despite this little setback, Sokha has managed to impress my hard to please mother. Eventually, I trust my parents will treat her like their own daughter. I actually wonder how did the agencies treat them prior to this and what kind of training was given to them. Sokha seems to know her responsibilities without being told what to do. On her second day of arrival, I found her waking up at 6am and cleaning the kitchen. I did not remember myself telling her to do it. I am impressed yet suspicious at the same time. I hope Sokha was well treated throughout her training. I’ve heard sad stories about agencies misusing foreign maids and I hope she did not experience it.
I am grateful for having Sokha around. Grateful that I don’t have any problems with her as of yet. I wonder how Sokha feels about living and working for us. Guess only time will tell. For now, I am a happy person. I am finally breathing.
Princess asked me how was I and interestingly, I replied that I was experiencing crisis. For the past few days, I tried to identify my feelings and all of a sudden princess’s question helped me find the answer. Indeed I was going through a crisis.
Honestly, what happened to my staff room was just a small matter. It is troublesome and my things and notes are all in a mess but I don’t think it is too great a problem for me to spend time moaning over. I have more important and urgent matters to worry about back home.
Our Cambodian maid has finally arrived. The timing is just right as the present lady who looks after my parents has begun to indicate that she is no more interested to continue caring for my parents. It sounds like a perfect timing but our new maid is inexperienced and she has lots to learn. For starters, she can’t speak English at all.
It’s going to be a challenging yet interesting experience for me. Sokha seems to be a nice girl but I don’t really know what to expect. She arrived at 11pm with a fellow Cambodian who plays the role as a translator and the moment they stepped into the house, I heard them whisper to each other ’Christian’. As I briefed them about Sokha’s role, I told them that we go to Church on Sundays and asked if Sokha would mind following us. It was then that I found out that both these girls are Christians. Due to communication problem, I am not sure if Sokha is a Catholic. She seems to be uncertain herself .
I teach English in college and I’m going to teach English at home too. I foresee a challenging month ahead. How can you help me? Well, I doubt anyone can do anything but I believe remembering me in your prayers should help to ease the stress around. It’s going to be a learning experience, God grant me with the peace and patience to accept realities and the courage to work and improve and overcome challenges.
To be honest, I’m currently very angry and disappointed towards some individuals and I’m glad my encounter with them is going to be less rampant.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I do not like this current room that I'm in.I feel some negative aura in the room, it's like the 'chi' is bad. I sound very superstitious huh? I just don't like this room and I don't enjoy being in the room for long hours. I currently feel depressed and restless. Hope I get to leave this room asap

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I walked up to my office this morning and I heard the dripping sound. Deep inside, I hoped my intsinct was wrong. I walked further and I saw water dripping down the stairs. I kept my fingers crossed as I walked pass the pool of water. I opened my staff room door and I found my room flooded with water. Water was dripping from the ceiling and the whole room was wet. The room became the perfect breeding ground for frogs.

I did not know if I should laugh or cry. I had filed complains regarding the leakage in our room and often we were told that nothing much could be done. All the person in charge would say was 'so what do you want me to do?' Honestly, I was irritated by how the responsible individuals responded to the matter and how they left the problem unattended to.

I was secretly delighted when I saw the mess in my room. Finally, the worst has happened and they definitely have to do something. Today has been far from pleasant. I had to move from my room and bunk in at the meeting room. Our things are in a mess. I hope what happened over the night is going to be a blessing is disguise. Rumours say that they are going to relocate us. The rooms look better than my old room and I really hope we will get to use it......what a day!
(muffins for the cleaners who helped to clear the mess)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

As I drove to work this morning, I heard over the radio that a member of parliament suggested that the government do more to help jobless graduates. AGAIN? I thought this issue has been brought up before?
It’s such a joke to know that graduates remain jobless despite being highly qualified (or is it just an illusion that they are highly qualified?). Perhaps, the government should review the education system as well as the structure and quality of education provided by the Universities and schools throughout the country. Obviously something is not right. There are plentiful of vacancies around but no one seems to be qualified enough to take up the post. For the salary that they pay, employers have a certain level of expectations towards their employees and sad to say, many of the younger generation do not perform at work.
If graduates needs to be re-trained, then what was the three - five years spent in university for? What did the students do and what did the lecturers teach them? How did these unqualified students even pass their exams? If they could speak and do presentations, why is it so that the government still needs to sponsor these students for English and public speaking courses? I feel pretty much disturbed each time I think of such matters.
Honestly, I feel that the government should focus on producing qualified educators, fire the teachers if there is a need (school teachers are never fired, they are just transferred to rural schools if they under perform, lecturers don't get fired, they just don't get promoted). If the students are not up to par, fail them, don’t pass them just because we do not want to keep them in school. Let them re-sit for the papers. If they fail again, get them to re-apply, let them compete with those who want a place in the university, make them work for their degree. Life as we all know is not smooth sailing and students should be taught to understand that. If the we continue to spoon feed under qualified graduates and be overly compassionate towards them, I doubt our country is going to progress much.

My reasons to why graduates are still jobless:
1. They are not qualified
2. They could not even speak to impress their interviewer
3. Bad track records
4. Attitude problems
5. Choosy and expect high salary when they have no experience
4. Have not tried hard enough to apply for jobs
5. Unimpressive resumes

There is always a job out there, it is either taking it or leaving it. Who says graduates cannot work at construction sides, workshops, kitchens, you know why farms in other countries are bigger than our farms? Think about it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I've been looking at CSS UPM's updates and I remember those good old days when I was still a student. I remember those friends. It was good times. As I look at the current CSS activities, a certain sense of envy sips into me. I wish I was there too.

Last Friday, my supervisor approached me. She asked if I could support a group she was starting. It was not CSS but something else and ironically, it was a mandarin speaking group. Yes, the English lecturers want to start a mandarin group. It's not a joke.

I don't know what to expect. We are going to do something different from the norm. Is it a wise move? I don't know, am I doing the right thing? I don't know. All I can say is that I think KL is becoming history. I am beginning to get involve in projects. I hope I do it right.

Muffins for tea and for dinner was

Rissoto, Baked fish, Vegetables


Friday, October 17, 2008

I hear it's convocation in UPM this week. I wish I could be present at every convocation, celebrating joy and happiness with friends who have journeyed with me during my days in campus. I have left UPM for 4 years but I still have some friends who are there. I wish I could be present in Serdang today to congratulate them. But I am here in Penang and I have students to teach and responsibilities to take care of. I can't be present and I am not too happy about it. Yet, I want to wish these few very dearest friends all the best in their future undertakings. I've seen you worked hard on your thesis and you deserve this Masters which you've worked so hard for.

Lee Yean and Chris, my dear housemates

Joyce, it was a long and winding road, but you made it anyway.

Not forgetting this little one who studied five years to become a Vet, an animal doctor.
Of course, they are not the only friends who are graduating, to the rest whom I did not mention, Congratulations to you!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This post is dedicated to Dolph and Gabriel
who requested to see the muffins I baked. Yes I baked again last night.

This Friday, after work, I'll be watching this with students.


I did not force anyone to watch it with me. I was invited. I had wanted to watch it prior to this but no one I knew seemed interested. And then, I receive an sms yesterday asking me if I was interested. Hehehehehe

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mom is not as sick as yesterday but I still cannot understand how is it that she got into yesterday's condition. Each time I see her recovering is a bonus to my day. I honestly sigh in relief whenever mom is well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Since coming home to Penang in May, mum has had good days and bad days. Each time she falls ill, it gets really bad. She becomes partially conscious and is almost unable to help herself at all. She will not be able to get out of bed and also bring herself to the toilet. It is really tough. For herself and also us. I know she is suffering each time this happens. Due to her body structure and weight, moving her is such a difficult task and she knows it. As a result, she avoids asking for help and that worsens the situation.

Indeed I am frustrated. I am not frustrated with my mother, I am frustrated with the situation that I’m in. How is it that she is sick when we did everything right? We gave her meals at proper times, we gave her the right dosage of medication and yet she still gets semi-conscious. What is wrong? I just cannot understand. Honestly I am tired, I am tired of not seeing fruits from my efforts.

Mum’s present condition is like a nightmare to me. I’m so scared to be in a situation I cannot handle. I don’t have any nursing background and I am bad when it comes to nursing old people. I can be present when it comes to tasks but lifting them is always a challenge for me. I don’t know how to carry another human being, what more to carry the aged whose bones are more fragile.

I guess I am feeling all these pressure because I am living alone with them and there is no one to help me. Morale support is important but I think physical presence is even more important . Perhaps that is why older people in the past age more gracefully and are better cared for. When there are more family members around in the house, the burden is shared and not one gets pressured. One will not get stressed easily caring for the aged in the family. For now, I am stressed because I cannot go anywhere for long hours because there is no one else in the house. I need to make sure my parent’s meals are prepared and they take their medication at the right hour. I need to adjust my time to fit to their routine. It is not a major sacrifice but it does effect me.

Sometimes I wished my family was like other’s family. I wished there were more people living under the same roof. To not have relatives coming in only during special occasions.

My usual evening activity would be sitting in front of the TV. Although the TV programmes are not always good, I like the idea of sitting down and doing nothing for an hour. I am not a fan of local movies but last week, I accidentally saw a movie on TV3 entitled 'Waris Jari Hantu'
Tina and Ari are best friends and relatives . Ari is often ridiculed by villagers as a sissy but that does not prevent Tina from liking him. She nurtures a secret dream of marrying him. One day Ari disappears. Tina waits patiently for his return. Ari, returns, shocking Tina with his new identity. Tina, having waited patiently for his return has difficulty accepting the new Ari. It took her some time to accept the new Ari.

I thought that part of the movie was so beautiful. Tina learned to accept and continue loving Ari even though he was no more what she expected him to be.

I hope to watch this movie again from the very beginning to appreciate the friendship between Ari and Tina better. It is not the best and logical movie but I think there is some essence in this movie that is worth watching.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I now have an oven at home, thanks to Christine who partially paid for it. Last weekend, I decided to spend some time baking. On Saturday, I baked some muffins and it turned out ok. Mom thought it was the neighbours who was baking and when she found out that the smell came from our own house, she was pleasantly surprised. Yesterday, I baked some cream puffs. Though it was not perfect, I was pretty much contented with my first attempt. I am beginning to gain back my interest in cooking. It is good because it makes me happy and satisfied. However, it is bad for my weight as I don't want to gain back the weight that I manage to shed for the past 5 months.
Planning to bake chocolate muffins tomorrow. Hope it turns out great.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I spoke to a friend last night, I read the newspaper this morning. The economy is REALLY BAD. Better.......
  • be serious at how I manage our finances
  • be careful with investments and taking financial risks

For stable companies to declare for bankruptcy is no laughing matter. To be honest, I'm grateful to be here in Penang.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I share a room with four other lecturers and there is no label to note that it is my room. Therefore, I had to describe my room to the students instead of asking them to search for it on their own.

Me: Did lecturer A teach you last semester? I share the same room with this lecturer.
Student: Haiyor, teacher you are so SUI (unlucky) to be in the same room with A. Pity you.

Me: My name is Jennifer Vaz
Student: Ah? What? Vaz? Not bus ah? I thought Bus!

I was surprised, such bold students to speak in such a manner. Part of me felt intimidated, I wonder if they would say the same thing about me to other people too. Gone were the days where students used to respect their teachers. Teachers these days have to work very hard to earn the respect and it is not about being lenient towards them, it is about being firm and being professional in what I do.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Last night at about 9.30pm our housing area was mopped with a total blackout. Not knowing what else to do, I decided to sleep early. I always believe that everything happens for a reason. At 4am, mom woke me up saying my dad fell down. The thought of him falling down is not something new to me. People always warn me about the danger of him falling down. I am fully aware of the dangers and the possible consequences but I believe nothing much can be done about it. The only way to avoid him from falling down would be to have someone monitoring him 24hours and anyone sensible would know that it is not a logical thing to do.

When I walked in to check on him, I did not know whether to laugh or cry. Papa was lying flat on the floor with his leather shoes and slacks on. When asked what he was trying to do, he said he was preparing to go to church. Yup, that's my dad's current condition. He is unable to comprehend many things and we have to accept it.

I could not lift him. I was afraid I might injure him internally. Had to call for my neighbor to help me lift him. I am somehow grateful that I have people to help me when I urgently need help. Dad definitely scared mom, Patsy and myself this morning but guess what, just now, before I left for work, he woke up and walked out to sit in the garden.

Indeed, life at home is very unpredictable. We have to be mentally prepared for any rainy day.

Monday, October 06, 2008

It's Monday! Today, I meet a new batch of students. Last semester is history, this semester is the present. A long semester it is for me as I teach on Saturdays too. Wishing myself the very best this semester and may I have a good start today.

I'm feeling optimistic.