Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why is it so hard for us to talk to each other? How to break down the emotional wall?

Talking is easy. Just open our mouth and then talk.

But to communicate is harder, much harder than babbling and talking for the sake of asking.

To communicate is for both parties to be willing to open up and listen closely to what others have to say.

The short story ‘A Thousand Years of Good Prayers’ manage to capture the beauty of communication between two souls, Mr Shi, a traditional Chinese and Madame, an Iranian. Despite the indifference in culture, background and language, Mr Shi and Madame shared thoughts and communicate more often than Mr Shi himself did with his daughter.

An excerpt from the text ‘…a love in which they talked freely, a love in which their minds touched’ cleverly illustrates the idea that our minds connect when we talk. Mr Shi faced difficulty communicating with his daughter because one party, the daughter refuses to open her mind to talking. Her daughter was brought up to be like her mother, non-confrontational and modest. Yet, being brought up to see her own father secretive, quiet and unwilling to share his feelings with her had created a distance between her and her father. Though they talked a little in meals, she never shared how her day was like or what problems that she faced in her lives.

Talking might be hard due to clashes of thoughts and opinions. If both parties insist on what they think is right or wrong or what is appropriate or not, mutual understanding that fuels communication will not happen because neither party refuses to give in. In this text, the daughter did not open up about the truth behind her divorce and her extramarital affair to his father because she knew that her traditional father will not support her. She enjoyed her relationship with her new lover yet her father saw her as ‘ an abandoned women who make mistakes in loneliness’.

Emotional walls are built from distrust. These walls are not easy not penetrate nor broken down.

A person deceived by the most trusted figure in his life will have emotional barriers against the likes of others. This couldn’t be better exemplified by the character ‘daughter’ in this text whereby she felt deceived by her father who failed to confess to his family but instead chose to stay quiet.

Sometimes, I would say, silence is gold.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Omigosh, last updated post was in March.

How embarrassed I am, yet I am still so lazy to update my blog regularly. I simply couldn't find the drive to blog. Come on, I wonder how do others can blog non-stop and write so much, and how do some people actually update several blogs almost every day and make their blogs a readers' magnet. They must really really love blogging.

Okay, now cut the crap and remorse, I should start writing something at least.

I am chinese educated and recently I have been thinking about the issue of our education system. However, I am not going to talk about the language medium of teaching science and math but I am going to talk about something else that impacted my childhood directed.

There is a conception that most chinese school students, particularly those who are from the better classes when they are in primary school, are usually more hardworking and passive in class as compared to the other students. They are thought to be 'good' students by the teachers and their classmates. But in the first place, why there exist this sort of stereotyping and how are these students brought up to be 'more hardworking and passive' ?

Many chinese primary schools in Malaysia still practice a traditional, grueling educating style that focuses on doing many home works. On each schooling days, students have to finish a sheer amount of homework of different subjects and homework are mostly discussed in class the next day, hence home works must be finished on the same day. Moreover, students from the 'better classes' have to study for spelling and memorize synonyms, antonyms, chinese proverbs and chinese phrases almost every day and are tested by teachers. Hence, it becomes a daily routine to study for language test. Other than that, mandarin is not easy to learn and the words are not as easy as spelling a, b, c. Learning to writing chinese words require a great deal of consistent efforts to nail it in into our brains. Therefore, students have to write 'sheng zi' ( writing various chinese words repeatedly) as a home work on most days. For example, in a day, we can have one spelling test, two essays, 'sheng zi' and other exercises. Speaking from experience, for my whole standard six year, music class, PE class, moral and geography were replaced by chinese lessons because these subjects are not tested in UPSR. I also had extra lessons for English and BM in the afternoon two days a week for 2 hours. This practice is still prevalent in many chinese schools and this is all only for UPSR.

That is not all. With other subjects in hand such as BM, Maths and Science , homework can pile up easily. To make matter worse, students are punished for failing to finish their work on time. When I am still in primary last time, caning is still the method to punish 'lazy' students. I was caned a few times in front of class and suffered from humiliation and guilt. The pain from caning lingered on for many days. It was such an ugly and disturbing experience for me then and it prompted me to do my home work. My class mates were not sparred. The 'hard working trait' is not as easy to learn as it seems.

When I was younger, it seemed normal to do my home work or to be the so-called hard working person. But, sometimes I wondered whether it is necessary to pour primary school students with home works and punish students for not completing their homework. The homework that we do is beneficial to the students but the sheer amount of the homework is daunting and stressful. I lost part of my childhood to doing homework almost every waking hours of my primary school life. Hence, I think it is a failure of the chinese education system to force many students to be kept busy with their homework everyday without letting them to enjoy their childhood without the stress of homework. And, it is all for the sake of UPSR.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sorry, my friend.

Sometimes I regret saying certain things or doing certain things.

I blurted some hurtful words and did something very unpleasant and untruthfully to a dear old friend of mine, and now we are not in good terms any more. Worse still, it happened a few weeks before we went on our separate ways, and now, I don't see her any more.

During the times when I thought of her, I asked myself, what have I done? Why can't I hold back at that time? Why can't I be more careful of my words at that time? Why can't I lift myself from all the evil and horrible feelings that I have on her at that time?

I lost her as a friend. It is my fault. I wanted to fix the problem but I am so scared to even sms her. I did once to ask how is she, and she also replied back, but then, I lost the courage to talk to her and I did not reply back.

The scene kept playing in my mind, making me sadder by the day. Deep down in my heart, I know, jealousy is the main culprit. I am jealous of her for having things that I wanted to have but I couldn't have. The things, are not in material form. It is something more delicate, closer to the heart. Something that I always wanted. Now, I realized how foolish I am to try to force things my way.

I hope, one day, this pain in my heart can be dispelled. But yet, a year has passed, and the pain have only been more painful than ever. I will always miss the days when we chatted happily in the car or shared silly jokes in the cafeteria. Deep down, I know she has let go and has moved on and as forgotten me as a friend, I don't hate her for that because it is myself that I couldn't forgive.

The only thing I can do now is to make sure I don't make the same mistake again and lose a friend again.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


oh no, i don't even have a single blog updated this month... this suck..i wonder what bad impression i have set on my lecturer.......

okay, first thing first, i have not forgotten that i have to write a paragraph of figurative words about raining. But... I am at a lost of words... writing a paragraph about raining alone is exhausting enough, what more to write it in a to-confuse-readers-and-let-readers-peel-off-the-layer-and-meaning-behind manner.

Here it goes :

When the God lost his beloved wife, the God cried, pouring out all his sorrow upon the creatures under his feet, the creatures, helpless, bathed in the God's tears, wondered why was their mighty God so sad. The God's helpers sent bright signals to the creatures to inform them about the sad news and to lighten the sky, hoping to cheer up the devastated God. Soaked wet, the creatures beneath mourn for the God's loss, yet wonder when will the sorrow ends, because the over-flowing water were choking the drains and rivers, and gradually engulfing the land. Worried and angry, the creatures shouted upon to the God, but to no avail, all they can do were to pray and pray and pray.


I don't know why, but I wanted to write about the unseen controller of the weather, hence I used God as a main character that caused rain in a form of sadness. Then, I wanted to represent lightning as something planned and done for a purpose and as something good as well. For the creatures, that is us, I wanted them to be helpless. I wonder what will Mr D think about this paragraph...

Friday, February 27, 2009

A label that I dislike

I have not updated my blog for quite a while, and finally I m going to update my blog, and it is about something that bothers me to the extent that I couldn't sleep today.

What would you feel if someone says that you are 'fierce' because you once scolded and shouted at an amateur driver for speeding at 120 km/h along the highway at 1'o clock in the morning?

And that person was, of course, sitting in the backseat of the car.

I felt utterly annoyed and shocked of his labelling me as 'a fierce girl' just because of this incident, yet I still have to put on a i-am-not disgusted-and-i-don't-mind face for fear of losing this person as a friend.

I am not here to defend myself or to express my dislike against this person but to put things straight.

So, do you think it is appropriate to label a person as fierce for shouting for his/her life in a car driven by a young driver who is speeding? Maybe you are thinking it could be some other incident that prompt this person to label me as being fierce but I am very sure that there are no similar occurrences. Besides, I only have known this person for barely half a year. I simply couldn't understand how can this person reach a conclusion so fast.

Sometimes I couldn't comprehend why people like to label others, and worse still if such labelling persist for long. It is like sentencing a person to death row for something he/she had done wrongly just once. Maybe the thinking that first impression lasts the longest do have some truth to it, but I think it is not fair to the victims who are wrongly or instantaneously labeled for some minor wrong doings.

To sum up, I definitely do not think that one should label someone without getting to know the person more. To my friend who had disturbed my sleep tonight, please do not take my disgust too personally because this blog is intended for me to write down my thoughts in a reflective manner as I treat this blog like an open-to-public diary.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Plagiarism And Collusion

Definition of plagiarism
1. An act of stealing and passing off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own 
2. Using (another's production) without crediting the source
3. Committing literary theft : 
4. Presenting a new and an original idea or product derived from an existing source
(Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary)

Definition of Collusion: secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose (Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary)

The above is itself a good example of plagiarism. Basically, you must cite the source of the information if it is not originally yours, especially information cited from the Internet. The term collusion is not very common to Malaysian students. In terms of academia wise, collusion means the sharing of common ideas in writing.

I was told by one of my friends who have recently came back from Australia about how serious the Aussies take plagiarism and collusion as a form of human rights infringement. This friend of mine has completed her foundation study in Australia, hence she knows the Australian academic culture pretty well. 

What I bound to write on this topic is solely based on what my friend says and what I think as well, so any collision of facts is much regretted.

Apparently, the Australians do not accept the practice of plagiarism and collusion of ideas. A charge of plagiarism can have serious consequences, including getting ZERO for your examinations and expulsion from a university. Some individuals caught plagiarizing in academic works claim that they plagiarized unintentionally by failing to include sufficient quotations or give the bibliography, however, I am still unclear of how do they charge you for plagiarizing and collusion because people may happen to have identical ideas or write sentences that are identical to certain sources. A grey issue indeed. 
But one thing is for sure, copying a whole paragraph directly from a text or a excerpt without proper citing to acknowledge the original writer is definitely a no-no in the academic world. Even so, many students are tempted to do so because it saves the trouble to squeeze your head for ideas, and with the development of the Internet, where articles appear in a click of the mouse, has made the act of copying of the works of others very much easier.

Collusion is no less serious an offense. Students who share ideas among themselves are both charged of the offense of collusion. Both students would get ZERO mark for the assignment. Hence, this offense should not be taken lightly by students. Some students can get very selfish and refuse to share their ideas to others in fear of collusion of ideas. This just add more burden to students to be wary of idea-stealers. Are you one of them?

Nevertheless, using your own original ideas is the best way to avoid plagiarism and collusion of ideas. I have to take more precautions now because before this I always refer to the Internet for more information and ideas, and in between may have committed these offenses without realizing the consequences. 

What my friend told me today scare the hell off me. But none of my lecturers ever warn us about it, only my English lecturer once touched slightly on this issue. 

What should people like me whose ideas do not come smoothly do about this? 

Copy and fail the test or don't copy and fail the test?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chinese New Year

As far as many kids are concerned, Chinese New Year (CNY) means only one thing - ang pows 红包. It was not much different for me.  The way I saw it was when we were young, the celebration of CNY is all about receiving ang pows. Visiting relatives? Ang pow. Playing host to friends and family at home? More Ang pows. 

      I remembered the days when my sister and I would rip open the red packet once out of sight of the adults to see whether the inside content is 'a lot' or not. Those were the days where we children would be delighted to get even RM2 and gasped when it was more than that.  

       Now that I am older, I have of course realized that CNY is not just about money. It is more about spending times with our loved ones. The joy was to sit down together during reunion dinner and on another occasion on the 14th day of the CNY (Chap Goh Meh) to lou yee sang  to wish for prosperity and future success. 

       My family has the tradition to travel back to Bekok, Johor to my paternal grandparents house on the 1st day of CNY. For your information, Bekok is situated between Labis and Chaah.If you still don't know where is it, its somewhere near Segamat. 

        Bekok is a very small town with only two rows of shop lots, one restaurant, two grocery shops, one kopitiam, one municipal hall, one basketball court, two temples and mostly papan houses (yes, I purposely count out the number of buildings they have there)

        I enjoy these trips back as I get to spend time with my relatives who lived in Singapore. The adults usually gambled and drink and the children would play firecrackers. Since it is a very isolated town (I mean it, very very isolated) there are zero risk of police catching children playing firecrackers illegally because, they themselves are gambling too. 

        There was one year whereby the house opposite put out a firework that lasted for 15 mins. It was quite a majestic display as it was so up close to us!

        The most interesting thing that we do each year during CNY is bringing in the lion dance troop into the house. Each year, there are always two or three lion dance troops that travel house to house to perform lion dance upon request. 

        The usual method is for them to 'dance' in front of the 'praying table with the statues of guan yin and other gods'. The climax of the performance is to peel mandarin oranges to be eaten by members of the household. The catch is the more oranges you want them to peel for you, the 'bigger' the ang pow that you have give them. 

         This year there is something even more 'exciting'. I saw a 财神爷 (loosely translated as a god that brings wealth)  just outside my grandmother's house, with a basket on one arm filled with pink ang pows and a handful of fake golds on the another. 

         The funny part is, this 财神爷 ask for gifts like mandarin oranges and ang pow from you in return if you were to invite him into your house for the so called blessing of fortune. The 财神爷 also give ang pows to children, me myself included. Guess what is inside the ang pow.... TOTO NUMBER, NO MONEY. Yeah, that is the so called wealth that he could bless us with.

To all who are reading this,

恭喜发财  红包拿来 
Gong Xi Fa Chai Hong Bao Na Lai.
 I wish everyone good health and prosperity for the year of the Ox.