31 Aug 2008

National Day

Today is our Merdeka day. Happy Birthday Malaysia ! You're 51 today and I wish you all the best. Things seem rather quiet - I watched the parade on tv and just sat there thinking of all the things that has happened in the last year. I wonder if things will be the same next year? And the next? If there are changes, as I'm sure there will be what kind of change will it be? I wish to see a change in the politics - more equitable for all and more help for those who really need it. I'd like to see forms without the word race there to be filled. I think its time we do without that and just put Malaysian. Because if qwe want to put race - what race am I? What race is Repin and Rizal and Sophia my granddaughter? She's half chinese because her mother is Chinese, but then her father his 1/4 Pakistani, 1/4 Chinese, a bit of Bugis, 1/8 Afghan and a number of others. So what race are we all really? There's no category to put us in... and is it fair to put my grand daughter under the category others as well? So Malaysia - wake up and let's just be Malaysians!!
I'd really like to see a more transparent govt too - we all want to know what really happened in the Altantuya case and also the Anwar sodomy case.
And lastly I wish for a more efficient police force, less corruption and more intelligent ministers. Am I asking for the moon?

Yesterday was my talk in Seremban. Went there early - about 6.30am. Malliha was waiting for me at the toll as promised and I followed her car to the school, which was lucky because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to find it, I'm sure. The talk went well even if I say it myself. Roughly 70 teachers attended. Most of them may not have attended any workshops on testing I think. So it was really useful for them. However there wasn't enough time to actually do everything so I only touched on the important parts - namely fundamentals of testing, building multiple choice items and Bloom's taxonomy. Had a short workshop after that and we ended by 12.00 pm. It being a long weekend the teachers were quite in a hurry to get back - they all probably had other plans for the weekend.
Went back to KL on Sunday - Rizal was coming to visit and I'm waiting to see my grand daughter. Have not seen her for a month and I do miss her!

You can see her making her funny face here.

29 Aug 2008

Sophia

Aaah my cucu is back in KL and here I am in Melaka. If I could sprout wings I'd fly back in an instant. But patience my heart... I'll see her cheeky smiling face with its wide smile soon enough. I don't know what it is with grandparents and their cucu. Repin is like play dough in Sophie's hands. He'd let her do anything with him - even pull his hair, upset his glasses, turn his pockets inside out. My heart is so full when I see her. I can't even say she is so cute because I know Rizal and Sarah were cuter at that age. Wan was a little devil but a good looking one and Shasha, for all her lack of hair was cute too. I guess its just that here is a little piece of you - one you didnt make yourself, and one you are not responsible for so you can just love this little piece of you as much as you want and spoil them too.
I think Poh lin is a good mum - she won't spoil Sophie that's for sure. And the little one is so smart for a one year old. Here's a video that Repin took of her on her birthday last month.

video

As for my garden - they're all looking rather wiltd right now. My roses have caught a disease - reminds me of that Blake poem - Oh rose thou art sick....makes feel kind of sick too, seeing the blighted leaves and the pretty little buds becoming brown and falling off before thy can bloom.

On other matters - to morrow I'll be giving a talk in Seremban. It's on testing and evaluation. I know its my own field but I still get the jitters before a talk. How ever ready I am, I stll feel anxious every time. And these are not only English teachers but also other subjects. I'll do the first part on Fundamentals of Testing and then do a workshop after that. Its less taxing that was.

Haven't seen Chia for a long time too - years I think. The last time was in 2005 when I was still working I think , so this workshop will be a chance for us to catch up. I didn't realise he had transferred to Mantin - thought he was still in Ampangan.

27 Aug 2008

By election

So, Anwar has won the by election. I wonder what this means to the politics of this country? More fireworks... and less work? I think just judging by the political furore of these past few months, not much will change. The alternative front is just all talk and very little action, unless it is to march and protest over the oil price hike, which are actually non issues. The ruling coalition on the other hand has much to do and undo... to get back the people's trust. As for Anwar's "landslide win" in PP - was there any other result expected? It was his first constituency - he was almost born there - even when his wife won the constituency in days gone by - no one sane and reasonable expected anything different. BN would hav been over ambitious if it had ever expected to win PP. Of course they could try... which from what I read and heard, they did. Oh well... some other life time perhaps Pak Lah.
I've been trying to picture Anwar at the helm of a new Malaysia - on as Raja Petra and a number of others have been saying - non racial politics. Can we ever have a non racial government, if what we hav now according to them is very racial? Will the Chinese stop clamoring for a bigger share of the cake, the Indians a bigger quota of everything else and what about the others? The IBans, the Kadazans and all those other tribes in Sarawak and Sabah? Will they too demand for a bigger share of the pie? And amongst all these, who will look after the ordinary people? The quiet ones with no voice - the silent majority who are the cogs in the wheel. Even now Selangor has seen some quiet changes - road signs in chinese, tamil and rumi. Not Jawi anymore.
I have always maintained that whatever the political party, whoever at the helm, the ruling emotion, the ruling creed will be the " ME" ideology. IT's me first and foremost, then those who helped me, and then those who helped those who helped me.
We can never run away from our basic instincts. Otherwise proverbs such as Birds of a feather flock together will never come about. Even if we do mature, and become more open and more giving, it comes at a cost.

26 Aug 2008

Writer's block

I'm just too lazy to write these days though a lot of things are going around in my mind. What I need is a proper table and a pc, not this silly little notebook. Somewhere at the back of my mind I know that the people in Permatang Pauh are deciding on the fate of the nation. I do care but since a lot of people say its a forgone conclusion that Anwar will win the by election, I guess there's no point worrying about it.
I also want to write about friendship. And about love. About marriage. About the love of solitude. The problem is I don't know where to start.
About friendship... what is it really? A feeling between two people? Something that lasts a lifetime. I can describe what I want in a friend more easily than describe what it is. I know now that friends stick to each other through the good times and th bad. I do have such friends - Gita who still answers my calls even though I can't help in her promotion anymore, who will come to my aid no matter how busy she is. On the other hand I have numerous so called friends who will only think of me if I am of use to them. Now that I'm retired, these so -called friends no longer call me, or answer my calls, no longer want to meet me or be my friend. Oh don't get me wrong. I'm not bitter or vn disillusioned. I was warned but believd that I knew better.
Then there are those who would pretend to be a friend but stab you at the back. I've had dealings with those type too. They are worse than vipers in your bosom - avoid them at all costs.
Sometimes you can't help yourself. These types are normally also sweet faced, ever so obliging before they get what they want from you. So you can be easily fooled by their 'apparent fondness' for you. Don't blame yourself for being so gullible. People more canny have been fooled before. Of course there are true friends.These will stand by your side even when others are against you. They will help you even from your own self.

24 Aug 2008

End of holiday

Sarah will be going back to Russia to morrow. How fast the time flies. I feel as if she just came back and now she is going already. I'm going to miss her, poor baby. Its different having her around. The week after is the start of Ramadan and how I wish we can break fast together, as before. Imagine the last time we spent Ramadan to gether was way back in 2004.
Yesterday was the 6th Convocation for OUM. It was the same as last year - but I think this time there around 4000 students are graduating. The convo will be held for 4 days. But Sara will be going back tomorrow. Repin will take the half day off to send her to the airport.

15 Aug 2008

Hong Kong



















So we finally went to HK and now we're back in good old Melati. Travelling is great fun, but to me the best part of travelling is always coming home. Better still if we can go back to Malacca. So anyway what are my views of Hk? Anyway it isnt even the first time I was there. I went some time in 2002 - August 2002 when I went to present a paper on testing at the IAEA conference. Then I think I was quite impressed with the place but this time around I wasn't really impressed, quite the opposite actually.
Our plane touched down at 5.36pm and a guy from Ann's travel agency was there to meet us. He took us to Kimberley Hotel, our "home" for the next few days. Kimberley Hotel sits amidst a shopping area ( not One Utama style but more like Petaling Street) . The area is crowded and busy , lots of people and all kinds of things to see. But the hotel itself is not big - the rooms are ok I guess, pretty average though the price was quite steep for a 3 star hotel. After checking in, we decided to go out for dinner so we trudged to the main road - Nathan Road - and after walking hardly a block we found this Pakistani place., called Pakistan Mess. And its a mess all right! In fact mess is an understatement. Its a fire hazard - don't know how it was passed by the authorities. The food is average but beggers can't be choosers, right? Pretty scary place though. Sara said the people looked kind of like thugs.
I think the cost of living here is way up. Everything is expensive here, esp food. Imagine - a plate of beriani rice costs HK60, that's about RM30 in Malaysia. And we complain if our roti canai goes up by 10 cents. That does not include the chicken and dal which have separate prices.

Mineral water costs HK18 per bottle and we get it here in KL for only RM1.20 even at the most expensive place! After that meal we decided to try the other halal place on our list - Shadowman Cyber cafe on Ashley Road. Its owned by a Singaporean Muslim, a Mr Abdul Kadir.

At least here they serve western food as well as Asian. The nasi lemak is tolerable but the spaghetti is really delicious. I wouldn't advice serious curry eaters to try the curry though - its too bland to be termed curry.Kudos to Mr Abdul Kadir for the cafe - one of the very few places we can have halal food in Hong Kong, or at least in Kowloon where we actually were.




13 Aug 2008

Hong Kong




Wan had to stop here to mend his shoe!














More pictures of HK
This is Aberdeen fishing village which is actually a village of fishing boats. We were given a tour of the place - some looked kind of pathetic. According to the tourist guide, these are the last boats. No more can be added and the moment a boat owner dies, his place will be taken by the govt. They are just waiting for the fishermen to die so that thy can make use of the area for more development.






Disneyland HK

Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre, HK






Ocean Park, HK


Compared to Paris or even Tokyo, Hong Kong's Disney is nothing to shout about. Lucky for us it was bright and sunny the day we were there. Ocean Park was horribly wet and we didnt even get to ride on any of the rides. Since there was no where to sit to get aay from the rain, we went back earlier. Anyway in Disney we went on the tram ride, then to the Safari where took the boat ride. It rained havily around 2pm but there was plenty of shade. We all enjoyed the Buzz Lightyear ride so much we went twice. Wan and the girls went on Space mountain - they said it wasn't as scary as they used to think.

I was quite angry with the locals a number of times. They seem so uncivilised! Cutting queues, rushing to take things, dirtying the toilets - typical of many uneducated people anywhere, I know. It just drives me nuts when people don't line up at queues, esp. when the queus are really long asthey were here. I don't know if they are mainland Chinese or Hongkees. But I feel they need some education on civic mindedness.

7 Aug 2008

Hong Kong blues

We're going to Hong Kong tomorrow and from what I read in the weather updates its cyclone time over there. So its probably rain the whole time. I just hope there'll be days in between when we do get some sun. SO many things have changed since we first planned the trip. First we were all going to Sydney but the boss decided that HK would be cheaper so it became Hk. Now even Rizal isnt going and we were all so hoping to see Sophia and I was hoping Poh Ling and Rizal could relax when we're all together.
The olympics will also open tomorrow. We're hoping to catch the opening ceremony in HK. It should be a wondrous event with China going all out to be the bst at evrything.