Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lest We Forget

You know the feeling when you've read/seen something so significant that you just want to make it known to others?

That feeling was constantly on my mind when I was watching UK's Channel 4's 'Dispatches' programme: 'Children in Gaza'.

The Israeli attacks on Gaza was over a year ago. We all remembered it. The intense media coverage engaged everyone. People were enraged by the whole thing. Feeling helpless, people did everything within their power to help; donations poured in, prayers were offered, certain products were boycotted, rallies & talks were held, etc.

Sadly, people moved on. We rarely think about sufferings for a long time especially when those sufferings are not ours. So, Gaza was somewhat forgotten.

I'm guilty of the same disengagement. Though I do sort of keep up with what's happening (the site provides an excellent coverage of Gaza), the level of concern and anxiety has been less acute.

Thus, when Ibraheem said, "Whilst they are playing, we are sad", guilt and shame came over me as I felt that he could very well have been referring to me.

The documentary reminds me of the tragedy and why it is important for us to never forget it. Through the eyes of Ibraheem, Amal, Mahmood and Omsyatte, we could comprehend just how destructive the attacks had been to their country, their family, their home and their physical, mental & emotional well being.

These children are articulate, honest and brave. Their stories moved me and I felt that their honest remarks cut through the issue like no other "analysis" written by any journalist could.

I strongly urge you to see the documentary for yourselves at this link. I couldn't find the code to embed the video in this entry... sorry for that.

(Pictures taken from:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dato' C Q Teo - KDU Debate Challenge 2010

I accompanied my students for the above-mentioned debate last Fri-Sun (March 12-14).

Our school sent two teams; SMKTM A (Aiman, Dakshan & Yusintha) and SMKTM B (Nabihah, Amal & Sable). And three Form 3 students came to observe to gain some exposure (Dev, Shyam & Alya).

Both teams lost their first round. They were a bit down and demotivated by that. Pn. Paridah tried to cheer them up by saying, "Takpe, there are 4 more rounds coming up!". But to this, Aiman replied, "Teacher, that's not a relief!" Haha

For many in the teams, it was their first time entering an unscripted debate competition, so they were quite nervous. But after the initial nervousness had died down, they showed a vastly improved performance in the next round. Both teams won Round 2. *applause*

The event ended around 6.30 to 6.45pm. But the traffic was so bad (it was Friday night after all) that the journey which normally takes around 25 minutes took a whole hour instead.

A funny thing happened on our way back though. Dev commented, "You drive very well Teacher".

"I do?"

I was surprised by the comment and was feeling very pleased with myself when he added, "Yeah, for a girl" (!)

I was laughing so hard that I did not anticipate the car in front of me wanting to turn right. Instead of slowing down and stopping like a courteous driver would, I overtook the car from the left on a rather narrow road.

I was expecting Dev to say something along the lines of, "I spoke too soon" or "I take that back" but instead he said, "See what I mean? No lady driver would dare do that!"


I think Dev has 'recklessness' and 'skillfulness' confused but since it was working in my favour I let that comment passed :-p

Day 2

The remaining preliminary rounds were conducted today (Rounds 3, 4 and 5). Round 5 was a silent round meaning that the adjudicator would not reveal the winner nor provide any feedback like the other rounds. SMKTM A won Round 3 but lost Round 4 while SMKTM B lost both rounds.

By the end of Day 2, everyone was just so exhausted by the day-long, back-to-back debates. And things were further complicated by whether or not we should come tomorrow. Team A still had a mathematical chance of making it to the final 16 but not all team members were optimistic.

Day 3

Dakshan, Aiman, Amal & Yusintha came with me on the 3rd day. Unfortunately, we didn't break through. But most of us stayed on to see the last 16 and the quarterfinal matches. The teams that we saw were awesome. No wonder they managed to chalk up 5 wins and high speaker scores in the preliminary rounds.

At 1.30pm, we decided to call it a day. We didn't stay on for the semis and the final.

Overall, we had a great time. Kudos to the organisers for a well-executed event. I think that the students benefited a lot from the competition. They not only got to debate, but they also received invaluable constructive feedback from the adjudicators, they got to socialise and meet new people who share the same interest, they gained more exposure, improved their language abilities and discussed "intellectual" stuff that they don't normally talk about (world politics, human rights, the law, etc).

Hopefully the experience will make the students love debating more. With a strong commitment and with proper, regular training, inshaAllah, we'll do better at subsequents competitions :-)

Friday, March 12, 2010

School holidays (again)!!! Woohoo!!!

After an interval of 3 weeks, it's time for a break again! *grin*

I remembered a friend's remark after she glanced at my yearly planner, "Banyaknya cuti!" I thought I detected disbelief coupled with envy in her tone... hahaha.

The thing is, I feel this year, we have fewer holidays. 4 public holidays fell on a Saturday (Thaipusam, Wesak, Labour Day & Agong)! FOUR!! Where's the fairness in that??

And to make it worse, the Raya Puasa holidays coincide with the mid-semester 2 break (!).

At the beginning of the year, while mapping out my 2010 planner, life appears bleak indeed :-p

Only after that remark did I realise how lucky I am. So, no more complaints about having fewer holidays!

Having a break to destress yourself is important but I've never been able to make full use of the school holidays (not when I was a student, and not now, as a teacher). Of course, you start off with all the best intentions: to mark your students' books, to enhance your subject's content knowledge, to declutter your workstation, to read for leisure, to spend quality time with your family (shouldn't this be first?), to get done the things you've been putting off, etc, etc, etc.

But rarely did these intentions materialised. Maybe about 20% did. But the rest are what we call "angan-angan yang terkubur".

Despite my embarrassing track record, I couldn't help myself from setting ambitious targets for this coming school holidays as well. There are 2 weddings and 1 engagement feasts to go to (congratulations to my lovely friends Faizah, Mass and Nada!!) and the rest are same old, same old (read: things mentioned in the previous paragraph).

I just hope that I won't oversleep, overeat and surf the internet excessively.

Fa is coming home from Marudu so I'm counting on her and Nada to engage me in fruitful activities :-p

As for my beloved students, here's something that you can join:

May you come back to school with a rejuvenated body, revitalised energy and a rekindled iman.

Oh, and a refreshed mind too so that more grammar items can be stuffed inside there :-)

For more info, visit

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

ICAS 2010

ICAS stands for International Competitions And Assessments For Schools. It is conducted by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) annually. Our school (SMK Tmn Melawati) is one of the participating schools. The subjects assessed are:
2) Writing
3) Mathematics
4) Science
5) Computer Skills

ICAS is an international competition which is also conducted in Australia, Brunei, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, South Africa, Vanuatu and the USA. So, participating in the competition will earn you the highest extra-curricular marks for participation, regardless of whether you pass or fail the test.

(Remember your extra-curricular marks come from Attendance, Participation, Designation and Achievements)

To participate, contact the teachers-in-charge for the respective subjects.

For English, it would be Pn. Norfidzah but the Form 3 students may give their names to me. Register your names by this Friday and the fees will be collected after the school holidays.

Yes, the fees...
The entry fee is RM25 per subject. Except for writing which costs RM55.

The dates for the exams are as follows:

Tuesday, April 13th 2010
Computer Skills

Tuesday, April 27th 2010

Tuesday, August 3rd 2010

Wednesday, 30th June 2010

Tuesday, July 20th 2010

I strongly encourage you to enter this, as it will really test your language abilities.

For more info, visit the website:

P.S. The closing dates (for the 5 subjects) differ, so do check with the teachers-in-charge so you won't miss out!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Ladies' Night

Naiiemah did an awesome job with the poster design. Loved it! And it translated well in the forms of bunting and banner too!

The main objective of the event is to strengthen the ukkhuwwah between Beliawanis KL members. Hopefully, that objective is achieved to some degree.

Ukkhuwwah is such a common phrase. It's a common tazkirah topic as well which may get some people to think "not again?!" or "heard that before". I used to think so too.

But since entering the working world, being apart from close friends from college made me value ukkhuwwah that much more. Though you get along with your colleagues; it's vastly different isn't it?

After that last day in IPBA, after the teary goodbyes and promises to "keep in touch", after surviving 1 year as a teacher alone, who do we still keep in touch with? I mean really keep in touch (not just random responses to their facebook's posts). Friends who we still (occasionally) meet up with, talk to over the phone, SMS, remember their birthdays, fret over their well being, take an interest in their affairs, etc...

I've just realised that my circle of friends from college has shrunk. But of course, we do meet new people and make new friends. Hopefully we can practise everything that we've learnt from all the ukkhuwwah tazkirah that we've heard with our old and new friends :-)

"None of you truly believes (in Allah and in His religion) until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself" (reported by Bukhari & Muslim)