Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cikgu Leong Ley Ley

Dulu saya bersekolah di Kg Congo. Walaupun terletak di benua Afrika, namun kawasan persekitaran di dalam sekolah berasrama tersebut sungguh orang putih. Kami ada tangga Bradley. Kami ada padang Wembley.

But that's not the story. That was just for introduction. Walau bagaimanapun apa yang saya tulis di atas itu semuanya benar belaka.

When I was in secondary school I had this Math teacher whose name was cikgu Leong Ley Ley. He was a dedicated teacher. He was never late to class. He made sure the syllabus was well-covered. He insisted that we did all the Math exercises given to us. There were nearly 30 of us in class. The girls tried their best to focus and understand. Most of the boys didn't seem to care much.

Another thing that I would like to mention here is that Mr Leong was also a very courteous person. Each time he wanted to emphasize on an important point, he would clear his throat, look at every one of us boys and girls to get our full attention (and to show that he has switched to his very serious mode) and start his sentence with, "Pelajar-pelajar yang dihormati sekelian...". Always very polite.

Except that his Bahasa Melayu was very heavily Chinese-accented. So what we heard was, "Pelacur-pelacur yang dihormati sekelian...". Serius saya tak tipu.

The first time we heard him saying this, the boys looked down, shoulders shaking, trying to hide their laughter. The girls tried to ''maintain ayu''.

And me, in my little perverted teenage mind, I said to myself, ''Owh...dalam dunia ni ada man whore jugak rupanya...''

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Bulan (hanya kau yang mengerti)

Jangan dilihat bulan yang penuh
Cahaya disimbah menyuluh sepi
Jangan diingat orang yang jauh
Nescaya bertambah keruh di hati

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Kawan yang menjadi lawan

In the French language, a faux ami is a false friend.

"False friends (or faux amis) are pairs of words in two languages or dialects (or letters in two alphabets) that look or sound similar, but differ in meaning."
-definition taken from Wikipedia

Once, when I was still a student in France, I entered a shop selling organic produce. Just to have a look and hopefully practise a bit of my French. At that time I had just moved to another town to enter university there.

So I went in and was greeted by the customary "Bonjour madame. Que puis-je pour vous?".

I saw a can of lentils and was interested to buy some. The day before one of my French friends gave me a very quick and easy recipe for lentil soup. And if you can get organic lentils, all the better.

So I asked the lady at the shop, "C'est un produit organique? Il n'y a pas de préservatifs là-dedans?".

I wanted to ask if the lentils were indeed organic and that no preservatives were used in the canning process. I had simply used the English word for "preservative" in my question. Without knowing that the word préservatif in French had another meaning altogether .

So instead of asking if they had used any preservatives in the can of lentils, I actually asked her if they had put any condoms in it.

The proper word to use to translate "preservatives" was "conservateurs". How was I supposed to know that? I didn't have my pocket dictionary with me at that time.

Right up to this day I can still remember the look on her face as she replied "Je ne sais pas comment vous faites chez vous, mais ici en France tout est réglé." (I don't know know how it's done in your country but here in France everything is according to regulations). At that precise moment I experienced first-hand what French sarcasm was all about.

So my dear students, listen to the wise words of Lord Baden Powell. Be prepared. You never know, you might just have your own "lentil" moment, whatever that may be.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Serupa tapi tak sama langsung

For the past few days a lot of people have been sms-ing/e-mailing/FB-ing me asking whether it is true or not the rumour going around saying that I have resigned from my current workplace to continue working at another university.

So here I would like to clarify things. The person is not me. It is someone else who bears the same name as I do.

Nevertheless I appreciate all the concern. It warms my heart to read all the kind words. It's nice to know that there are still some people who want to have me around. I *heart* you all! OK group hug group hug! Awwwww...

But anyhow one day if you ever hear another rumour about a crazy tall woman running after abang Anuar Zain, flailing her arms in the air and shouting, "Aku di sini! Pilihlah aku Anuar! Apa kurangnya aku?!"

...itu mungkin saya!

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Rina the Red Lobster

Rina is a lobster who once lived happily with her parents. Then one day while playing hide-and-seek at the muddy bottom of the river, a huge current swept her away from her family. Luckily there was an old man who was kind enough to rescue her. He took her to a new home. She had to travel a long time by boat. But Rina loves it so much there. The water is clear, the seaweeds aplenty and she can play with her new friends.


Hi guys! Long time no see. What's up?
Hey Rina! My oh my your shell is so red! said the tiger prawn. I look so tiny beside you now.
Hello Rina. Goodness me. Just look at your claws. They are so much bigger than mine! said the blue crab.

Don't you just love it here? The water is always clean. We never run out of food. No nasty sharks. There's nothing to be worried about. Look how much I've grown!

Nothing to be worried about. Nothing to be worried about.


Mommy Mommy! Look at this bright red one in the aquarium! Can we have lobster for dinner instead of crab?
Sure sweetie. Let me ask the waiter. Excuse me? We've changed our minds. Can we have the lobster instead?
Can....Can...of course can....good size...good size. What style you want Ma'am? Butter? Sweet and sour? Chili? Semua boleeeehh...

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mari kita tengok siapa yang kena!

When I was a little kid my Dad would sometimes call home from work and tell me that he received a phone call form a boy called Basri. And this Basri wanted to talk to me. And I would always fall for the trick and ask him "Which Basri?", to which he would reply "Bas Sri Jaya."

This afternoon one of my students sms-ed me and asked if I wanted to go out for lunch with them.
"Jom la Madame kitaorang belanja Madame special punya burger. Kat Burger King tak jual."
"Burger apa?"


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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My GPS still functions

Today is my first day to work in 2010. Semangat berkobar-kobar. Siap pakai mekap.

When I arrived at the office I discovered that one of the vacant tables has been occupied.

Then people came into the room. Conversations. Slimy jokes. Oh. Sorry. "Man" jokes. I hear words like "awek", "kahwin", "bini baru" and the dreaded phrase: "Kalau aku la kan..."

I can look forward to another year of joke gatal.

Oh well...some things never change. But sometimes that particular constant is not what you need in your life.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Aina Maisara goes to school today!

- Mak Long, why is the collar of this shirt so long and pointy?
- Nanti senang nak korek telinga dalam kelas.
- Oh. OK.
- Yati please don't teach nonsense to your niece.
- OK.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Let's get real

Goals are essential to making New Year Resolutions. If you have a clearly defined purpose of what you want, you are much more likely to continue-and even stick to-your plans.

A goal must be both quantifiable and attainable. Or else it is considered nonspecific and, therefore, not meaningful. A goal that is nonspecific cannot be readily achieved and is apt to result in frustration. Or, as it is usually the case, be met with cynical remarks and even be subject to sardonic humor. There is a saying for this in Bahasa Melayu: Hangat-hangat tahi ayam. Let us sum these criteria up in two points (for the goals, not the chicken poo):

1) In order for a goal to be quantifiable, it must have measurable parameters.

For example, losing 3 kilos in 3 months is a quantifiable goal. You can weigh yourself today and again in three months to see whether you have met your goal. The scale will indicate your degree of weight loss in a measurable context. And it might also show if you have exceeded expectations. Like, say, if you weigh yourself, then straight away deduct the weight of one of the body organs (the skin, for example, takes up 16% of your body weight), then you might not have to wait 3 months to see the weight reduction. And still continue enjoying gluttony and decadence.

2) In order for a goal to be attainable, it must be realistic.

For example, having 2 cups of coffee per day instead of 3 is realistic, thus attainable. Cutting out coffee altogether from your life is not. It is in fact foolish and may lead to suicidal tendencies. It is better to set modest goals that are within reach. This lends to a feeling of accomplishment that will spur you on to more ambitious goals. The yes!-and-punching-the-air feeling.

So I have listed out 5 goals as my 2010 resolutions that I think are quantifiable and most definitely attainable.

  1. When I drive to work or back home and a car suddenly swerves in front of me without indicating, I will swear only in Bahasa Melayu instead of mouthing all the bad words that I know in Bahasa Melayu, English and French. Cintailah Bahasa Kita.
  2. Whenever my students come late to class, I will no longer just stare at them and give them the vulture look. I will instead bring a stopwatch to class to write down in my buku 555 how many minutes exactly that they are late to arrive to class. And then deduct points according to a range that I will decide later.
  3. I will resume my exercise routine. At least 1 yoga and 1 dance class per week. Any other kind of workout (ie power walking, lazy jogging, high flying trapeze etc.) will be considered as an added bonus and will be duly rewarded with a scoop of Butter Pecan.
  4. I will consult a Lasik specialist and proceed with the eye operation. I have so far only managed the first part of the process. There are too many questions in my head that leave great doubt and fear for me to go ahead with the procedure (What if tiba-tiba there's a blackout during my operation? Do they have a gen set? And a gen set backup? What if the doctor suddenly experiences an epileptic seizure and I am left helpless with red laser shooting at my flapping cornea? Arghh tidak!). Deadline will be in March '10.
  5. I plan to celebrate my birthday this year in Danau Toba with my spa partners and go skinny dipping in the lake. Notice the word "skinny" in skinny dipping. Hence my resolution number 3.
Well there you go. My hopes and dreams for a more fulfilled 2010. My best wishes to all of you too.

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