Friday, April 9, 2010


Dulu semasa di sekolah menengah saya dipilih untuk mewakili SMSS untuk sukan bola jaring dan bola keranjang. Saya rasa mungkin tidak sukar bagi mereka yang mengenali saya untuk meneka kenapa saya dipilih. Ketinggian saya dapat dijadikan senjata psikologi semasa berjumpa pihak lawan. Ceh macam bagus padahal sebenarnya tidak ramai yang berminat untuk bermain sukan ini di sekolah dahulu. Ramai yang lebih suka membaca surat dari abang angkat atau peminat rahsia yang meletakkan surat berbedak secara senyap-senyap di dalam meja menggunakan pertolongan seorang perantaraan. Namun pada hakikatnya ini satu strategi yang agak berisiko tinggi kerana terdapat banyak kes di mana orang tengah yang merupakan pagar yang diharap ternyata memakan padi.

Tetapi untuk tidak membuang masa pembaca saya kembali ke topik utama. Pernah sekali sebelum satu perlawanan bola jaring yang penting, saya mengalami kecederaan di kaki akibat perbuatan bodoh diri sendiri. Buku lali saya terseliuh akibat tergelincir dan jatuh sewaktu bermain lumba lari menaiki tangga Bradley dengan seorang rakan yang lain. Guru yang melatih kami bermain bola jaring telah memarahi saya dan berkata: ''Apa pasal awak tak lompat saja dari atas tangga tu ke bawah biar patah kaki terus?''. Keciiiiik hati saya bila cikgu saya berkata begitu. Manalah saya tahu acara lumba naik tangga itu boleh membawa padah. Saya berlumba pun untuk suka-suka saja. Buat menghibur hati. Ya lah abang angkat tak ada, peminat rahsia memang betul-betul berahsia sampai saya tak tahu siapa, dalam meja tak pernah pun saya jumpa surat ''menyatakan hasrat hati''. Kalau budak remaja zaman sekarang ni mungkin dah boleh mengalami kemurungan tahap satu.

Pagi tadi di ofis setelah habis kelas pagi saya terserempak dengan seorang pelajar yang mengikuti kelas saya semester lepas. Dia berjalan terdengkot-dengkot sambil menyeret sahaja selipar yang dipakainya. Bila saya bertanya apa yang terjadi dia memberitahu yang dia tercedera di kaki gara-gara bermain futsal (dan ada beberapa orang pelajar saya yang lain yang sakit kaki akibat permainan ini). Lalu dengan tidak semena-mena dan tanpa berfikir panjang saya terus berkata, ''Hah. Lain kali apa kata awak tendang je tiang gol tu sekali alang-alang awak dah tergeliat kaki. Dah tau exam dah nak dekat apasal awak main futsal beriya sangat?''

Lantas saya terfikir: Oh tidak! Saya sudah dimakan sumpah cikgu bola jaring SMSS saya!

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Today our office was cleaned by three lady surface technicians (the politically correct term for cleaner, or so they say). As one of them came to my cubicle to sweep before mopping the floor, I noticed that she was wearing a new pair of shoes. She wore a pair of Crocs, the denim loafer ones.

-Waa auntie pakai kasut baru ya hari ni.
-Ya la saya baaaaanyak suka ini kasut. Baaaanyak sedap.
-Tapi ini kasut lelaki la auntie.
-Wooo. Betul ka adik? Saya tada tau. Ini anak juga kasi.
-Oh bagus la. Bukan auntie beli?
-Mana saya ada duit? Yillek. Tapi anak juga ada beli. Saya banyak senang hati.

Awwww. That really warmed my heart. I learned two things from her today. The first thing is that a parent will always appreciate gifts from their children if it comes from the heart. The second is that no matter how old you are, just talk to someone much older and chances are that person will call you "adik".

Heheh. Sori. Itu joke mesti mau juga. Tada kalu hati susah. Tada suka. Yillek.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reading Ambassadors

Yesterday I spent some time reading and doing written exercises with my niece. She enjoys doing Maths (or "Atematik" as she says it) more than reading, which she sees as a chore, maybe because she still hasn't gotten the hang of it. It is quite a challenge to think up of activities to encourage her to read and write in Bahasa. But more importantly, to make her enjoy learning. If she starts getting bored of learning from standard 1, we're basically doomed.

One thing that she enjoys very much is reading together with another adult. She'd take one of my books or mags and choose her own book and then ask/instruct us to sit together side by side and read. When it comes to kids I guess everything is by example. And we need to show them that we also do the things that we want them to do.

Which brings me to the topic of today's blog entry. About the country's newly appointed reading ambassadors. I fail to see the impact of promoting the development or increasing awareness or improving literacy (especially among children) when the higher authorities put pretty faces as reading ambassadors. It takes so much more than fame and popularity to promote reading. We need ambassadors who are known to be voracious readers. Or those who are actively involved in promoting literacy in this country. Giving them the title of reading ambassadors implies that the country acknowledges their ability to relate to children, besides communicating well and regularly with the young people. We are not the only country with reading ambassadors. In the US there is a National Ambassador for Young People's Litterature. Britain has a Children's Laureate. Both posts acknowledge the importance of encouraging children to read. And require respected authors or illustrators.

Going a bit off tangent, I would like to talk about the gym I frequent. Who do they choose to grace the billboards and posters and be their spokesperson? Amber Chia. Dos she have a toned and healthy body from regular work-outs at the gym? No. She is stick thin and you are so afraid her thigh bone will snap when she does squats with weights. Even with 2.5kg plates on each side of the barbell you still fear for her safety. Then why choose her? Because she's a highly sought after model and thus recognized by almost everyone. Just put a pretty face, even if in her posters she does bicep curls wrongly and that her poses seem almost perverted. Nobody in their right mind will do their bicep curl repetitions with a sensuous pout while training in the gym. Nobody. They should add another rule to the gym etiquette: "Dilarang melakukan aksi tonggek berlebihan atau bibir muncung yang ketara sewaktu berlatih di gim".

But back to the topic. Do you guys see my point? Michelle Yeoh and Dr Sheikh Muzaffar are not selling cars or jeans or deodorants. They are reading ambassadors. We need people who are able to make a difference when they fill in this post. I want my niece to be have a joyful experience in reading, simply because she has better access to books and the teacher reads to them on a daily basis in class. I want my niece to explore the creative and imaginative side of her mind when they have activities in school that cultivate self expression through reading. I want her to realize that reading is not only something that you do to pass exams. It is a door that opens you up to a world of endless possibilities.

Can the two reading ambassadors do this for her?

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Sunday, April 4, 2010


If you use the PLUS highway you will see a giant billboard across the highway near Serdang. At present there is an advertisement for water filters, air filters and bidets by Coway. You really can't miss it. It's so huge you can probably see it from the moon (okay tasteless joke, so cliche and predictable).Today I saw the ad for the first time. And it made me smile because the brand name sounds uncannily like another range of products that sell everything under the sun.

I find this rather amusing because if you notice here in Malaysia every foreign brand has a little sister or brother that bears almost the same name but not quite. Adidas has Asadi or Adibas; Nina Ricci has a little brother called Nino Ricci. If you have time, try and go shopping for discounted clothes at a popular outlet store here in KL. You'll find not only Diesel jeans, but Gas or Petrol.

And I won't be surprised if one day there will be another shop near Santai Suri that is called Santau Suri. That would be a voodoo shop. Or Santai Sari. Selling Indian textile maybe?

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