Thursday, August 2, 2012

Kekeliruan semantik

The other day in class we were discussing a little about jobs and occupations. I gave them a simple word puzzle in which they had to find words that describe someone's work. At first they had to guess the meaning of them. Some were easy, like étudiant or professeur or architecte. Some did not sound anything remotely like English, like cadre or douanier.

Then one of the students raised his hand and asked, "Madame, what mean chanteur?" (itu adalah soalan standard para pelajar saya bagi terjemahan terus "apa makna..." ke dalam Bahasa Inggeris). I told them that chanteur meant singer, then added, "When I say singer I'm talking about the recording artist and not the one you see at the zoo." Yang faham gelak. Yang tak faham memandang kosong. Yang kemengantukan berpuasa buat-buat macam faham tapi meneruskan tidur dengan mata terbuka. One student started singing the Singer jingle. You know..."Singer...menawan keluarga bahagia!". Gelak-gelak lagi.

Tak apalah. Saya pun meneruskan kelas. Tapi 5 minit selepas itu saya tengok keadaan semaking meruncing. Makin ramai yang mengantuk. You know it when you see the eyes start to roll upwards and the eyelid shutter speed mula menjangkau 1/500 sec with faster flash sync interval (cuba bayangkan). So I asked them to all stand up. Siapa dapat jawab boleh duduk.

At one point I asked the meaning of chanteur. One boy excited put up his hand. "I, Madame!" (read: "Saya cikgu!" dalam Bahasa Melayu). Dan dengan penuh keyakinan dia menjerit, "Chanteur is sewing machine!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Visit to Rumah Orang Tua Al-Ikhlas

Last Sunday (29/07/12) I had the wonderful opportunity to join a group of friends to visit the Rumah Jagaan Orang Tua Al-Ikhlas in Puchong and meet an extraordinary woman who calls herself Kak Muji who has decided to devote her time and use up her pension money to open a home and take care of the sick and elderly.

We did some collection (food contribution and cash donation) and pooled in our resources. My car boot was full of groceries and adult diapers generously given by my work colleagues. And the cash donation collected was enough to buy an industrial washing machine and pay for other needs deemed fit by Kak Muji. Orang UniKL MFI memang sempoi. Sentiasa bersedia untuk membantu. And to all my friends who contributed cayalah guys! You all were super awesome. Merci beaucoup!

Background story on the lady owner of the home:

Kak Muji is the lady who is running this home.
She is a retired head nurse. A single mother with three grown-up daughters and many happy grandchildren.
There are two main reasons why she decided to run this home for the elderly: 
1) There were no old folks home for Muslims only at that time.
2) Her expertise and skill as a nurse would come in very useful for geriatric care.

(Kak Muji is the one on the right, seen here holding one of her granddaughters. The tall lamp post you see on the left is, well, me.)

The building:

She was given access to an old  mosque which was no longer in use due to its very poor condition. Using her own financial resources, she rebuilt and restored it by putting new tiles and plaster ceiling. She also repaired the roof. Bit y bit, she extended the mosque area by adding a few wings, to have separate sections for the men and women and a bigger space for both the cooking area and the porch. All this at her own expenses, of course.

This is the first all Muslim care center for the elderly.


There are currently 55 residents; 20 men and 35 women. They are patients sent in by hospitals all over the country as they had nobody to take care of them upon leaving the ward. Most of them are bed-ridden. She says she  only takes in chronic patients, as her experience working in a hospital would be beneficial to these elderly people. Sometimes the patients sent in to her home were so ill or were still in a coma and they pass away within 2-3 days of arrival. I find it emotionally hard to witness these elderly people all put up in a home, especially the women. Each one has a different story to tell. Some have no family, some became old and forgotten, some are so-called paying for their past sins. I hope and I pray that God blesses our souls with more empathy and compassion towards our parents, for that is what is sorely needed and lacking. Nobody should grow old alone. And lonely.

Kak Muji is assisted by 13 helpers. Each one is trained for a specific skill, such as cooking, cleaning, feeding or basic nursing.

Monthly expenses:

The cost to run this house is around RM30k per month. Most of the expenses would go to food, diapers, medication and salary. They go through 10 kg of rice and 15 packs of adult diapers per day. So any contribution of adult diapers and basic food supplies would be most welcome, as well as cash donations or maybe corporate sponsorships to take care of the utility bills.

We hope to make our visit here a regular one and help spread a bit of cheer to the elderly who only want to spend the last days of their lives knowing that there are still some people out there who care.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sesi berkenalan di dalam kelas

This morning I had class with this particular group of 8 students for the first time. All boys. So, as usual, we first had to introduce ourselves (en français, bien sûr) and then introduce another friend. In order to do so, I first asked each one to take out a sheet of A4 paper and told them to draw themselves. At the beginning they were a bit reluctant, asking again and again what they really had to do. I don't know why but somehow all my students would gladly draw another friend but refuse to do a self-portrait. So finally I explained to them that I just wanted a simple sketch of how they see themselves, if they cannot remember how they look like. Then they went Ohhh and started work.

After 5 minutes, I collected their work to be randomly redistributed. From the 8 drawings, I had one rock star, one Doraemon, one Mat Salleh superhero (sebab pakai spender kat luar), two local superheros (sorang pakai kupiah, sorang lagi pakai cape batik), seorang gadis bertudung yang buat pose muncung, one K-Pop boy and finally one normal budak lelaki Melayu yang pakai jeket MFI.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Blood test

This morning I went to the clinic for a blood test. In the doctor's office, she was trying to look for a vein visible enough for her to poke the needle in. While doing so she kept asking me if I could stand the sight of blood. If not it would be better for me to lie down during the procedure instead of me sitting on a chair and risking passing out and roll off the chair out off the room.

Dia ikat lengan saya dengan tali velcro. Dia jentik-jentik mencari urat yang timbul.Dia suruh saya genggam-genggam tangan macam main cap-cekur-gam-gamit masa kecik-kecik dulu. Tapi masih tak jumpa tempat sesuai untuk disuntik. Sambil mencari dia berbual kosong dengan saya supaya saya tidak panik.

-Hmmm I can't seem to find any vein.
-Ohh. Doctor does that mean I have good smooth skin?
-It means your veins are deep down. Sebab awak ada banyak isi.

She tried on both forearms but still couldn't find a good vein. Doktor saya geleng-geleng kepala. Muka dia sangat masam. Saya macam ada sedikit cuak.

-So doctor if we cannot find a vein how??
-Hmmm....well looks like we might have to cut off an arm then.

HAH! Deep down I knew she was just cracking a joke but she looked so serious that I couldn't help but feel very worried. Not to mention start to imagine the worst.

She saw my muka pucat and terus exclaim "Hah quick quick fist pump fist pump!"

I did as was told. She found a bulging vein. Blood extracted. End of story.

Logik ke bila muka pucat darah semua ke tangan? Entahlah tapi semasa hendak keluar dari ofis doktor saya terdengar gelak "hahahawasudakenakandiabeb" nya. Haih. Takpa lah janji misi tercapai!