Monday, 19 October 2009

Soraya Jacqueline Jamil

Feeling frustrated that I had forgotten to bring back important documents to complete a report, I spent time looking at old photos over the weekend. Something which I have always enjoyed doing intermittently to relive old memories. This time round, I spotted a photo of my secondary school friend, way back in 1976. I was in Form 5 and she was a year my junior.

I could not recollect exactly how our friendship set off but I have nothing but sweet memories of the friendship shared. Occasionally, we would stay back together for extra curricular activities and had lunch (the tasty curry noodle) at the primary school canteen (then known as tuckshop) which was adjacent to the secondary school we were attending. We spent limited time together due to the fact that we were from different batch. Friendship grew, nevertheless.

As I recalled, she was the first friend who wrote letters to me during school holidays and once a while even during school days when we did not get to meet up. That was my first experience engaging in letter-writing. A wonderful experience indeed.

I owed it to her too, for cultivating my interest in reading. Because she read more, she always had more to share. Not wanting to feel left out and not always in the know, I frequented the school library, started borrowing more story books and reading became one of my favourite past time since then. I travelled without moving an inch.

We went our separate ways once we completed our secondary school. We continued writing to each other years after we left school. She then left for Australia to further her studies and I ended up in a teachers' training college. The last I heard of her was when she sent me her wedding photo from Australia. She had decided to stay on there, her mother's homeland.

It has been ages now but memories of her are kept fresh in my mind.

Dear friend, wherever you are now, I hope you have found happiness in everything you pursue in life.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Helpless

When two people in a common group differ in their ways and views, dissatisfaction lingers, respect lessens and tolerance reduces. It's almost impossible to pretend nothing is happening and it's so awkward to be in their presence and act as if everything is all right. What makes matters worse is when both try discretely to convince others they are making more sense and being professional.

It's so tiring when we have to be around these people. How do we deal with matters like this? It makes it worse when these people are our friends. It's like what it says in the song "torn between two lovers". But hard as we try to be fair to both, they become sceptical and wary of us. Sigh.

Dear friends and colleagues, please come to your senses. Life is too short to be be wasted by filling our hearts with hatred and discontentment.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

A matter of opinion

There's one more week left of Syawal. Open houses are rampant, like an epidemic occuring widespread. It's an interesting phenomenon and this practice will be continued with the Deepavali open houses since Deepavali will be celebrated this weekend.

My subject of focus is however not the open houses per se but of married couples (among my own circle of friends) attending the open houses. I'm not certain if this happens only in the malay society or it is the same with other races in this country. I can't help but notice that wives will willingly tag along their husbands to the latter's friends open houses. But rarely do I notice that husbands are willing to do the same when it's their wives' friends open houses. To me, this is simply a case of taking advantage and to a certain extent bullying. Some wives will totally disagree with my opinion but I'm entitled to one. It's expected that these wives who oppose me will have their reasons, and some very common ones will be "men are like that", "wives should do what the husbands want them to", "i don't mind as long as he's happy", "what to do...i don't want to fight".

This is one of the explanations why women are endlessly oppressed by men. All in the name of love and being an obedient wife. Is this the only way that love and obedience can be translated?

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Students In The Present Day

The quality of students at higher institutions is deteriorating at a lightning speed.By quality it includes academic achievement and attitude. Spoon-feeding at school level has to be reduced drastically.This is probably one major cause of the worsening of quality. Students expect everything to be served for them. They don't see, they don't know. And because this spoon-feeding is so often repeated by teachers, it has become a part of the education system in Malaysia. As a result, students become dependent, lack initiative and deem others incompetent when their needs are not attended to.

At higher learning institutions,students experience culture shock when they are required to be involved 100% in independent learning. Lectures are meant only to introduce topics and outlines as guidance for them to delve into. Tutorials are sessions for them to probe further into subject matters which are still vague with the guidance of lecturers. Nevertheless, even after a few months of advice and support, neither academic achievement nor attitude of these students transform.

Interestingly though, these students, despite often reminding them of what is expected of them as students of a higher learning institution,do not see the problem is with them. Instead,they find shortcomings with either the system or the lecturers.Indeed, it is a very sad state of affairs.

Very often lately the feelings of helplessness engulfs me when I don't seem to get through these messages to my students. Have I lost my touch of being the teacher I used to be? Or has time changed people so much that students have lost the quality that my peers and I had when we were studying?