Sunday, August 27, 2006

Exams, but in a different perspective

Exams made INTERESTING by me.

So, many of us thinks that exam is torture, right? Most of us think that exams should be abolished- because we’re killing trees, students face stress and so on. Well, let me tell you something for those of you who thinks exam ’season’ is one of the worse times in your life. Exam is only a game, as thought by U2 Kumar. It didn’t make any sense to me until one fine day, it popped into my mind.

If you like to play computer games- DotA, board games- Chess, or a physical interactions- football, treat exam as one. It is not about how good your memory is but your understanding of things. It is not about how suffering you feel but how you can make it enjoyable and torture the paper instead of yourself. It is not about how you are better than your friends or siblings but how good you are, knowing yourself. If you know you are not as good as you think you are, work hard. There is always time. It is not the quantity of time you have left but the quality of work you produce in a short period.

Level 1. What is exam? It is a game. If it’s a game, why do we need to study instead of playing the game there and then? The answer is that by studying, you’re learning the tactics, the strategy and the enemy’s weaknesses. The exam paper itself is your opponent. All you need to do is to fill the exam paper with ink that writes correct facts which you’ve learnt through out your learning years.

Level 2. Use your skills. After you have learnt the method to do what you need to do, when to do, it is time to pracitse because practise makes perfect. In other words, output learning which can be done by drawing mind maps, doing exercises or writing notes without having to refer to you revision book.

Level 3. Your opponent tries to confuse you by twisting the facts. What do you do? Focus, and don’t let it distract you. You know you’ve studied the tactics and practised on facing the your opponent. Why fear it? Take your sword or weapon (pen/ pencil) and charge at the little men before you take on the King itself. Cancel all the wrong answers and see what is left. Use your mystical powers to see beyond the lie to seek the truth..

Level 4. You are finally ready to checkmate the King. Before that, you need to make sure that your strategy works. Are you sure that all the pieces are in the correct place? Are you sure that the King has no where else to go and there is not other pieces which can defend the King? Check your answers before handing them up. Make sure that you are at least 90% sure with your answers. Double check your workings for Maths, Add. Maths, Physics, Chemistry etc.

You are finished with the game. You have won the battle. Now, it is the battle between your results and your parents. Sorry, I can’t help you on that one but if you have an idea, do share it. I have this problem all the time.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. For my exams this time, I am practising output learning because I realise that I understand the content of my syllabus well (except for History) but I failed to put them at use. Now, I’m doing exercises after I finish studying the chapter. Hopefully this time, I am using the correct strategy to improve my grades to an A1.

I’m not sure how this will motivate you to give your best shot during exams. Remember that it is only between you and the paper which leads to your success. No way we, humans can lose to a few exam papers. Here, I am showing you the kiasu-ism which most, not all of us have. Kiasu means scared to lose. Tell those papers, ‘Be prepared to be tortured by me.’ *evil laugh*

I think I’ll stop here before my imagination runs too far.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Unforgettable memories in KUKUM

First would be meeting new friends and mentors. It was weird at first but these people are easy to socialize with and in the nick of time, we’re already friends!

There was also the robot competition session. It was fun and exciting. There were some of my group members who would cheer our team name when our robot isn’t even in the round. In other words, they were supporting others by cheering our team name. It was funny. But I would say, my team has the highest spirit of them all. There was also the time when we would sit and make fun of one another. You know me, I’m sarcastic but I don’t go overboard.

I will not forget the traditional dance, ponco-ponco which they taught. Then there was the banana thing which I forgotten. Part of it was like ‘Shake banana, shake shake banana, eat banana, eat eat banana…’ First day itself was ‘Kiri, kanan, kiri kanan depan belakang, kiri….’ I don’t remember that though. (Anyone who went and still remember, can you please send me the full thing?) Ponco-ponco is really really nice!

Now, back to meeting my new friends. The Globack Squad who rocks! Kamal- the unique, Danial and Azril- the stylish, Asraf- the nice, Atif- the interesting, Fadil- the friendly and a lot more.
Here, I would like to stress on the mentors. Abang Sedi- the gentle heart, Abang Syafiq- the good-looking mentor, Kak Ras- the optimistic, Kak Yati- the pretty and a tonne of other mentors. Although I may not know your name, but I know you and I think you are the best mentors I’ve ever had. I pray that someday, you all will be great engineers. Thanks for the bookmark, the keychain, the candle and the little souveniour.

Not forgetting the motivational speaker, Dr. Ismail Zain. I was shocked on the first day when I saw my dad getting along really well with him. Turns out that my dad and him were classmates from Form 1 until Form 5 and they met twenty years later. I thought it was a joke when my dad told me. I clarified with Dr. Ismail Zain a few days later and found out that it wasn’t a joke after all. He’s pretty okay for the motivational part actually only that if it was in English, I would have caught his words better.

So, that’s all for now. If I remember more, I will definitely write them here. Attending this so-called camp widened my horizons and exposed me to different types of people who makes the world go round! I will definitely miss them all and hopefully, there is a chance for us to meet again. Until then, I’ll have all the memories preserved here.

Not so happy memories in KUKUM

The not so good memories which I won’t forget includes me accidentally cutting my finger with a penknife and running to a mentor for plaster with blood dripping. One memory I would like to share was the second accident I had on the third day when I was walking to the bus.

It was on the third day. I was imitated by a group of boys- what I was doing, how I was walking. Thus, I lost my concentration while walking towards the bus to head back to campus. They got up the bus before me and I hung up after talking to my mum. I did not have a firm grip while going up the bus; therefore, I slipped and fell on the stairs which I’d like to remind you that part of the stairs is made out of steel.

The boys just laughed at me and did not bother to help! I acted cool as I got in the bus as if I wasn’t hurt or anything but deep inside, it hurt badly. I did not want anyone else to laugh. I sat down and relaxed. The excruciating pain on my left side of my body made me unable to move for a while. Then, I checked for any bruises.

I found two parts bleeding- my right leg, near the knee and my left leg, near the ankle. It was hard to walk. When I got back to my room, I found two blue blacks. One on my left arm, near the wrist and on my left thigh. It was the biggest blue black I’ve ever had. In addition, those blue blacks came with big lumps. To me, it was like the fall of the year.

With those injuries, I still had fun. Some of my friends were caring to wait and be patient when I’m slow.

Day 4 in KUKUM

Day 4

I got up late again but I wasn’t the only one. Day 3, the care-coordinators threw a party for a birthday girl by scaring her saying all the mentors were complaining about how rude she was and the mentor even asked us to show ourselves. It was a prank and it was a little scary. I thought I was the one who was rude to the mentors and all. I kept on asking Arif if it was me. He kept on telling me to calm down. It would have been embarrassing if I ruined their plans.

Anyway, we headed to Dewan Kapitol for our last motivation session and the finals for the robot competition. Articles about KUKUM came out in the newspapers- Utusan Malaysia for a few days. Lastly, there was ending the Klinik SPM 3 Kebangsaan, Menjana Jurutera Glokal officially. We snapped pictures with the Menteri Besar of Perlis, sang ‘ Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang’ and for the last time, the KUKUM song.

We took more pictures, took contacts and greeted one another. My parents came as well. The most fun I had was on the third and last day. If I ever have the chance to go for this, I will. I would also like to meet my friends again including the mentors.

Day 3 in KUKUM

Day 3

Abang Safwan called Abang Bob to bring the first aid. Abang Bob said, “Kamu ialah orang pertama untuk merasmikannya.” He put some dettol cream and it hurt. It was still bleeding but not as much as the day before. Off I went to the first class, modern mathematics.

I got to know Danial, Atif and a few other people. Well, they were sitting behind and in front of me in the lecture room. A couple of us were dozing off during the seminar. So, we had a short chat. That day itself we also had tea and some activity with the KUKUM director.

When we got back after three seminars, it was time for the robot competition. Although my team didn’t make it to the final round, we were able to present two robots. One of them was made out of water bottle where as one more was made out of mountain board. I drew the name ‘GLOBACK SQUAD’ and ‘KUKUM’ with flames as the background. Although it was my first time, it ended up to be pretty satisfying for me.

Then, it was nearly midnight. The activity continued until 2 am. After the robot competition, the care-coordinators gave special awards. I was a surprised when they mentioned me as ‘Pelajar Paling Versatile’ (most versatile student) and my friend, Vishnu as ‘Pelajar Paling Sopan’ (most polite student). Well, it came unexpectedly. However, I think all the students gave their all and they deserve something too.

Next stop was giving awards to teams. The team which created most havoc, most cooperating, most tidy, most supportive, most cheerful etc. My team got the ‘Paling Meriah’ which I have no idea on how to translate that to English.

We took group photographs the whole night. I regret not bringing along my camera. Well, I suppose I can ask ther others to send me those photos. I took pictures with my mentors, group members and other friends.

Day 2 in KUKUM

Day 2

I got up late. I was the last to wake up. My roommates and I were the last to go down but we blend in just right. Our first class was Maths. I was sleepy during Maths. Well, let’s just say that I knew the things she told already. So, I just did the questions she gave in the hand out. I was doing it subconsciencely. In other words, I was doing the questions with my eyes half open but I got them right after checking with the teacher.

Then, there was English. It was okay. His literature explanation part was more interesting that the comprehension part. I slept just for a while. Then, we headed back to campus where we continued to build our robots. I got to know a few mentors better. They were Abang Sedi, Abang Syafiq and Kak Ras- my group mentors. In the evening, we headed back to the lecture room for Physics. That day, we also learnt the traditional Perlis dance- ponco-ponco. I love it!

I got to know a couple of new friends better including Kamal and Arif. They are really nice people who are from Perlis. They are intelligent and always have something to talk about. After the seminar, it was about 11 pm. Again there was the building robot session. This time, Nida, Shaz and I worked until 3am.

That was the night when I met another mentor, Abang Safwan. What happened was that that night, I cut my skin by accident with a penknife while trying to cut through the mountain board. I remember the joints at my finger bleeding until it was dripping. I was scared and shaking. I searched for a mentor and I found Abang Sedi. I felt bad to trouble him to get me plaster at the boys block at 2 something in the morning.

Other groups were testing their robots and my group was in the process. He got me the plaster and I went to the other block to get my hand washed. It was painful and it couldn’t stop bleeding. Then came Abang Safwan. He helped me put the plaster on. The next morning, he called for first aid kit.

My group managed to finish the robot although 9 minds would have been better than 3. I was the last to leave the hall. It was a little scary to walk back alone to my room which was on the third floor but I made it.

Day 1 in KUKUM

I’m back from Perlis after attending Klinik SPM 3 Kebangsaan, Menjana Jurutera Glokal. It was the best experience I’ve had and I’m going to write about it for these few days.

Day 1

My parents fetched my friend and I from Ipoh to Perlis. The journey started at 6 am. We reached about 11 I think. I got to know my housemates and my mentor, Kak Yati. A pretty, patient and nice sister. Then, there was a talk, welcoming us to KUKUM (Kolej Universiti Kejuruteraan Utara Malaysia). Not long after that, we were divided into ten groups. My groups was known as Globack Squad. We had another 4 mentors- 2 male and 2 female.

I regret not taking the chance to know all of my group members. I only knew about three quarters of them. That day, we were also given briefing on the robot competition which will be held on the third day. My group worked hard on it. We were divided into smaller groups- for mechanical part, wheels, and the electronic part. Looking back, I think dividing the mechanical part wasn’t a good idea but it’s over now. Our fascilitator was known as Encik Z.

The objective was to drop 5 ping pong balls into a container when the robot reaches its destination. The elements measured were the speed and the ability to get five ping pong balls into the container. I knew for those three nights I didn’t sleep so well. It got later by the day. First day, I slept at 2 am.

That day, there wasn’t any seminars. Only the session to know one another. I wasn’t the only Chinese there. There were another two chinese girls and one Indian boy (my friend). Getting to know new friends were interesting and I wished that the day would never end. We learnt through fun.

I thought of taking a nice warm bath when I realized that there wasn’t any heater! It was cold water for the 4 days which actually help to reduce my fever. The heat was so intense that I would not stop sweating, even at night! So, sleep wasn’t much help to me being alert the next day.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Break!!

Yay! It’s just the beginning of school holiday. This is the time which I wish holidays will never end. Well, students in Kedah have just finished their trial exams and Perak hasn’t started yet. Hopefully this time, I’d be able to get better results- A1.

Tomorrow I will be heading to Perlis with my friend to attend a seminar. My parents are starting early. I feel bad sometimes because they have to drive me all the way to Perlis when I will be at the back sleeping. I have a secret only my family members know. Now, it’s not going to be a secret anymore.

I have car-sickness. Unlike people who gets sea-sick when they are on the boat, I get car-sick. I don’t know why but the only thing I can do is sleep. I will be away from the laptop for 4 days. I will be away from my comfortable home. I will be away from my comfy chair and desk. It’ll do me good when I learn and apply what I learnt in SPM.

Anyway, I was supposed to go for tuition. When I reached the tuition centre, what did the clerk tell me?

Clerk: Hari ini tiada kelas. Cikgu suruh you call tapi you tak call sebelum datang. Bukan salah I. I sudah inform pelajar lain. Youpatut call. (There’s no class today. The teacher told you to call before coming. It’s not my fault. I have already informed other students. You should call)

Me: *Staring for pretty a long time…* But I wasn’t notified. You could have called. You knew I wasn’t here last week. I told you. Fine.

I walked out, called my mum, bought some stuff and drove home. On my way, my friend messaged me. He kept on asking me questions about my life. I’m not saying that I hate it but he’s invading my privacy. Mind you, don’t ask questions on my life after school like when I’m getting married, how many kids, what they will be named after and stuff. One more thing which I dislike people asking is about my family.

Don’t make the bomb tick before it even starts ticking. Capisce?

I recently got to know quite a number of friends through blogging and the workshop as mentioned. I assumed two truly Malaysians as Singaporeans. Well, I was wrong and they are really nice people.

There is this essay competition in my school and my teacher wants us (my class) to participate. In conjunction with the Merdeka celebration, the title is “What does living Malaysia mean to you?” Should I write factual like the natural beauty of nature and the development or should I write narration like my various experiences?

It suddenly reminded me of the book “Life’s Like That” by Lydia Teh- scenes from Malaysian life. Who knows, perhaps I will get my inspiration from there.

Monday, August 14, 2006

U2 Kumar Workshop

I’m back from the workshop which was held on Saturday and Sunday (12 & 13 Aug), conducted by U2 Kumar. It was grreat. For those of you who heard of him but didn’t attend his workshop, well, you missed a lot. If you have another chance, you should go for it. These are memories I shan’t forget.

We were divided into 8 groups and to graduate, we have to collect 25 million (It’s not real money). It was hard at first, but then, I got the hang of it. With team work, anything is possible. U2 Kumar trains us and I feel like I’m a new me! The way he speaks motivates others to do better and always make us think in a positive way. There is no word like ‘PROBLEM’ because every problem is a ‘CHALLENGE’. He made me more supportive for others and made me a big-heart person.

Whenever I feel like giving up, I’ll say “Challenge!!!”. Whenever I’m sad or discourage, I’ll tell myself, “Today’s a GRRREAT DAY!”. I love exams because it is only a game. U2 Kumar planted these characteristics in us, and it made us become a better person. I learnt that in a game, there isn’t a losing team but a learning team which made a lot of sense to me. I may be far behind in my studies, I’m learning and I do consider myself a late bloomer.

There was an assignment to thank dearest people in your life. I suddenly realised that I have a lot of people to thank. My parents, my brother, teachers, friends and not so close friends for being patient with me. Saying thank you wasn’t an easy thing to do but then I realise after I was told, saying thank you makes their day and my day. I realised how important every one of these people are to me although I don’t really show it.

My team although merged as the learning team with the last placing, but hey, we graduated. On top of that, I was awarded the Lawrence Walter Award. I was shocked and thankful at the same time. From that workshop, I learnt how special every individual is including myself. I had always underestimated myself but now, I’m confident with myself.

So, thank you again Mr. U2 Kumar. No matter how many times I say this, it is not as much as how grateful I am to know you.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Frustrating life experiences

As my mum and I were heading to Jusco, there was an impatient man waiting to speed somewhere. He honked over and over again. Then I thought of the book ‘Honk if You’re Malaysian’ by Lydia Teh. He’s Malaysian alright. He was overtaking every other vehicle on the road which poses a threat to society. What if an accident were to occur and someone loses his/her life? Note to self: Drive safely, in any circumstances, DON’T SPEED.

So, my mum and I reached Jusco. We bought some things in the hypermarket- cereal etc. As I head for a counter to pay, a lady ran across me and handed her cash. I was like, “Okay. It’s alright. It’s just a lady who needs to pay and rush somewhere else. Patience is important.” The next thing I knew was that after she paid, she went back to the counter she came from earlier and paid the other half of her things! She divided her things to two counters and paid them separately. I was mad but hey, she shouldn’t do that. Not to self: Never pay things in separate counters at the same time.

Then, I came to think about policemen who gave my mum a ticket in Penang. Well, my aunt said that the empty lot is for parking, only for those who is going to buy things from Supermarket X. When we came out, there was a ticket. Well, that’s weird. There is no yellow line- nothing. We don’t know the area so well, so, we had to drop by to ask someone where we can pay the ticket. In the end, my mum stopped a few policemen and ASKED them the direction to don’t-know-what-place.

The policemen were on break and gave us a smirk. Then, one of them said ‘Tak tau (don’t know).’ I could feel the fire burning inside me. My mum ASKED why she got the ticket when we don’t see any signboards saying ‘NO PARKING’. Once again, the policemen smirked and walk away. If I had one chance, I would have told him off. We are citizens and it is their duty to guide us, protect us from criminals and at the same time give us warnings and issue summon tickets but what type of etiquette was that? Turns out that the signboard was there after all and you need to search carefully, even if they are between the trees or the whole tree branch is blocking it that you can only see the pole.

However, not all policemen are like that. Some are kind enough to listen calmly when you panic. For example, when you start blabbing on the phone because your house just got robbed or when you lose your passport when you need to apply you visa in a few days time. Note to self: Watch out for all signboards, policemen and be cautious at all times.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Embarrassment

I finally got my heels. For a first timer, I am amazed at how women can walk for long hours. Believe me, I had a hard time balancing at first. Then, I got used to it.

I received a message today. On the screen, it was written “Happy 70th birthday grandma!(and some Chinese characters)” I did not know who it was. I thought it was a friend playing a joke on me. Because my brother’s phone was sent in for repair, he is using mine and I am using my mum’s. So, I don’t have records of my friends’ numbers. A while later, another message came. “Sorry I think I got the wrong person..”

*Phew.. So, have you experienced sending the wrong message to the wrong person? So far, I haven’t experience that yet but maybe sometime in future.
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I had the most embarrassing moment in class today. My friend was trying to reach for something near my chair. She was supposed to hold on to the chair but she touch my waist by accident. I thought she was doing her work. I saw both her hands on the table when I was doing my work. The next thing I knew, there was a hand creeping behind me!

I screamed on top of my lungs. The whole class stared at me. I was embarrassed. You bet I was. It reminded me again about the squirrel issue.

This Saturday is my class party or should I say gathering in Excelsior. That was also why I bought heels today. Anyway, trials is drawing closer and these few days, I have been unmotivated to study but once I get the hang of it, I can’t stop reading until I get satisfaction.
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Have you felt like writing a Sonnet 18 for someone but the you know that the person have no idea that it is a sonnet? At the same time, you think there is someone out there waiting for the right time.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Teddy Bears

I learnt about teddy bears today in English tuition.

It all started when President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt went a hunting trip and had an encounter with a bear. He called off the trip and had another one in an are where there are no bears. However, he was infuriated when someone tied a bear cub to a tree.

Somehow, cartoonist, entrepreneurs and a few more companies produced goods with pictures of Teddy and his Bear. Then, Steiff, a German made the first jointed Teddy Bears in autumn 1902 just in time for Christmas! Those kids must have been really happy.

In 1903, there was a fair and there were magazines and even a market selling Teddy Bears. It was popular for Teddy Bears provided comfort and consolation for both young and old people.
Teddy Bears- they are so cute! Last time, my parents wouldn’t get me one because I was asthmatic. Now, I’m better and it has been 2 years since I last got my attack. I’m waiting for my dream guy to get me one.

I read somewhere ‘A man can be measured by his shoes ‘. If you see a guy wearing clean shoes, he is someone who gives a lot of attention to cleanliness. If you see a guy with old shoes, he is a thrifty person.

But, can a man’s cuteness be measured by Teddy Bears? or should I say his romantic side?
Is there Teddy Bear’s Day? A day to commemorate the origin of Teddy Bears and perhaps every children can own a teddy bear. Perhaps a company can donate (if that is what it’s called) teddy bears to third world country children- especially those who lives in poverty. Every child deserves to be happy and should have memories to preserve.

Anyway, for those who wants to know more about these stuffed toys, you can search for it. My apologies for being unable to provide a complete history on it.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Dancing

I love dancing but due to the stress I had in Form 2, I stopped- too much homework, not enough time to practise and study.

I started ballet since I was 3+. I continued until Grade 5 and that was when my problem started. You see, after Grade 5 (RAD), there are two ’streams’- RAD (Royal Academy of Dancing) and ISTD ( International Student Teacher Dancing). Unfortunately for me, the ballet center I was in offers ISTD but most ballet centers offer RAD. I continued for about one year until intermediate. Then, I moved to another state.

I searched for a ballet center which also offers ISTD but the teachers weren’t good enough. So, I started RAD which I should have long time ago. In the end, I could not manage the stress for I had to learn and remember new things and classes were twice a week and hour plus each lesson.
I remember performing in concerts as a kid and I definitely loved it. One which I would never forget would be performing in Istana Budaya. For quite a few concerts, I was chosen from my class to dance with other seniors and like it. I prefered to do solo then.

Ballet for 11 years, then cheerleading for 3 years. Cheerleading was not as challenging as I thought it would be. Perhaps it was because I was in a school which wasn’t exposed to cheerleading before. In dancing, I would be a better follower than a choreographer. After SPM, I might join modern dance classes. Who knows, right?

Friday, August 04, 2006

The World is changing (part 2)

What is it about the world that you can change besides the environment?
I read a couple of posts on war. What would the world be like without war? Can’t things be talk over? Why must there be war?

With war, people die. Children lose their parents and they won’t get to go to school- no proper education. What would they grow up to be? War starts between two adults and ends up destroying those children’s lives. Is it fair? Never say that life is unfair for life is fair unless you make it unfair- an individual can affect many. Besides, people get hurt emotionally, physically and mentally. Families lose their loved ones- a father, a sibling, a cousin etc. Imagine to live without our family one day.

‘Where is the love?’ -Black Eyed Peas-

Without war, countries can pay more attention to mother nature and work together to develope a type of technology that can develope all the countries. Together we stand, divided we fall. In other words, two brains or more is better than one.

On an unrelated topic, have you ever thought how the world would be without money? Imagine that. What if the barter system is practised until today? Money- you need to mine and process it to make coins. If less coins were made, then the source can be used for other purposes.

I’ve been thinking a lot these few days. Something just came into me. I know that some of my teachers may be annoyed with me asking too many questions. That is why I love my tuition teachers, not all. They provide enough information and they can answer the questions I ask. In contrast, some school teachers do some times, provide the wrong information.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

To..., be ready....

To like someone, be ready to get hurt.

To get someone’s attention, be ready to be ignored.

To confess to someone, be ready to be rejected.

To peek at someone, be ready to get caught.

To write about someone, be ready to face the consequences.

To talk ill about someone, be ready to be backstabbed.

To be nice to someone, be ready to be treated badly.

I’m not saying that it will happen but don’t make a step without preparations- mentally, emotionally and physically. Perhaps I’ve made a mistake but I have no regrets yet I’m not happy.