Monday, February 28, 2011

'Cultural' Shock?

I'd guess my long 5 years in Auckland had taught me to be a natural bitch (I am a bitch before that but it's aggravated by my stay). Coming back and enrolling to local tertiary institution has opened my eyes to how old-school some lecturers are and how nice Malaysians are. Used to plain speaking aka bitching in class and with friends, I found the students have nothing to say about the system or lecturers. While I respect lecturers very much as they are educating my air-filled head, sharing their vast knowledge, I see a lot of difference in Malaysian lecturers and foreign ones. Believe me, no one is infallible, even lecturers.

For example, most older lecturers are very old-school. They prescribe to 'listen and ask (but the secret message is don't ask, that's considered as talking back and rude)' way of teaching. They somehow 'accidentaly' discourage critical thinking as none of my assignments so far, other than psychology (American-educated lecturer), has any thinking part (like doing a literature review). I love thinking, so the assignments here, to me, are mind-numbing, like repetitive work of sawing the same button on the same top for 10 hours.

I admit I am not a good student, I rebel at everything and I have an idea for everything but hey, that's how I am shaped. I am not fond of spoon-feeding (well, actually I do, but I also love discussion of anything under the sun). Anyway, one of my lecturers was telling about 0-tolerance of plagiarism policy last Friday and not to boast, I'm so used to citations and referencing due to my years in UoA and use of Turnitin, I told him about the 20% cut-off point. And he, this lecturer, refused to listen, saying that every assignment must be 0% when submitted to Turnitin. I mean, come on. Who in this world has his own idea about medical science? All we have is past research and our own research to enhance the knowledge. Do you get it, enhance, not owned!

Another trait of old-school lecturer is the amount of nagging. It reminds me of my mama somehow. The time taken to listen to his nag can be used to study for my previous major fail. Lastly, the old-school lecturers don't believe in professionalism. No sire. Let's announce the whole class's test marks in the class, shall we? While I know and very aware how badly I did in my biochemistry test (not exactly my favourite), but does he need to tell the whole class and announce how 'badly' I did it? Should I ask him a question regarding latest research in medicine or something else medicine-related that he learned 10000 years ago and probably not using now (and dully forgotten)? I'm sure he wouldn't even remember it.

Have some realistic expectations please. While I know he has the best intentions, I know he needs to 'update' his style in approaching students. I finds him tiresome and boring, and sometimes, I get so angry I felt like doing some rude talk backs ^^

Again, I know I am back in Malaysia and the way things are done is majorly different and I have to comply but with my crazy stubborn personality, I found this extremely difficult. I need a complete mind-set alteration. Or a bitching friend, at least ^^

Monday, February 21, 2011

Congratulations Uncle!

On the 19th of February 2011, my whole paternal family went to Lumut to celebrate Uncle Charlie's engagement to Ema. Uncle Charlie is my last uncle (5th) on the paternal side. He's my age (which I will keep as a secret) and a doctor. Ema is of native Perak and an accountant (I think). Uncle Charlie was very excited and happy. Ema looked very pretty in her lavender (or was it purple) fancy kebaya. We all wish him the best and may his wedding solemnization ceremony and reception go smooth sailing.

Anyway, all of us stayed in Damai Laut Swiss-Garden Resort. It's a great place for vacationing family and it's so close to the sea, it's very warm in the day around that area. The drive from KL took about 4 hours and it was tiring. What ever it is, I am happy for Uncle. Chuka-hamnida uncle! I can't wait to celebrate your wedding soon ^^

Please, How Stupid Do You Think I Am?

I feel really upset for my sister B right now. I know she worked really hard, she is one of the most diligent student I've met in my entire life. She never have any extra tuition that is so common in Malaysia. She studies by herself and always managed to be one of the best student in her schools (primary and secondary schools). She is also a very talented athlete who competes in various sports in state level. To me, she is one of the brilliantly well-rounded students in Malaysia.

While I know I am very biased (she is my sister after all), I've seen others who are not as active as my sister. For the fact that she is consistently ranked on top, I am pretty pissed at the government body who rejected her application to good schools, such as controlled schools (I don't know whether they have changed their system or names, I've not kept up with the latest) or boarding schools.

In Malaysia, we have tier school system (or something akin to that). There are major boarding schools or premiere schools such as Fully Residential Schools (SBP) and MRSM (Mara Junior Science College). I am a product of SBP. There is also controlled schools such as Sekolah Aminuddin Baki, Victoria Institution, Sekolah Bukit Nanas and so on. All of us excepting B are product or current student of controlled schools or boarding schools (okay my explanation is vague but I'm too lazy to elaborate on this, it's a boring topic to me).

Anyway, these schools are good schools with great curriculum (actually they are similar to other ordinary day schools but the teachings are probably dissimilar), teachers and study environment. They have great facilities with good reputation that will somehow or other help in students' future undertakings. Anyway, it is well known that admission is very limited. Criteria are strict and some of them are: perfect results (5As for UPSR entry level and 8As for PMR entry level) and disadvantaged background (poor family/income below average and coming from non-city area). Extra co-curricular activities also helps. While ideally the criteria are as I stated before, how come more than 50% of student populations from these 'so-called' good schools are rich and 'not-so-disadvantaged' students? All of these rich students are usually from urban areas and their parents are rich nabobs.

Truthfully, the criteria only work for poor people who are gullible like my family. The rich ones, well, they deserved their golden tickets don't they? They have all the advantages in the world. And the motive of establishing these good schools of providing good education for good students who are otherwise disadvantaged? That motive doesn't work, mostly. While I agree they help people like my family (my sisters and I) to gain good education, they also help those who definitely don't need extra help like my rich friends.

I am not envious of rich people. I love my friends, may they be rich or not. Hey, their parents work hard for their money, they deserve to spend it. It's just that, please don't use stupendous reasons like 'helping disadvantaged students' to reject brilliant students like my sister while we all know they have a special 'Dato/Tan Sri' list out there for 'special' admission students (aka rich people's offspring). I absolutely hate this system. It's unfair. But then again, this is life. Isn't there and adage saying 'the rich will only get richer and the poorer will always get poorer'? I pray that B will get what she wants eventually. As for the government, well all governments in the world have corruption here and there, isn't it? Corruption and power seemed to go hand in hand.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And What Happened After That Incident... that the whole car smelled nasty, like shit. Well, it is shit. And I got so pissed, I felt like telling Baba (who were driving) to pass by Aunty Ana's house and scream bloody murder at her at 7 in the morning, when the sun has yet to shine. I felt like crap (I did step on a bunch of crap) and I had to clean one of my favourite pair of shoes (the white gold-trimmed 3-inch peekabo heels with pretty pretty bows at the back) on the road, then on a patch of grass in front of B's school, and then finally managed to wash the sole in a sink at school.

I wasted my morning feeling extremely angry and frustrated. My shoes were wet. I couldn't stop smelling the crap, even after I cleaned my shoes. I feel dirty all over (okay it's psychological, but hey whatever!). My dad's car carpet got dirty (Aunty Ana should clean it!). So, in conclusion I had a crappy morning today, all thanks to Aunty Ana.

I've never been a happy camper upon waking up in the morning. I'm usually grumpy, crabby, irritated and sullen at best. Today my grumpiness has reached a new height. My next door neighbours, Aunty Ana and her husband keep more than 40 cats as pets. That number doesn't include the stray ones they feed with tender loving care. While I applaud their lovingness towards animals, I hate the fact that they don't take care of their cats properly. Their cat poop are not regularly cleaned and sometimes they let their cats wander, all more than 40 of them, in the neigbourhood to poop and piss everywhere they like to.

Knowing cats and their habits, they tend to prefer grassy area with plenty of soil to piss and poop. Marking their territory, so to speak. And knowing my neighbourhood, about 90% of the houses are cemented, thus leaving the very few like my house with green grassy area with plenty of soil. Naturally my house, due to its close proximity (next door) and its clear fresh grassy area has become the next big thing aka cat public toilet. Everyday, we can see and more importantly smell the cats' leavings. They are nasty, as most can testify and one can accidentally step on the smelly poop. The smell lingers and you feel like killing yourself, or better yet, your neighbour. That's exactly what happened to me this morning on the way to the car. I stepped on Aunty Ana's cat's poop (specifics are needed here).

While I can't blame the cats (I have nothing against them really, they are cute and adorable), they are animals after all, I blame Aunty Ana and her husband. There is a rule where one cannot simply have more than 40 pets at one time! It's against animal's right and very cruel (due to cramped and dirty space, proven by Aunty Ana's household). It's also disrespecting your neighbours due to the smelly odour (Aunty Ana and husband's negligent handling and care of their cats and their leavings) and dirtiness (poops everywhere) for us to endure, especially the right-next door neighbour. We don't live on an estate where each household has more than 10 acres of land, thus more space for the cats to leave their poop. We live in a terrace houses where more than 5 houses are attached to one another and our yards separated by just a measly fence.

My mother has mentioned about the poop and smell (coming from her house and ditch as ditch is her primary place to throw her cats' poop) repeatedly. Her response, 'Well it's not the cats fault, you know. They are just animals.'. That's a very edifying answer Aunty Ana. It showed how stupid you are. Yes, the animals depend on their innate instinct. They do poop as they like, anywhere they like. It's human who has the brain to think. So, bully you, you one stupid lady. You are the owner of the cats. You are the one who is responsible. So, can you give your brain an exercise called 'thinking' and start taking care of your cats responsibly? Or why don't you give away most of the cats for others to take care to be a better pet owner and neighbour? Or better yet, why don't you just move ASAP?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

You Know This Is So Wrong When... started putting the most unlikely things in your mouth. My gum around my left wisdom tooth is killing me. It looked like a crescent moon rising out of my gum surrounding my left wisdom tooth for protection. In truth, it is an annoying piece of tissue that makes me feel like poking it until kingdom comes. Which I did. I poked my back gum until it bleeds and yet I still don't stop.

The reason I poke my gum is: that particular gum feels particularly itchy and painful. Every time I eat, I feel like some pieces of food got stuck in the groove surrounding my left wisdom tooth. Sort of like wearing braces, without the braces. Thus, I brush around that area like a maniac with my toothbrush. Then, I used folded paper (making a thick sharp edge) to poke around that groove. I also used a thin clean stick, cotton bud (cutting of the bud), my pinky fingernail and various other sharp objects. Then I bleed. It promotes further injury to my gum and infection but I just can't help it. This gum is just irritating me!

I know I should see a dentist. Which I will do eventually since this has been going on for a while now. However, for now, I'll resist. Well, not resisting exactly, it's just I don't have the time, money and inclination (seriously, have you seen the tools they used on your vulnerable mouth?) to do so. We'll see how far my battle with my gum will go on.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Caution: Maudlin entry.

The transition of emotions from my travels from KL to Auckland is something I will remember well forever. When I first left for Auckland, when I was waving goodbye to my family the first time in KLIA, I felt alone, apprehensive and anxious. I didn't know what to expect, even if I've seen pictures and saw the welcome video from my university earlier. I had also taken the initiative to ask my friends who had been to Auckland about this new place that was about to be my home for the next 6 years, or so I thought. One thing I didn't do much is researching about Auckland online. My research was very basic as I want to experience things first hand and form my own opinions.

Once my feet touch Auckland International Airport, my first thought was 'Ah, my first step on Auckland soil'. Cliche, I know, but honest to God, that is my first thought. Then, all my apprehension and anxiety went away and excitement took over. I couldn't wait to explore, to see with my own two eyes what Auckland is all about. I was very cautious in the first year. My actions and choices were tightly regulated to my morality and religious belief. I only went to eateries that are proven halal (well, as the sign stated or as listed on Fianz website) and ensure I went back to do my prayers at my room.

On the subsequent years, further exposure and friendships with other international and local students had widen my experience. I explored and experience more while still trying to adhere to my beliefs. I become more adaptable and open-minded (I'd like to think so, but in reality, well, I don't see myself in the mirror every second do I?). I could now do my prayers in the most improbable places such as the disabled toilets, side roads, in the open (on the grass) and corridors as prayer place is not readily available in most of the places I've been to. I've eaten at a lot of other non-halal places such as bars and restaurants, choosing to eat the vegetarian and seafood options.

Anyway, every year I went back to KL. My life had taken into a very drastic direction within the last 5 years, I went further away from what I envisioned where my life would be when I was young and idealistic. I also became more comfortable in my travels from KL to Auckland. The feelings attached to leaving KL never go away. I still felt alone, apprehensive and anxious every time I left. I also felt sad. The emotion of excitement had also never go away upon my arrival to Auckland. In addition, I also feel happy, contented, familiar and a sense of welcome home in the subsequent years of my arrivals in Auckland. It's my home away from home, where I 'nested' and temporarily settled for the rest of each year.

In the end, I ended up staying for 5 years. It was a learning 5-years. In this period, I believe I grew up. While I am not wiser than before, I did learned a few life lessons. Life will never follow what we initially plan. I will miss Auckland and the friends I left behind profoundly. Its roads and corners are so familiar to me, I wish I can split myself into two and live simultaneously in both KL and Auckland. Auckland will always be my 'home away from home'.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


To all pre-menopausal women out there,

What time do you hate the most in the world? The 'time of the month'. Yes, that time. The dreaded, dratted time. While most of us has already gotten used to it due to adaptation, there are times when the doomed time annoy the heck out of us. Let's list the pros and cons of the time-of-the-month aka period aka 'bleeding-time' aka whatever-it-is-you-want-to-call-it-because-I-really-don't-care.

  • Pros:
  1. For muslimah, we get a time when we are considered 'un-clean' thus the necessity of prayer is loosened. Thus, we can have this period of time to clean our prayer paraphernalia.
  2. ................
  • Cons:
  1. Expected moodiness a few days at the advent of the event itself. This moodiness can extend well into the monthly event. This is a widely accepted symptom called PMS, premenstrual syndrome.
  2. General tiredness and achiness at erhmm everywhere on your body. Loss of blood may be the main reason of tiredness.
  3. Expect 'spotting' on clothes due to overflow or any other 'accidents' related to period. This may cause undue stress or embarrassment.
  4. In some cases, like mine, one can almost always smell the tangy metallic smell of blood during this period. It may be psychological, but heck, it gives me the willies.
  5. In some other extreme cases, some may feel disgusted and nauseous in handling the menstrual supplies and cleaning up process.
  6. The added burden of always needing to bring extra pair of panties and period supplies when going out.
  7. The extra money needed to be spent on period supplies.
  8. Pimples, enough said.
  9. Seriously, do you need me to list more disadvantageous of menstrual?

You get what I mean, right? While most of the time we tend to forget about it and accept this period as it is, a normal biological process, there are times like 'spotting' that makes us go nuts. So, women all around the world, rejoice. This is one of the real evidence of our womanhood. Actually, I really don't have anymore to say after that second sentence. Yes, I'm not making much sense here. Yes, I'll shut it now. Thank you.

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