Thursday, December 1, 2016

Japan Trip 2016!

It was the second semester mid-term break. My friends and I had been planning this trip since last year. We bought our tickets in February. Last year, I was excited for my trip to London. This year, it was my trip to Japan. Specifically, we went to Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto! It was a 5 nights 6 days trip. What's more exciting was that I went there with a bunch of awesome people! Our flight lasted for 6 hours. I personally hate long haul flights. I wish I could just teleport. Good thing our flight was in the middle of the night so that I could sleep soundly on board. Or so I thought... haha. I woke up, went to sleep, woke up, and then went to sleep again. What do you expect when you're seated at the economy seat. Of course comfort wasn't a priority.

Ok, enough of that. I'll summarize the trip with pictures and captions. Here we go. (They are not arranged in a chronological order.)

First day at Dotonbori, Osaka! There are a lot of restaurants and clothing stores around here.
A trip overseas wouldn't be fun without the company of awesome people! (Also, I look good in this picture. haha)

Dotonbori River! The view was spectacular at night.

at the Kohfukuji Temple Nara (travel buddies photobombing)

The season around this time was almost the end of Summer. It was pretty hot. No difference with Malaysia. haha

Saying goodbye. This was at Dotonbori, Osaka. 

Hanging out at the guesthouse. This was at Sakura Guesthouse. If you don't mind small spaces and a bathroom that is located 4 storeys below from your room, then this guesthouse is for you. Besides, it's affordable. Google it if you plan to visit Osaka and looking for a place to stay.

Authentic matcha ice cream!

They roam freely in Nara. Some of them could snatch your handbag out of the blue. It didn't happen to anyone of us but I saw it happened to other people. LOL.

Osaka Castle! To snap this was free!

I miss drinking that. The drink that I had in my hand. It's Starbuck's matcha green tea latte. No, I didn't buy that in a Starbucks outlet. It's sold in a store called 'Lawson'.

On top of Umeda Sku Building!

Good fella.

At Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan. It is famous for its bamboo trees. (Yes, I was wearing baju kurung in Japan because it was Hari Raya Haji in Malaysia that day. I don't observe the celebration but my travel buddies do.)

With our tour guide at Arashiyama. His name is Kenzo.

Sushi Restaurant at Nara. It's Muslim-friendly.

Thank you, Air Asia X!

Waiting for the train to Osaka from the airport. Very convenient!

Halal Ramen restaurant at the Kansai International Airport.
At Fushimi Inari. It's the symbol of Japan.

At Umeda Osaka. Bought some Pokemon merchandise for our lovelies back home.

Savouring Kobe beef. It was SO FREAKIN DELCIOUS!!!!

Old town of Kyoto. Higashiyama.

Apart from sight-seeing, of course I observed the people and their culture there. Travelling is not just about sight-seeing, it's also about learning, gaining knowledge, and expanding the mind about other cultures.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Towards an egalitarian household

As far as I could remember, when I was a teenager, during school holidays, I would be the one to sweep and mop the floor of the house because I was the only girl out of 3 siblings. I'm the eldest. My younger brothers and I don't have wide age gaps. It was to help out my mom because she's out working from morning until late afternoon. This did not bother me as this was to keep the house spotless. Who would want dirt to accumulate around the house, right? What bothered me was the mentality that only girls should clean the house, that it was our main duty for the household. This was coming from my parents. 

From then on, I always thought that this sort of mentality is unfair. That it should be changed. My younger brothers should learn how to sweep and mop the house too because they have hands and feet that can do so. Why would it be any different if they did the same chores? I suggested that my younger brothers should have a part too in doing house chores. But all I get was 'They don't need to. They don't know how. You're a girl, it's your job' and other similar statements. 

But I observed that my parents have progressed a bit from their previous mentality because my two younger brothers were being asked to do house chores now. Before this, it was all me, me, me. Although I'm aware of this progression, there is still a little bit of residue that got stuck in their heads regarding the role of women. 

My mom wasn't a housewife. She worked in an office which proves that she is of the generation that have allowed easy access for women to obtain education and go to work. My dad didn't prevent her from working either. So, why is the mentality still there? I'm guessing it was from their traditional upbringing.

I don't blame them. They're almost 60 now and when it comes to that age, the mentality is hard to change. But what I myself can do is to produce an egalitarian household when I have my own family someday. Regardless of gender, everyone gets to clean, cook, or do the dishes as well as learning to fix the plumbing (which is traditionally a man's job). I promise myself to not impose any notion of gender roles onto my future children. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Firdaus & Ireena pre-wedding and wedding day photoshoot!

These two were my classmates when we were in Form 5. Talk about high school sweethearts, huh?They asked me to do a pre-wedding photoshoot for them. These were taken in March 2016. As usual, I will share with you some personal favourites. Location: Masjid Likas, Kota Kinabalu & Sutera Harbour Resort. 

Also, I went to their wedding and did a little bit of photoshoot just for fun at Soluxe Hotel, Putatan before heading off to the wedding reception at the groom's residence. It was in May 2016.

p/s: I need to invest in an extended flash for my DSLR.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Book review: Educational Reform : Exploring the role of Malay literature component in students' thinking development

Although this book focuses on Malay literature component, as an English teacher, I think some of the points and arguments in this book are relevant and can be applied to the teaching of Literature in English. The main point that I would like to elaborate on is the type of approaches that teachers tend to apply when teaching the literature component. I believe every secondary school teacher who is teaching literature (be it in Malay or in English) is aware of their own methods of teaching literature. 

Many of our methods take in the form of the structural approach as this type of approach helps the students to score high marks in the literature section of the exam papers (both for BM and English subjects alike). However, as this book illustrates, this approach does not cater to the aesthetic aspects of literature. The students might score well, but they won’t have much appreciation for the literary component as all they do is memorize the points (characters, moral values, etc.) without much thinking process taking place. 

Therefore, an alternative approach that should be put more emphasis on than the aforementioned approach (not saying that the approach is not relevant to teaching literature) in terms of teaching method is the reader response approach. This approach is well suited to develop students’ appreciation for literature as well as it fulfills the aesthetic aspect of the literary works. It gives freedom for students to express their opinions by which it reflects their thinking process based on their own subjective evaluation of the required readings. By applying such a method, their thinking skills will develop with hopes to extend as well as to apply the skill to other disciplines which is the main aim for education. However, there are drawbacks to this as the format for the literature component exam papers do not focus on the reader response approach which is the reason for most teachers to not apply this approach in their teaching methodology. 

Perhaps there should be changes done in the literature component section so that maybe structural approach and reader response approach can be both represented in the exam questions. 

With all that said, I now have ideas on how I can make my literature lessons more interesting.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A week in London!

  So I finally visited the capital of the land of our former masters - London!

The obligatory picture for every London visitor. What kind of London visitor who wouldn't want to pose with Big Ben?
Fought off the jet lag and walked around London until my feet screamed of exhaustion.

This is the first place that my bro took me to - Chinatown! Had my first London meal a Chinese restaurant...which I could easily get in KK, Sabah. LOL. 
But I love one of the restaurants that serves roasted duck here. It's called 'Seasons'. They're known for their roasted duck. Exquisite!

Educational trip to The British Museum!

I'm not really into paintings but the entrance to The National Gallery is free! So why not pretend to be mesmerized by the works of famous painters that I have never even heard of eh? But seriously, the paintings are worth looking at.

Your world class loitering centre - Trafalgar Square!

At Hyde Park. It wasn't really a beautiful sight because of the dead (actually, they were hibernating) trees. My bro said the place would look beautiful during autumn as the trees will present themselves in different shades of colour.

Pointing at Westminister Abbey. Unfortunately the place was closed. My bro planned to bring me there for Christmas service but then we found out that we have to book tickets just to participate in the Christmas service,  Dumbfounded? Yes.

Now, the most exciting part for me during the trip! It was the literary visits! As a self-proclaimed lit geek, I was more excited to go to the literary places than to go to the aforementioned ones. It was high time to get my lit geek on.

Jane Austen House Museum (Chawton Cottage)

Among all of the places that I visited, I was most excited for this trip! We took an hour train ride from London to Alton and rode on a bus to Chawton. It's the house where she spent reviewing many of her famous works before she got them published.

I couldn't contain my excitement. *fangirl scream*

Inside Jane Austen's reading room. The shelf contains books by her or about her written in different languages.

A replica of her bed. If it was the authentic one, I would pose on her bed instead of just beside it while risking getting chased out. haha. 

Her kitchen!!! And I didn't know what I was actually doing. Too excited.

Her exact writing spot. *fangirl scream*

Charles Dickens' House Museum

Although I have only read 3 out of his many works (his novel, 'Hard Times' was my first read when I took the initiative to read English classics), when I saw this museum listed here, I wouldn't want to miss the opportunity to explore his one and only surviving house. The house is just a 10-minute walking distance from my bro's place. How convenient. I was mesmerized the Victorian style of decoration around the house. Such a cozy atmosphere.

To enter, please prepare 8 pounds sterling.

His dining table and a portrait of his face. And me.

According to one of the museum descriptions, he loved to take care of his appearance therefore he had many mirrors around his house. I think he'd selfie a lot (just like in the picture above albeit more stylish lol) in front of those mirrors if he were to be alive today.

Here's a mirror selfie of my bro and I inside Charles Dickens' bedroom! Very maroon-ish. I like.

Sherlock Holmes House Museum

I've read two of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work. Albeit a fictional character, the house was arranged and decorated to fit the descriptions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in many of his works.

Please prepare 15 pounds sterling to enter.
I was just trippin'. I don't even know how to smoke a pipe.


Holmes' reading table.

I forgot which part of the house this was.

With a Sherlock Holmes impersonator. Just look at the difference in our heights! I'm literally a dwarf.
Harry Potter Shop 

If I had the money, I'd buy everything that was in there!
But I only bought a grey Hogwarts t-shirt and a Quidditch snitch as a key chain for one of my friends.

I celebrated Christmas in London! Never in my life have I thought that I'd be celebrating my Christmas here. My bro and I went to a nearby church on Christmas morning. It was at St. George, Holborn. It was the church where Sylvia Plath (an American poet who had published one novel - 'The Bell Jar') and Ted Hughes (a British poet) got married in 1956. I consider this as one of my literary visits as well.

I know it's late, but MERRY CHRISTMAS!
My visit to London wouldn't be complete without visiting the bookstores here! You know my bookishness couldn't be suppressed. 

This one was in a bookstore at Charring Cross Roads. 

Here's a bookstore that bookish homophobes would resent.
It's at my bro's neighbourhood. Interesting titles. I bought 1 book.

My exploration of bookstores around London had resulted into this - 8 books on literary criticism, 3 books on gender studies, and 1 book on philosophy.
I'm not much of a traveler but my trip to London wouldn't have been turned into a reality without me finally earning for myself as well as my bro staying there for his studies. Because, you know, free accommodation. HAHA. He served as a tour guide for me as well. 

That's him.

This week has been the most memorable week for me in 2015! I hope to visit here again and visit other places that I had missed.