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.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Officially a teacher

On the night of August 18th, the teaching post for each and every fresh graduate teachers that were present during the orientation was announced. My intuition said that I would get posted to somewhere in Beluran. As my intuition had told me, I was correct. What was more of a coincidence was that the night before our teaching post was announced, I had Googled about the school the night before because the school got me intrigued when one of the presenters during the orientation explained a bit about the school being a cluster school despite it being in a rural area. There were a few blog posts that came out as the results in the search engine. The posts were written by the teacher that got posted to the school (FYI, the teacher is no longer teaching at the school). Apart from those blog entries, I think this blog post is going to be the newest blog entry that elaborates a newbie teacher’s experience regarding her stay at the school. Whoever is reading this, especially if you’ve stumbled upon this entry because you are going to be a teacher there, firstly, I hope you put aside your negative perceptions regarding the environment in rural schools. It’s better than what other people would usually expect – especially in SMK Terusan Sugut.

When I first got to know that I was going to be the new teacher in SMK Terusan Sugut, the only thought in my head was – I hope there’s Internet connection and phone coverage there. Of course I don’t expect to be able to stream movies or TV shows while I’m here. All the more reason for me to binge watch all of my favourite shows when I’m back in KK during the school holidays. Just as long as I could check my Twitter and Facebook posts from my friends and family as well as being able to contact them via any social media or normal mobile phone line, it’s already good enough for me. Fortunately, by switching to Maxis, I’m being able to do just that here. It’s just that the connection here is unstable and there are places where Internet connection and phone coverage aren’t able to get through. Since I am the warden and I’ve been given a place to stay at the warden’s house, I'm thankful that there is available phone coverage and Internet connection here.

The two hour boat ride to this place would make the place seem out of contact with civilization and other people to have pity toward anyone getting posted to this place. Like I said, it’s not as bad as you would have imagined it to be. All you need to do is to inculcate positivity, learning to adapt to the environment, and keep an open mind.

I deem myself as a suburban girl who is now working in a rural area. There is a big transition there.  Honestly speaking, although I’ve been living in a suburban area whilst having the privilege of experiencing the city life my whole life, I’ve had always wanted to get posted to a place like this and to experience living in such a place as this. I need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life once in a while. It’s no doubt that I’m going to miss the pleasures of being in the city, but hey, it’s not like there are no school holidays to look forward to.

For the time being, despite the hardship, it’s a pleasant place to live in – if you’re the type that prefers living in a greenish and calm environment. I know I do. Especially when I am with my books. However, there is no doubt that in a few years time, circumstances would have to make me transfer out from this place. But that’s going to be another story to be told in the future. 

I'm grateful to be posted here. Not to mention the big pay. But it's not about the money. It's about helping the students here in terms of teaching them English (with their level, it's going to be a HUGE challenge. But I've spotted a very few that aren't as weak as the others.) as well as educating them in any way that I can.

It welcomes me with an open heart.
Outsiders would often say that the environment of this place is like that of a resort. 

The 2 hour journey to Terusan Sugut.

Went for a picnic and fishing with the rest of the teachers the other day.