Tuesday, July 31, 2012


In order to market one's product/service in campus which is also occupied by international students, it is really important to advertise in English. Congratulations for at least trying to do that.

*NOTE: picture copied from my ex-student's FB wall but I did ask permission from him.

Monday, July 30, 2012


The ferry trip from the mainland going to Toronto Island on Lake Ontario.

The trip going back to the city.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; 
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, 
And evening full of the linnet's wings. 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day 
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; 
 While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

rom "The Lake Isle of Innisfree"
~ by Willaim Butler Yeats ~
Toronto City viewed from the ferry
image copied from Wikipedia:
Toronto Island seen from CN Tower

Toronto Island is an island which is located on Lake 
Ontario. To get there, you have to take a ferry which
leaves every 1/2 hour.

It was a Wednesday and there were not many people could
be seen. We went exploring on foot and were glad the 
weather was good.
Basically, people would come here either to relieve all the stress just by gazing into the space where the darker blue horizon of the lake water meets the brighter shade of the sky, or by sitting on the grass and rejuvenating while enjoying the peaceful surrounding.

 If you are a more active type of person, then you can always jog, swim, cycle or row your boat gently down the stream or around the island. The air was a bit cold so no one was seen swimming though.

 It reminds me of the poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" taught to the lower secondary students which aptly describes Toronto Island. (I am sure many of my students and ex-students still remember this poem.) Too bad, we are not reading it in school anymore, or else I would have an excellent visual aids for the class.


a lighthouse in the background
While we were walking, there would be natural 
cotton (in Malay language it is called "kekabu") flying
around in the air. I felt as if I was starring one of
the romance) movies where the actor/actress (usually
actress) would be running through small bits of flying
cotton which will then get stuck on the hair.

Instead of the sign 'DO NOT WALK ON THE GRASS', we found this very interesting board written with 'PLEASE WALK ON THE GRASS'. I am sure if the time is right, there would be people basking under the sun during summer time. By the way, there was a spot called "optional beach" (read: nude) but of course we did not go there. The air was cold on that day, remember?

on and off the ferry
It was a brief moment spent in an island on a lake but it had a lasting impression. I could still hear its lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore and I hear it in the deep heart's core.

Saturday, July 28, 2012



This was the book (first published in 1957) I finished reading two weeks ago. If you know the movie "Pretty Woman" starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, the book and the movie share a similar plot - a love story too good to be true. The main character, Robert, a British man who had worked in a rubber plantation in Malaya, decided to move to Hong Kong just to pursue his interest in painting. He then fell in love at first sight with the girl by the name of Suzie Wong, and became friend, a very good friend indeed. The book tells his adventure living in a rented room surrounded by service girls and one interesting thing is that, even though he knew the real lives of these girls, he treated each and everyone of them as his friend, a normal breathing human being.

There are a few parts in the novel which might suggest Robert and Suzie might not be together until the end. There was even one point when Suzie was about to die as she was infected with tuberculosis just after they got married. I would not hesitate to burn the book if that was going to happen. I have had enough of sad Malay dramas on television already. Lucky enough, the story ended in a happy note and that is how a love story should be like.

I got to know the existence of a movie adapted from the same book when I was in primary school. I saw it in a Lat's cartoon (the "Kampung Boy" if I am not mistaken, and Datuk Lat is a Malaysian prominent cartoonist, by the way) telling that the movie was once a big hit in town. I have asked for someone's help to download the movie from the internet and I hope it will be as good as the novel.

Friday, July 27, 2012


In the evening of the fourth day, Mr. Solleh took me on a tour around the campus of the University of Toronto. Founded in 1827, the university has quite a number of old and Gothic-designed structures which project the antique but sturdy facade.

One similar thing that I can see from the campuses of the universities abroad, such as in Canada, Australia and the UK, the area is not confined to any fences and gates where people are free to walk in and out any time of the day. The faculty buildings do nor necessarily have to be located in the main campus area - they can be found everywhere, even in the city centre. However, they have good security to get access into the premises where one has to use his/her smart card and the building must be equipped with CCTV cameras I suppose.

I wonder, if I were to be sent to study in Canada many years back, would I be sent here? From my reading, I found that the University of Toronto is not only ranked among the first top 25 universities in the world, but is also well-known for its literary criticism and communication theory. Other achievements include (too technical for me to rephrase) "... the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first practical electron microscope, the development of multi-touch technology, the identification of Cygnus X-1 as a black hole, and the theory of NP completeness." (from Wikipedia)

And that wrapped up my educational trip abroad this time and like what Woody Allen once said, "I've never been an intellectual but I have this look".

Thursday, July 26, 2012


 Niagara Falls seen from different perspectives:




Wednesday, July 25, 2012


the entrance
people in yellow ponchos
reminded me of  DiGi mascot
The third pit stop of the package was called "The Journey Behind the Falls". Upon passing through the entrance, you would get to stand to the nearest point of the waterfall. I don't think you would like to get yourself drenched wet and it was quite scary to see the volume of water cascading from the top at such high velocity.

You could already feel the movement of the strong fall from afar. The mist and the splashing water was enough to make you feel as if you were under a drizzling rain but still the poncho-clad people would not miss the opportunity to admire the awesome view as well as to take pictures of the breathtaking scenery.

For one thing, I thanked God for the sunny day which had made our movement from one checkpoint to the other much easier. Other than that, the pictures taken with my compact digital camera had turned out quite well. Throughout my stay in Toronto, the days were mostly cloudy with intermittent rain but on that day, the weather was fine with bright and blue sky throughout the visit.

The main attraction of "the Journey behind the Fall" was of course walking BEHIND the waterfall, hence the name. There were two tunnels built under the river and these tunnels would lead people right behind two openings behind the waterfall. Another unforgettable moment which again reminded me of the adventure stories written by Enid Blyton that I used to read when I was in school. I would describe the feeling of standing there motionless,watching the waterfall as: dark in the inside, bright at the outside. A video of this journey will be posted in the next entry.

People were flocking around the area to get the best place either just to watch the picturesque scenery or to take photographs. And they did not mind getting slightly wet at all, even without the ponchos on.

somewhere over the rainbow

At this spot, we were able to observe the waterfall from another angle - the part where the river was flowing towards the end of its route and started to form the cascade. And this was the moment when I got to see a rainbow forming on top of the water and that would be the nearest spot to see a rainbow ever. And no, I could not see any pot of gold where the rainbow started to form.

Another attraction of the visit was the 4-D movie show entitled "Niagara's Fury: The Creation of the Falls" where the viewers were told a 20-minute story of how the falls were formed when the glacier ice melted thousands of years ago and to its present physical state. This was the first time I watched a movie standing up while holding to a hand rail. There were pictures and sounds surrounding the theatre, with water splashing and snow falling from the sky and the ground moving and vibrating underneath.

We spent about six hours there but it was one of the most incredible things that I have ever experienced. I will post more videos of the Niagara Falls after this. Don't forget to check it out later.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012




You can hear the noises from the cascading waterfalls, the flying birds and the excited people on board of the boat, all blended into one. Recording video at this moment was not an easy task as the boat was not steady and the splashing water might not be good to the camera. To be able not to fall was already an achievement.



This one was a more relaxed thing to do except the haunting thought of what might happen if one fell into the running stream. Too much action movies, perhaps.

Monday, July 23, 2012


5th June [4th day] ~ If you are visiting Toronto, or the north-east of the USA, your visit will not be complete without seeing the Niagara Falls, up close and personal. At the end of my stay there, when Mr. Solleh asked me, which place had been the most significant one, without hesitation I responded: the Niagara Falls. You can get museums or zoos, or even China Town in other places, but this is one of the most spectacular views of nature, live.

getting excited to no end
The first thing that we had to do was to get the pass which would allow us to get access to four places/activities (but the tickets had been bought online in advance). The first one was "the Maid of the Mist". People were ushered on a big boat that would set sail to the nearest point of the waterfall possible. Other than watching the streaming waterfalls REALLY up close, we could feel the water splashing on our faces and poncho-covered bodies. At the same time, we had to balance ourselves on the rocking boat and there was nothing to hold on to as we did not stand near the railing by the boat side. For once, I was feeling like Leornado deCaprio on Titanic.
on land and still dry
getting wet and wild
The Niagara Falls actually comprise of three major waterfalls. The ones I saw were the bigger Horseshoe Fall which belongs to Canada while the smaller one, the American Fall, lies in the American territory. The boat trip was a short one, thank God for that, but it was one of the unforgettable moments of my life so far.

The next activity was the Whitewater Board-walk where people just walked by the fast stream. However, to go downwards to the river bank, we had to be in a long queue. There was only one lift operating and we had to take turns going up and down.

Everybody was there to admire the fast current as well as the thunderous sounds made by the water. If someone falls into the stream, I guess the chance of surviving in almost zero unless he or she is really lucky. Scary thought...

posing by the stream


There will be video recordings of the waterfalls posted later. Don't forget to come back for more.