Sunday, June 30, 2013


This was the cultural show that we watched in Suzhou. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 29, 2013


The very last spot we were taken to was a water village but it was more like a cultural village as there seemed to be no one residing there. I didn't even know the name of that place, actually. Despite my effort to google for information, I failed. All the places in Suzhou looked just the same to me on the web.

We first went to watch a cultural performance where a man and a woman were singing a traditional Chinese song while playing string instruments.

After that we just walked around the place and took pictures. Actually we did no get our lunch as the Muslim eating stall we had gone to earlier was under renovation, so we actually were quite tired and hungry.

Then it started to rain. So we went to the shops selling locally made souvenirs to get shelter. In the shops, sometimes there were people doing demonstration on how some work of arts was produced.

catch of the day - an embroidered painting

Finally, we went on another boat ride on the canals which then took us to the waiting bus by the roadside. When I was on the boat, I had a short "conversation" with a friendly man. After telling him that I was from Malaysia, he mentioned and repeated "MAHATHIR" and that showed how our leader has become a prominent figure among the locals.

That was the end of our short trip to the small town of Suzhou. Everything was a contrast to what we had seen in the metropolitan city of Shanghai but I liked it.


24-28th June ~ When I thought the first course was the last one, suddenly there was a letter from Institut Aminuddin Baki (IAB) inviting me to attend the intermediate Arabic language course which should be the continuation of the one I had attended two years earlier. The same place was chosen again: Genting Highlands; and I was there a month ago but for a different reason.

This time, there were only eleven participants - the least number of people participating in a course, ever. There were only three people who came from the first batch and the rest were from other cohorts. 

our lecturers

The session was basically divided into two: the Arabic Language Curriculum and learning the Arabic Language itself. For the first part, participants were briefed on issues like class observation, school-based assessment (PBS), constructing module for classroom, and innovative ways of language teaching. The more challenging part for people who have very little background of Arabic language, like me, would be learning the grammar of the Arabic language. I must say, for foreign language learners, it is not an easy language to learn - without hard work and determination.

my classmates

group activity
After five long days, it was time to leave the institute. We had a short closing ceremony at the end of the class so as to thank the organizer and lecturers for all the input given throughout the course. We tried to conduct the session in Arabic, actually by reading the scripts that had been prepared earlier. Luckily there were other participants who were real good in the language and were willing to help.

the master of ceremony, prayer reciter and
group representative delivering a speech

speeches from the lecturers

the (few people in the) audience

prize-giving session

group photo in the classroom

the ultimate group photo

I guess I have to put more effort and discipline to learn the Arabic language, the language of the holy Koran. 

 [Man Jadda Wa Jada]
translate: determination is the key to success

Friday, June 28, 2013


The book was originally written in Arabic by an Egyptian writer. It contains five chapters that are named after the main characters of the separate stories: Adham, Gabal, Rifaa, Qassem and Arafa. These people were actually related to one another except that they were of different generations. The similarity is that they all lived in the alley full of gangsters, and these people had the hearts of gold and were the heroes who had fought for justice and equality for the community who lived in fear and poverty. Then, people became happy and lived a peaceful life. Nevertheless, peace could not last long as the newer generation would then craze for power and money. Everything reverted the way it used to be when the rich and powerful controlled and oppressed the weak and poor. Gangsters collected money and beat the unlucky ones who refused to pay or whom might become a threat to them like animals.

I have never imagined how people (at that era) could be so cruel and inhumane. After reading this book, I think we should always be thankful for the life we have today. At least, when we fight, we do not throw stones at each other and bleed to death.

A different culture from a different place, it is a story worth reading.

Monday, June 24, 2013


On the 22nd June 1993, 20 years ago. I went to report at SMK Gelang Patah, Johor Bahru, and was officially called "Cikgu" (teacher), up until now. And I am still surviving.

These are just a few pictures of my very early year of service in that school. Long, long time ago, compact digital camera was not invented yet, so there are not many photographs that I can find. 

I have vague memories of this time and sadly, I also have lost contact with all my students there. (I can't even remember their names.) One possible reason could be I was transferred to a brand new school, SMK Taman Universiti, the year after and as modern inventions, like internet and mobile phone, had not yet existed, so everything ended just like that. I should start searching for them on Facebook once I could remember a few names.

the form teacher of 3 Pluto 1993

the librarians

English Language Society - with Puan Sumiati
who is now with me in SMK Taman Universiti

a visit to the Johor Royal Palace

a camping trip with Kelab Kembara
So far, I am quite happy with my life as a teacher. I had the intention of venturing into another career path during the earlier days, but I think I still can cope with what I am doing now. Although there are more challenges and new things to learn and implement, I am not planning to go anywhere else, for the time being (as if I have many other choices).

To all my friends from UPM's TESL class of 1993 who are still stuck in school, happy 20th teaching anniversary. There's still a long way to go *sigh* but I know, we will always try to be the best teachers for our students.

"I am a teacher and teaching is no longer a profession. It is my life."

Saturday, June 22, 2013


When I thought my duty as judge as public speaking competition was over, a letter arrived requiring me to be at The Zone Johor Bahru. Fortunately, my sparring partner, Puan Jamiah Zainal was also assigned with the same task so it was not that bad.

The event was organized by the Department of Information in their effort to promote ASEAN to the public. There were two competitions; the other one was Story-telling for primary schools and another set of judges were appointed for that group.

the venue of the competition - at the shopping mall

the master of ceremony

the cute participants of story-telling competition

the distinguished panel of judges
There was another judge, who is not a teacher, from a department of one of the ministries, Mr. Azri. But we worked well together. There was no impromptu section so everything was done, including the story-telling, within 2 hours. And it was not difficult to find outstanding public speakers to be chosen as the winners.

During the short break, we had singing performance by Pentarama group which was quite entertaining. Some people could really sing. People passing by that area must have thought we were the judges of a singing competition instead.

And before the names of the winners were announced, a pair of guests artists, Tasha Manshahar and Syed Shamim made their appearance. I do not know of their existence in the local music industry (because I seldom listen to Malay songs) but they are, I must say, very talented and have great vocals. And the audience which comprised mainly of teens and school students sang along and went crazy.

the prize-giving ceremony

the exhibition booth

the door gift for the judges
So the afternoon was not bad after all even though I had to work extra hours. I am now searching for Tasya and Syed Shamim on Youtube.