Sunday, September 28, 2008

Time Flies ... When you least expect it

It's 9.20am and we're suppose to go be doing some maintenance work on the house i.e. change the light bulb on the stairway.

As I for help on the chores I decided to do some maintenance work on the computer i.e. clean out old junk! I came upon some "old photos" of my nephews and niece who are staying in Sandakan at the moment and reminisced the outrageous things they did and said at the time the photos were taken. Here's Adam at 3 years eating his birthday cake, and now at 6 years old at my cousin's wedding in June, 2008:Three years ago Adam, Avie and Anne Anne celebrated their birthdays togther. Adam was 3 years old while Avie and Anne Anne were celebrating their 2nd birthday. Because I was just getting acquainted with my camera at the time, I did not get a clear photo of Anne Anne (oops!) -I'll put a posting on Anne Anne next time. Anyway, here's Avie who's photos were taken at the exact same time as Adam above:At their joint birthday party, the three of them stood in front of their individual cakes. They had a bit of a sharing issue - each wanted their own cake so we got them one each. As if that wasn't enough, each were just staring at their cakes, comparing who had the more decorated. I remember the moment they blew out the candles, Adam the greedy one, snatched one of the girl's ornament on her cake, and Avie grabbed a cherry from someone else's cake. Anne Anne being a bit blurr just stared at the two of them!

Here's Adam & Avie's little brother (Abel) just 1 year ago in the picture on the left, then now at 1 year 4 months in his new army suit. Again, Adam is so jealous of this army suit!The kids just crack me up sometimes with their crazy antics. At my cousin's wedding when a couple of these photos were shot - at what is suppose to be a happy, and solemn affair- Adam, overdid the former. Here's the video shot which I accidentally took (I was suppose to take his picture, but put the setting to Video instead).

Happy Adam!

Better go back to filtering my junk before more time flies by. I wonder what else I'll find....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Out of Ferocity Comes Curiosity

I got called by my bank earlier this week because I was late in making a payment for my credit card (Gasp! Shock! Horror! ...Yeah right?! As if none of you got called like this before). Seriously though, I was indeed called.

I appreciate the call to remind me to make payments but what I do not appreciate is the callers mediocre attempt to speak to me in English. Heres how the call went:

Bank Rep: Good afternoon. May I speak to MR Angeline? (Excuse me, if you have my number, name and amount payable, I’m sure it’s stated that I’m a Ms somewhere there. When did Angeline become a guy’s name?)

Me: This is MS Angeline here.

Bank Rep: Oh ya, Ms. Apa ni, berkenaan dengan payment kad kredit you ni. Belum bayar lagi.

Me: Sorry, could you repeat that?

Bank Rep: Oh ya, nilah. Your kad kredit, overdue ya miss. Min paymentnya RM , kalau nak bayar penuh RM (come on, you didnt think I was going to reveal the amount?!) Pay tomorrow, can or not?

Me: Thank you for the reminder. Im sorry Im late this time. However, I would not be able to pay tomorrow. Ill pay by the end of this week.

Bank Rep: Oh ya ke? So, macam mana ni ya. Due sudah payment you on 26th ni. Tomorrow tak dapat ke. So when ah?

Me: Like I said, Ill make the payment this week.

Bank Rep: Oh, ok lah. Minggu ni ya. Tak pa lah. [Tuk, hang up!]

Me: What the *!&#@%? Cant you even say Thank you or Good bye?

Obviously this lady representing my bank could understand English. She just doesnt want to speak in English so much. And shes rude. Now, I dont swear a lot, and certainly not in public. But when I get mad, I do!

I read in a report recently that 90% of primary school teachers in the northern state of Peninsular Malaysia are still teaching Math and Science using BM or Mandarin as the medium of instruction instead of English like they’re supposed to. They cite the reason is that their students dont understand English, and it therefore takes them longer time to translate if they were to teach in English.

The teachers surveyed said that theyre not against the raising of the standard of English among students, but it shouldnt be done through Math and Science. It should be done in English language subject only. Come on, yes these teachers are not against raising the standard of English usage/proficiency, but theyre not supporting it either with them still teaching in Malay or Mandarin.

  • More than 50% of the teachers in the study conducted admitted that they were not fluent in English so therefore they had challenges understanding terms in English. (Get a bilingual/trilingual dictionary! Ever heard of the Internet?)
  • About 30% of these teachers say that they have problems in grammar and pronunciation. (Go learn. How did they get employed as teachers if their primary school level grammar and pronunciation is a problem?)
  • 40% of the primary school teachers surveyed teaching these subjects arent able to give precise and clear explanations in English.
  • 75% of these primary school teachers say that they are confident in teaching the subjects in English.

Hello, am I missing out on something here?! 60% of these teachers say they cannot deliver it very well, and more than 50% also said they cannot understand the terms. Only 10% are teaching Math and Science (primary school level) in English even though 75% of all the teachers surveyed are confident to deliver these subjects in English? So why arent these 75% of primary school teachers teaching Math and Science in English if theyre so confident?

This year, the Education Ministry is considering all factors in deciding whether the Go English policy will be continued. Come on, the Education Ministry cant be so blind in not knowing the root cause of why the level of English in Malaysia is so bad. Wake up, its the implementers - the teachers. This questions the effectiveness of the teacher training colleges in producing teachers capable of teaching students Math and Science in English. Could it be that there is something lacking in the selection procedure on teachers who are capable of teaching Math and Science using the current syllabus? Maybe, it is the pure ignorance of the teachers in implementing this policy.

Its been 6 years since the Go English policy was put into effect. This mean that those who took UPSR earlier this month, are taking PMR next month, and SPM in November will be subjected to the Math and Science papers in English. 6 years has gone by for the teachers to learn the terms, find ways and means to teach their students in English in a way that the students can understand. 6 years is a long time. One can earn a university degree and Master degree in that time. I'm curious to know, why couldnt more teachers learn Math and Science in English and teach the students in English by now?

Whatever the reason, please dont put the blame on the students on their lack of proficiency in English. You know the students' English isn't so great, so what are you going to do about it? The Education Ministry has to put more effort in ensuring that the Go English policy is fully implemented. Otherwise, 10 years from now (assuming I’m still around), when I forget to pay my credit card bill on time, I’ll get another call from my eager bank representative (fresh out of university) saying, Ni, Mr Angeline, kad kredit you. Overdue lah.”

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Darn IT

So here we are at KKIA on the way to Hong Kong. Having settled ourselves down at the departure lounge I decided to update my blog for my friends out there. I took quite a number of pics as some have not gone to the new KKIA terminal.

Here I was with our new Aspire One and was so excited that we've got wireless here. Then I thought of putting in the new airport pics which I took with my camera just now. I whipped out the memory card from the camera, and inserted it into the Aspire One's card reader. I wait... I wait.... I wait. Nothing. Checked on my card in the card reader slot.... IT'S STUCK!!!!Someone was not impressed saying "Now we can't take pictures!". Ishk! That kind of remark is not helping the situation at all!

Come on, we'll sort it out when we get to Hong Kong:
1. Use my tweezer which has been checked in because apparently this is a possible murder weapon on board
2. Use screw driver to open up the card reader
3. Go to an IT store in Hong Kong and ask them to help to get the card out
4. Get a new memory card for the camera la

F@%$#!@ Darn IT!

What a start to a holiday?!