Archive for April, 2010


What’s with ICT in Education?

As part of the evaluation, another assignment given to us by Cik Aidah is a personal opinion piece on ICT in education.

Well, here goes my piece (sorry, rather random and easy-flow without much planning :P) which is loosely based on the following video:

And also from a very informative video of a talk he gave:

This past semester, I took the Educational Technology subject under Pn. Rosseni Din with Major Jasmy as my tutor. In the course we learned to familiarize ourselves with several media that can be used in the classroom, one of which is the use of videos and WordPress blogs.

During one of the lectures – I remember it was by Pn. Rosseni – she showed us a video done by Michael Wesch who is the Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the Kansas State University who is rather popular on YouTube for his controversial and thought-provoking videos about the use of technology.

The video that was shown to us actually questioned the educational institutions we are so proud of. In his video he told of how he had conducted a simple raise-your-hands survey with his students with these questions:

1) He asked them to raise their hands if they did not like school. More than HALF raised their hands.

2) He asked them to raise their hands if they did not like learning. NONE raised their hands.

The conclusion that he came up with was a tragic situation where young adults like those who were in his class, and not unlike those in our country as well, wanted to learn but were unhappy with the educational institutions they were in.

This is really upsetting because as educational institutions, learning as well as instilling the love for learning in students, regardless of the topic, field or area is of the utmost importance. However, based on the simple survey done, what can be said of our educational institutions is its failure to do what it is supposed to do ! >.<

What is the cause for educational institutions failing to facilitate learning? What is the main problem?

When Michael Wesch asked students to make a statement about their learning and education, here were some things that came up:

“I facebook through most of my classes.”

“I bring my laptop to class but I’m not working on class stuff.”

“I buy hundred dollar textbooks that I never open.”

“(My neighbour) paid for class but never comes.”

“I complete 49% of the readings assigned to me – only 26% relevant to life.”

According to Michael Wesch, one statement keeps coming up:

They say that,

“Some students are just not cut out for school.”

But what he said to elaborate that really struck me. If school is for learning, when you say “Some students are not cut out for school,” you are basically saying that, “Some students are not cut our for learning.” Which is absolutely absurd !

Every student has potential and the capacity to learn. Why is it that someone has to be a certain “mould” in order to fit into school and therefore, learning?

Which is further proof that there is something seriously wrong with our education system !

Yet, what can we do, as future teachers to change this? To change the way students view school and learning?

Maybe, if we incorporate things that students are interested in, that are real and relevant in their lives, into the learning process, into the education system in schools itself, students will be more motivated to learn, to even want to go to school. πŸ™‚

And what may be these “things” that students are interested in, that are “real” and “relevant” to their lives?

Facebook. Flickr. Photobucket. DailyMotion. YouTube. Twitter. WordPress. Blogspot. Wikipedia.

If teachers could incorporate these Web 2.0 applications and the internet and make it part of the learning, we may just witness a revamping of the education system and learning !

Some ways we can do so:

1) Using WordPress or Blogspot blogs as a platform for students’ learning: Students may be able to download lecture notes and slides, additional reading material, links to websites with further information about a topic, discuss and challenge one another’s opinions through commenting, view videos and photos that are related to the topic of learning.

2) Image sharing sites like Flickr and Photobucket can be used to link students to pictures and photos that can be visual aids to what they are learning about.

3) YouTube and Dailymotion can link students to educational videos for further learning and as materials for discussion as well.

4) Wikipedia is a collaborative information sharing site whereby the collective intelligence is better than one single person. Draw students’ attention to the discussion tab on the main Wikipedia webpage to teach students to always critically evaluate information before accepting it as fact. Such thinking skills leads to higher level thinking.

Although I have yet to see this implemented in real life, whether it is really practical or otherwise, or whether I will be able to carry this out more than just in theory, I believe that it is worth a shot in trying.

Therefore, it is clear that a technologically-advanced era calls for a change in the approach we take to teaching and learning. It is illogical to think that the old ways will continue to be relevant to our current students’ lives and interest.

Teaching is more than just disseminating information. Our responsibility as teachers is to instill the love for learning as well as equip our students with the necessary skills for them to survive in the future. Implementing the use of ICT in the teaching and learning process, incorporating technological applications and resources into education may serve to achieve both these aims.

Hence, with these revelations (after watching the video) I am strongly convicted of the benefits of incorporating ICT into the teaching and learning process.

I hope that I, being new to this as well, will be able to do so for the benefit of my students, learning along the way πŸ™‚

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What’s a MAP?

The tables and chairs for the night

What is a MAP?

No, I do not mean the peta, or the “visual representation of an area – a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, regions and themes.” (Wikipedia)

What I mean is:

MALAM ANUGERAH PELAJAR (MAP) XIII: 1Malaysia

Ahhhhhh, you say now. Well, what is it? would be your next question.

Malam Anugerah Pelajar (MAP) is Tun Hussein Onn residential college’s annual dinner which was held on the 17th of March 2010, Wednesday (exactly a week after NTLP XIII – now you see how busy I was in March??), DECTAR main hall, at 8.30pm. It is not just a dinner, but also an award-giving ceremony ala The Oscars, as its name suggests. During the dinner, awards are given out for many different categories – Best Academic for Science (Male), Best Academic Arts (Female), Best Sports (Individual) etc.

This year’s theme was 1Malaysia. So as a dress code, we were supposed to wear national costumes or traditional attire. I found this theme better than last year’s (Corporate: Red, Black and White).

The red carpet-way πŸ™‚

Last year, I was involved in the Performance section as part of the choir. But this year, I joined in the committee for the evaluation of my co-curriculum subject as well. I was (again) under the Protocol Secretariat as the Assistant Treasurer. Which was rather ironic since throughout the event I did not deal with anything monetary matters at all.

However, being under Protocol, there was a lot to be done. My Head of Protocol, Lim May Lee, was overburdened with work. And so, for this event, I was at least better informed of what to do (compared to MKK) and was therefore, more involved in Protocol work.

Last semester we were already busy trying to earn funds for the event by selling burgers, helping the Marketing Secretariat. We all cramped together in one of the FELO’s room, cooking delicious-smelling burgers (just like the Prosperity Burgers at McD !!) with hair that smelt exactly like the burgers themselves ! >.<

This semester, Protocol of course, is in charge of securing the perasmi for the event. At first we tried to get in contact with the Pengerusi Besar FELDA, Tan Sri Yusof Noor, who apparently was the ex-Deputy Vice Chancellor of UKM, and also a PALAPES – which was rather fitting since our Tun Hussein Onn college (KTHO) was home to all the PALAPES students of UKM !

However, after weeks of trying, making frantic, desperate calls to the FELDA office, the personal assistant to Tan Sri told us that she was sorry, but she could not help us. Tan Sri would not be able to be our perasmi for the night. We were devastated. Our Principal, Kapt. Dr. Azahan was hoping very much that we would be able to get Tan Sri to attend and officiate our humble ceremony. Unfortunately, it was not to be. 😦

As back-up, I drafted and then finally sent a letter of invitation to the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs of UKM, Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mohamad Abdul Razak to be our college dinner’sΒ perasmi. In addition, I sent letters of invitation to the three other Deputy Vice Chancellors, Prof. Ir. Dr. Hassan Basri, Prof. Dr. Rahmah Mohamed and Prof. Dr. Saran Kaur Gill. But before I could, I had to ensure that each letter was signed by our Kapt. Dr. Azahan.

As follow-up I went to the offices of all the Deputy Vice Chancellors in the Chancelory to confirm the attendance of the Deputy Vice Chancellors. Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mohamad Abdul Razak very generously agreed to be the perasmi for our MAP XIII. However, the other three Deputy Vice Chancellors were unable to make it.

The tables decorated with balloons the colours of our Malaysian flag ! πŸ˜›

The several times I went to the Chancellory (when I sent the letters of invitation and to confirm the Deputy Vice Chancellors’ attendance) I was pleasantly surprised. Past experiences dealing with administration offices have not been very good. However, even the security at the entrance of the office was very polite and friendly. What more the personal assistants for each of the Deputy Vice Chancellors ! They were very friendly and made me feel welcome πŸ™‚ So much so that the second time I needed to go to the Chancellory, I was actually looking forward to it πŸ˜›

Then I prepared the list of names of the staff and FELOs of KTHO for the first rehearsal on the 14th (Sunday). After obtaining that, I prepared the invitation cards for all the FELOs and staff members of KTHO. Then I delivered the invitation cards personally to each one of them.

Then I contacted them for the follow-up to confirm the attendance of the staff members as well as the FELOs.

I was also given the responsibility to prepare the salutations for the night. Before this, I had no idea what a salutation was. For this event, I learned that a salutation is basically a piece of paper that listed the names of all the VIPs that are to be mentioned at the beginning of the speech, including their titles. This piece of paper is to be pasted on the rostrum on the stage for the reference of whoever is giving the speech.

Therefore, I had to do several revisions of the list, printing and reprinting, until the confirmed list was obtained on the day of the event itself. Then I pasted it onto the rostrum all ready for the big night πŸ™‚

Finally, finally, after all the stress, the Big Night was here.

Me in my orange Punjabi suit πŸ™‚

We rushed back to our rooms only with enough time to shower and change before we had to be down in DECTAR to be on standby for the event. The hall was by then decorated very simply and elegantly for the dinner. Everything looked nice and it felt nice to have been a part of the committee that was responsible for this.

All the committee members had dinner earlier before the event started because, once it did, we would be running around making sure everything is going smoothly so we would definitely not be able to sit down and chat and eat. >.<

We were nervous, afraid that something might go wrong during the event.

Nevertheless, we tried to enjoy ourselves watching the entire event as it unfolded before us, and the evening went well. πŸ™‚

It was time for the award-giving ceremony. I was on standby to give cues to the FELOs and JAKSA who were supposed to go up on stage next to announce the candidates.

Suddenly, I heard my name being called. I looked up at the screen…and there was my hideous face ! ARGHHHH

Apparently, I was nominated for the award of Β Best Academic for the Arts (Female) !

And I won πŸ˜›

My trophy ! Anugerah Akademik Kategori Sastera (Perempuan)

Wow. Imagine how surprised I was ! I had sent in my resume the week before with my CGPA of 3.80. I guess that was the best in the college ! πŸ™‚ Yay !!!

The rest of the event passed by smoothly. There was not much work left for us to do except for after the event when all the committee members were required to stay back and clear up the hall. But before that, En. Rahim (our college FELO and a PALAPES) gave us a talk. He told us that we all did a great job in pulling this off. Although it was not perfect, we had all given our best to make MAP XIII a success !

So, we were all hyped up and happy when we started clearing the tables and chairs πŸ™‚

Phew. It was 1.00am by the time we got back to our rooms. It was tiring.

Our whole committee of MAP XIII 2010 !!

Although there were many problems throughout the planning and implementation stage, I have certainly learned a lot as a committee member for MAP XIII. I am actually glad that it is over, such a relief. Just in time for Study Week. πŸ™‚

I’ll leave you with one crazy photo πŸ™‚

Posing like models? XD Crazehhh times πŸ™‚

As part of my co-curriculum evaluation assignment, I have to write a report of what I have been involved in during the planning and preparation of MAP XIII. So I have attached it here, if you are interested to read in further detail πŸ™‚ (However, it is in Bahasa Melayu). Happy reading !

Laporan Ko-K

Alice In Wonderland

I heart New Tune !

Another programme I was involved in was:

NEW TUNE LIVE PERFORMANCE XIII: Sparks of Melody

which was held on the 10th of March 2010 (exactly a week after Choir Concert), Wednesday, DECTAR main hall, at 7.30pm.

This was an even crazier programme. My first solo live performance. (My solo debut was for Mewah Idol in F5 – but this was a live performance, with live music !)

The backdrop for NTLP XIII: Sparks of Melody

It all began when I first saw New Tune when they held an introductory performance for the benefit of the first-years in Keris Mas (KKM) last semester. The performance was actually to entice the first-years to join New Tune Β – a Chinese society under Persatuan Mahasiswa UKM – but instead….I was hooked.

New Tune is an association of students whereby it acts as a platform for students to showcase their talent in every area – composing songs, writing lyrics, arranging music, singing, playing the keyboard, electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, percussion, background singing, dancing etc.

The best part about New Tune is that, every single song we perform is 100% original – composed, written and sung by our very own. You will never hear any of these songs elsewhere – unless some producer picks it up and decides to make it famous ! πŸ˜›

But yes, that was what drew me to New Tune. A talented bunch of students who also share a love for music.

I auditioned to be a vocalist last semester, interested in being a part of this talented group of people, if just for the experience. πŸ™‚

And I made it through after several rounds of auditions. First round was a face-to-face audition where you had to sing any song you liked for them. I sang Crazier by Taylor Swift πŸ™‚ After getting through that, what they did was give you a demo of a person singing the song, and you were supposed to sing and record your version of the song and send it back to them. Passing that, you would officially be one of the vocalists for the performance ! πŸ˜›

However, the song that I was to sing at the performance was not up to me. They would choose the song for me. Unfortunately, the song they gave me was a song that I did not personally like. The beat and the melody was strange, and the lyrics made no sense to me.

Yes, it was a Chinese song. Which is ironic, because I am not Chinese-educated, and cannot speak Mandarin. >.< To sing in Mandarin would require me to seek the help of my room mate in translating the lyrics, and then memorizing the lyrics from its romanized version. Which is more difficult, in the sense that you do not understand what you are singing and memorizing. But it was part of the challenge, one that I had expected (New Tune being a Chinese association and all) and am willing to rise to the challenge ! πŸ™‚

Me and Fish

Practice sessions were heavy. At the beginning, there was not much for me to do. My arranger, Yun Xin (whom we affectionately call Fish) had yet to arrange the music for the song. You see, the demo of the song came with nothing but the melody. There was no music – no keyboard, no drums, no guitar. Everything had to be done from scratch – which is the job of the Arranger. She would have to listen and try to get the “feel” of the song, and come up with the music – what the keyboards will play and when, what should the guitar play, what kind of beat the drums should play, how the background singers should sing.

In other words, everything else besides the singing (which is where I come in).

I basically got to know my musicians: Kai Yuan, Shereen, Arif (an Indonesian who knew even less Mandarin than me !), Witter, Vincent, Hooi Ling and Joanne, during the first few practices when I was pretty much relaxed.

Then full rehearsals started. That was the first time I was meeting all the rest of the vocalists and musicians for the other songs for the performance. And boy, did they mean serious business. >.<

There were seniors there who took charge of the entire rehearsal and they were extremely strict. They took the rehearsals very seriously, asking us to treat them like they were the actual event itself. And this was several weeks before the actual event (Choir Concert in comparison to New Tune, was waaayyyy more relaxed !) !

I was feeling really nervous. It was scary, singing a song you were not really sure of, that you did not really like, in front of people who looked like they would yell at you should you make a mistake, and people you do not really know. Terrifying. >.<

But with every practice, with every rehearsal, I gained more confidence, and the song I was singing began to take shape. It began to have its own unique sound and quality, had its own “feel” and mood, and an attitude to go with it.

Me in my Alice in Wonderland dress looking wistful~ πŸ˜›

When deciding on my costume, my arranger turned to me and said,

“Lisa, do you have anything that looks like Alice in Wonderland?”

HUH? Alice in Wonderland? Where on earth was I going to find something like that?

After being clueless for a couple of weeks, I finally managed to find something absolutely perfect ! My cousin sister had done a can-can dance performance a few years back and still had her costume with her. It was bright red with frills underneath the skirt to make the dress “poofy” and it was such a thrill to twirl around in ! It was very princess-y and cute-sy which was exactly what they song needed πŸ˜›

Practice sessions continued to be grueling. Every week, we met at least 3 times outside of UKM in our little band room that had no air-conditioning, not even a ceiling fan. We sweat bullets every time we go there, almost died of the heat. Yet, all of us (there were almost 60 of us including dancers) all cramped in that little room upstairs and we went through the whole programme from beginning to end. During weekday practices we each worked on our individual songs as vocalists. The most tense were the musicians, some of whom had to play for 7 different songs !!

After every rehearsal, we had a feedback session where we gave comments (positive and negative) for each song, all with the aim of improving each other’s performance. This, was what I feared the most every rehearsal. Because, every time I went up, I received the same comments: “Pronunciation.” “Performance.” These were my two biggest weaknesses.

Pronunciation was expected, since I was not Chinese-educated. They complained that I had an “English” slang when speaking Mandarin. I can hardly be blamed, can I? I did not choose a Chinese song for myself ! >.< But I worked on it anyway, wanting to do the best I could. Performance-wise, I needed more help. I was not used to singing as a solo live performance. In choir, I did not need to perform. All I needed was to stand properly and project my voice from within. In a live performance, I was definitely required to do more than just stand there and sing. The song, being what it is, needed me to be cute-sy and frisky, jumping and dancing around on stage – which I was not used to.

I worked on it every day. When my room mate was not around, I changed into my costume and practiced. I practiced very hard, I knew. I felt this pressure to do well. How could I mess up when the musicians had worked so hard to play well for me? How can I not give my best when my arranger, Fish, has done so much to make the song what it is now? How can I make mistakes when the composer of the song wants it to be the best??

On the night of, my family came to the performance to watch that night, to give me moral support (especially since I was singing in Mandarin – a historical moment !) πŸ˜›

All of us in New Tune were actually exhausted from lack of sleep, physical fatigue, mental tiredness. We had been up practicing sometimes even till 1.00 am in the morning for rehearsals. Some of us have even lost our voices due to the strain, myself included. Even up till the night of the event, my voice had not returned to its original state. It was husky and hoarse, which somehow worked well for the song πŸ™‚

My song is the last song of the night. Which is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I have a longer time to lose my nerves before I get out there to sing. A curse because the anticipation of waiting is worse than the actual performance itself ! =.= Plus, more importantly, I am pressured to do even better than everyone else because I will be the lasting impression on the audience before they leave for the night ! >.<

Me with the dancers ! They were reeaaalllyyyy good !!

Finally, after such a long wait, it was my turn. The dancers stood behind me on the stage. The musicians waited in the darkness and the silence.

All my friends were out there, I knew. College mates, course mates, Choir members, PERKEB members. My family members. My hands began to shake. Then I heard:

“Lisa ! Lisa ! LISA !! WE LOVE YOU !!!!”

I laughed out loud with the rest of the crowd. And suddenly, just like that, all nervousness left my body. I felt ready to get out there, do my thing and put on a good show !

And so I did. I sang the best I could (what with my pronunciation problems and all). I danced like I never danced before. I gave the crowd suggestive moves, naughty winks as part of the performance. I twirled around in my bright red dress. I did everything I thought of.

Everyone looks stunning !!! πŸ™‚

And it was a great finale to our months of hard work and practice and losing our voices and dying of exhaustion – that one moment was the end of it all.

Everyone applauded and I never felt so self-conscious in my life, standing up on stage by myself !

Then the rest came on stage and everyone was cheering and clapping and jumping around and smoke from the smoke machine was blowing and enveloping us till it was hard to see but I could see my friends waving at me from the bottom of the stage and they were still shouting “Lisa ! Lisa !” and my family was there too with my friends, my mum and my dad and my two younger brothers who were standing there looking lost and my fellow choir members as they waved and yelled secret jokes that only I could understand and it felt wonderful and great and I felt proud and happy and relieved that it was over and at the same time sad that I would be missing all those fun and stressful times with these new friends of mine.

But, it was finally OVER.

Everyone told me how great I was up there. How they didn’t know I could perform like that. That they had finally seen a side of me they never knew before. πŸ˜› I was so touched for their moral support. I could not have done it without them πŸ™‚

You can definitely see me in that bright red dress ! πŸ˜›

It was a great experience. Being part of New Tune has made me realize that there are so many of us who share that love for music. That we all show them in different ways – through dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, composing and writing songs. Music also knows know boundaries, whether it is in English or Chinese or Malay or Tamil, music touches everyone of us. It was such a great feeling to be part of this group, working so very hard together to make NTLP XIII: Sparks of Melody a success. We helped each other, we grew together.

Close-up of me in full make-up and dress - all ready to perform ! πŸ˜€

Yes, it was the most tiring and stressful event I have ever joined.

But it was also the most rewarding.

I am so very proud of these people who are all so very talented. They can make a song I dislike into a song that is fun and cute and good.

I enjoyed myself these tiring few months. I made a lot of new friends, got to know talented new people who share that same passion for music. I grew as a person as well, conquered my fear, pushed myself to go beyond what I thought I was capable of.

And I also picked up on some Mandarin πŸ™‚

This is definitely one experience I will never forget !

Eugene conducting during Choir Concert 2010 !

After months of planning, meetings every 2 weeks…we successfully had our:

ARTISUKMA CHOIR CONCERT 2010: Music, Speak To Me Now

I was the Head of Programme for the Artisukma Choir Concert 2010 held on the 3rd of March 2010, Wednesday, Panggung Seni, DECTAR at 8.30pm.

At first, the responsibility of Head of Programme seemed pretty intimidating. But thankfully, I had the rest of the committee to help me out. We had meetings quite often to check on each other’s progress and updates.

Since last semester we have been planning, anxious and excited because, truth be told, this is our FIRST time conducting a concert !

Surprising, isn’t it?

So, why did we suddenly decide to have a Choir Concert?

We realized that although we were the university’s official choir group, no one outside of Convocation had ever heard us sing ! >.<

Every year, the university employs us to sing during the Convocation of the UKM graduates (and we actually get paid for it !)

But outside of Convocation, we do not really perform in public. Hence, the only people who see and listen to us sing are the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice Chancellors, all the deans of faculties, lecturers, parents and the convocating seniors !

High-angle view

We wanted to introduce choir music to the rest of warga UKM and hopefully instill a love for music and the Choir. In addition, we hope to stimulate the interest of several people to join the Choir as well πŸ˜›

As a committee member, I sincerely found it such a good learning experience to be part of the committee. There were many things that I did not know. Thank God for our President and Vice President, as well as the rest of the seniors who offered us guidance and support. πŸ™‚

As Head of Programme, I was in charge of deciding the programme for that night. So, I liaised with Eugene, our Choirmaster on the choice of songs. We also decided to maybe include a few special items in the programme by inviting the Modern Music Club to perform with one of our choir members singing solo, the Chinese Traditional Orchestra to play a few pieces, and have another of our members do a piano recital πŸ˜›

After several meetings with the committee and after having confirmed with Eugene, this was the programme we came up with:

PROGRAMME FOR ARTISUKMA CHOIR CONCERT 2010

Folk Songs:

1. Arirang (Korean folk song)

2. Pokare Kare Ana (Mauri, New Zealand)

3. Rasa Sayang

Other Performances:

4. Piano Recital (by Leong Kim Ling, Ooi Siew Win and Lai Wen Teng as background singers)

5. Chinese Traditional Orchestra

6. Solo performance (Tie Ling Mei) with Modern Music band

Miscellaneous:

7. Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart classical piece sung in Latin)

8. Close To You (by the Carpenters)

9. Aku Bukan Untukmu (Rossa version)

10. Varsiti Kita (university song)

11. Music, Speak To Me Now (finale: theme song)

Presenting Artisukma Choir Club ! (Can you see me? *front row second from left*)

I found the planning part a bit stressful, but an enriching experience ! We discussed and had our ideas challenged and thought through. I felt this sense of belonging and working together towards a goal that was very motivating πŸ™‚

Conducting the practice sessions were also rather stressful. Every week, the Choir met twice, once on Sunday and another day during the weekdays. There was only me and Shu Jun, the two pianists, to conduct the practices when Eugene was not around. Which was every weekday practice. I would be in charge of the warm-up, and then proceed to revise and refresh previous songs that we have learnt, and work on them until they were almost perfect. It was a tiring task for certain. But thankfully, there was Shu Jun to help πŸ™‚

The rehearsalsΒ rehearsal (singular) was frightening, because we only managed to go once through the entire programme before it was Show Time >.<

So during the event itself, I was nervous and afraid. Will everything go smoothly? Will there be technical difficulties? Will we make mistakes? Will we sing well? Will I play the piano well?

Oh, yes. Did I mention that I was supposed to play the piano for the first part of the programme (folk songs)? >.<

We were all nervous standing behind the curtain in the dark. Everyone was huddled around, fidgety and anxious for the show to get started. We could hear the audience out there in the hall, chattering in anticipation.

Me? I could hardly breathe. I was going up first, as pianist. I was worried that I would make a mistake and spoil everyone’s hard work. I was worried I would make a mistake and ruin our first impression as Artisukma Choir Club ! That is a lot of pressure, to say the least. =.=

I wanted so badly to do great, and not let everyone down.

I had to literally tell myself to breathe, take deep, deep breaths. Tell myself,

“It’s okay, this is nothing, no big deal, I’ve practiced tons of times, this is a piece of cake….”

1-2-3-1-2-3 SINGGGGGG πŸ˜›

Finally, the show was starting. I walked out into the spotlight, followed by Eugene. We both took our bows before I took my seat at the piano stool. I cracked my knuckles and placed my fingers lightly on the keyboard, poised in position for the first chord of Arirang. I sneaked a look at Eugene, who gave me a silent nod and his hands and baton went down on the first beat of the song. I started playing.

Although I was extremely nervous and was terrified of allowing my nerves to get the better of me, I allowed the music to take hold of me, to relax and enjoy what I was playing.

I seriously thank God. Because I did not make any jarring mistakes and the first part of the concert went well ! πŸ™‚

The Choir sang the best they could and we did the best that we could.

At the Miscellaneous section, it was finally my turn to sing. The second pianist took over from me, just as nervous as I was. I gave her a hug and told her to break a leg. She smiled nervously. But I knew she would be fine πŸ™‚

Up on the stage, with the spotlights shining in our eyes, I could barely see the audience. In retrospect, I suppose it was a good thing. I focused all my attention on Eugene and his baton as he conducted us. I sang my heart out, watching for dynamics of soft and loud, and tried my best to smile despite how hard my legs were shaking from nervousness.

When it came to the finale, our Alumni seniors were asked to come up on stage with us to sing the last two songs: Varsiti Kita and Music, Speak To Me Now. Unlike many other warga UKM, I actually LOVE the university song. I find it one of the most beautiful school songs I have ever come across. The melody is soothing and sweet, and brings a feeling of nostalgic memory when you sing it, don’t you think so? πŸ™‚

VARSITI KITA

Lihat kampusku yang tenang

Damainya alam ciptaan Tuhan

Paduan ilmu dan keimanan

Amal dan teori digabungkan

Lautan ilmu kita harungkan

Sumber ilmuan berkembangan

Inilah varsiti kita

Ditengahkan hasrat rakyat kita

Dari mula untuk semua

Bagai tanda perjuangan kita

Bangun berbakti membina

Memupuk insan jiwa bertakwa

Memimpin manusia semua

Kenal akan adat unggulnya

Membina negara sentiasa

Maju berilmu dan bahagia

Acting a lil' crazyyyy after the show XD

I also LOVE Music, Speak To Me Now. It is the theme song for our Concert, and coincidentally is the theme song for our Artisukma Choir Club as well. I feel that it embodies the love for music that we all share in the Choir Club. Music is in every part of our lives, music looks beyond all size and colour, and is certainly the magic that makes life worth living.

MUSIC, SPEAK TO ME NOW

Music is language we all understand

Music has wings it can soar

Music is strength and a gentle hand

All of these things and more

Music, speak to me now

I don’t want your magic to end

And music, speak to me now

Think of me as your friend

Music is magic, a flame burning bright

Music can open the door

Music is singing a voice in the night

All of these things and more

Music is a part of all of our lives

It makes our dreams come true

Music, speak to me now

I don’t want your magic to end

And music, speak to me now

Think of me as your friend

Music, you’re my friend

When we sang those two songs, together with the Alumni who added to our vocal power, I felt this strange sensation. I do not know how to describe it. But my heart felt full and happy, and I sang my heart out during the last two songs. It felt….different somehow, to the other 49574357934 times I have sung before. I felt a part of something great, I cannot explain it.

It truly was the climax of the night.

To hear the applause of the crowd and to know deep in my heart that we have done the best that we can, I could not help but look around the hall and feel immensely proud of everything we have accomplished.

WE DID IT !!! whooohooo~ πŸ˜›

This was our first Artisukma Choir Concert, and it was a SUCCESS ! πŸ˜›

Love Is A Verb

Love is a Verb

Love is not just flowery words and sweet promises that are never kept.

Love is not just between a boy and a girl of the “I’ll climb the highest mountain for you, swim the deepest seas,” variety.

Love is not “I need you, therefore I love you.”

Love is not “You’re beautiful, therefore I love you.”

Not merely between boy and girl

Love is none of those things that the shallow world of today seems to say.

What love is, is a verb.

Allow me to define:

VERB: a word or phrase that describes an action, condition or experience. (Cambridge International Dictionary of English)

Love is not merely verbal, but rather, it has to be an action. Something that has to be done, shown instead of spoken.

Love is only really love if it is demonstrated. Love means nothing if it is only words that come out from a person’s mouth but disappear without meaning to the person it is spoken to.

That was the message that was intended to be conveyed for PERKEB (Persaudaraan Kristian UKM)’s annual event this year:

Malam Kesempurnaan Kasih: Love Is A Verb

It was held on the 2nd of March 2010 at Dewan Anuwar Mahmud, FST at 7.30pm.

I was one of the committee members for the Protocol Secretariat. πŸ™‚

Love between friends

What is MKK? It is PERKEB’s annual event, held during the second semester of every academic session – an evening of dance, music, drama and singing. Our goal for every event we conduct is to bring a meaningful message to the students of UKM as well as to showcase and hone the talents of our very own members in the arts.

Last year, we had Malam Muzikal Krismas where I was involved in the tambourine dance. It was a great experience ! I had never been involved in such performances before and it was a new learning experience for me πŸ™‚ Although the practice sessions were tough and time-demanding, I enjoyed myself dancing with friends in putting on a good show for the audience ! πŸ˜›

This year though, I was horribly disappointed in not being able to commit myself to the dance team. I had too many other events that I was involved in to be able to give my best in performing and coming for practice sessions.

So, instead, I decided to help them out by joining the Protocol Secretariat.

I did not have much to do, except for some last minute rushes in securing the perasmi Dr. Kadderi Md. Desa, the Director of Pusat Perkembangan Pelajar.

Love among family πŸ™‚

Unfortunately, due to my un-involvement in the event, I had no idea what I needed to do. And my Head of Protocol did not inform me of the updates and to-do items for MKK. And so it happened that, on the morning of 2nd of March, Wednesday, Christina (that’s my Head of Protocol) called me and asked me to do her a favour.

“Sure, what do you need me to do?”

“Could you call Pusat Perkembangan Pelajar office and ask them if Dr. Kadderi is our perasmi?

Silence.

“You mean, our perasmi is not confirmed yet??”

The fact of the matter was, on the day of the event, the perasmi has yet to be confirmed. The details on how that happened is fuzzy to me, since I was not directly involved in the goings-on of the Protocol Secretariat. But suddenly, I was needed to step in and settle everything.

I kept calling and calling the office. At first, no one picked up.

When finally, after an eternity several failed attempts, I managed to get through. The personal assistant to Dr. Kadderi told me that he would not be able to make it, and that she would find a replacement to go in his place instead.

“When can you let me know the name of the replacement?” (I needed to know the full name and title to put it into the speech text for the perasmi.)

“I’ll call you back,” she told me. That was not reassuring enough, but what choice did I have? >.<

So I waited. And waited. No sound from the PPP office.

Love is colour-blind

I called again at 2pm, after lunch hour. I was beginning to panic.

The event was in about 5 hours.

“Hi, kak, it’s me again. Em, has the replacement been found?”

“I’m sorry, I will have to get back to you.”

I was utterly desperate. Christina was pestering me to get the nameΒ ASAP.

Kak, I really need to get that information as soon as possible. TheΒ event starts in 5 hours, do you think you could help me?”

“Okay, I will call you back.”

Then began a flurry of calls between me and the PPP office (burning up my handphone credit >.<) trying to POLITELY push them into giving me a name soon.

At 4.30 pm, I saw the office number on my handphone screen.

“Hello, kak?

“Ah, good news. Dr. Kadderi will be able to make it after all.”

Love is beautiful

I almost cried with relief. In less than 3 hours before the event started, we had our perasmi.

Cutting it a bit close, that’s for sure. But at least, everything was settled and cleared πŸ™‚

I thanked the kak profusely for her trouble and thanked God for Dr. Kadderi being such a generous person who somehow, for whatever reason, changed his mind and chose to attend our event instead.

The whole event was smooth-sailing from then.

I was one of the ushers for the night, and wore my orange Punjabi suit to greet the VIP. πŸ™‚

And being the usher, my most tense moment was at the beginning of the event when the Opening Ceremony was about to begin. There were a few things that absolutely MUST be done according to protocol – where the ushers must be standing, where the Program Director and President of PERKEB have to stand in relation to the VIP, which usher will receive the token of appreciation etc. There is the right way to do it, and we had to do it right, or otherwise give a bad impression to the VIP.

I was supposed to be the one who led the VIP to his seat, and then would receive the token of appreciation for the VIP and keep it with me for safekeeping, until the end of the event, or when PM Dr. Kadderi decides to leave.

Phew. It was extremely stressful, but everything went smoothly πŸ™‚ The Opening Ceremony went on without a glitch as well ! Thank God !! πŸ˜›

Me and the Protocol team πŸ˜›

After that, my job was to basically be attentive to the VIP to see if there was anything he needed during the event. If there was not………..I was free to enjoy the show ! πŸ˜€

The dancers were great ! Everyone looked so beautiful in their costumes and the tambourines looked extra shiny that night. I felt a pang of disappointment for not being a part of the team of dancers this year, but at least I could watch them and give them moral support πŸ™‚

Then, there was the drama. I was seriously in awe of each and every one of the actors and actresses involved in our little sketch – because they were all darn GOOD !!! Seriously, the two main characters were excellent in their acting. The evil demon had the most chilling laugh. And the set, although simple, was effective.

And when it came to the climax, when one of the main characters was dying, I honestly could not help crying. There were tears at the corners of my eyes which I had to wipe away ! Thank goodness it was dark and nobody could see me >.< The story was touching, and the acting skills of these girls brought out the emotion contained within the story, which was a wonderful feat indeed ! Bravo to the drama team ! They were absolutely GREAT that night !

Me with the Assistant Director of MKK, Evon πŸ˜›

And of course, I cannot forget the MIB (Men In Black) team, who helped out with the stage props and smoothened the transition from one scene to another. They were quick and as silent as possible, and made the flow of the drama continuous without too long an awkward pause between scenes. They did an awesome job too !

The band was absolutely great ! I found myself clapping and tapping my feet and swaying my body and singing along to all the songs they were playing ! Felt my heart thumping along to the beat of the drum, and soaring together with all 8 of the lead and back-up singers. They did a wonderful job of getting the crowd warmed up πŸ™‚

And the emcees for the night did well too πŸ˜›

All in all, I felt a sense of satisfaction after that night. Yes, I was not in the dance team. I was only in the background, handling the Protocol Secretariat responsibilities like securing the perasmi and being the usher. But I felt like a part of something good that night, and I left the hall smiling πŸ™‚

Me with the Head of Protocol, Christina!

I hope next year’s is even better !! πŸ˜›

We are supposed to do a review on any chosen article about either education or social issues.

I do not know why, but I chose to do something on the topic of “Integrating ICT in Education.”

So this is my article:

Integrating ICT and multicultural aspects within the classroom: the SAIL project

And this is my review πŸ™‚

Integrating ICT is not as easy as it seems

Happy reading ! πŸ™‚

Speaking of past assignments made me nostalgic. So I went back to my folder of past assignments that I have done.

No, I don’t usually save ALL my assignments. But I save my literary essays that I write for my literature classes because I usually do enjoy writing them, and rereading them. πŸ™‚

I know this is not really under evaluation for my SPKG, but I thought I would share this with you.

During my first year, second semester, I took my FIRST Literature course in university. It was interesting, and I fell in love with Dr. Nackeeran, a lecturer from the Pusat Pengajian Bahasa and Linguistik (PPBL)Β who took us that semester. He was kind, and gentle and very inspiring. He would digress from Lit to wonderful stories of his childhood and experiences. These were digressions we never minded.

He taught us to love Literature, and I do love Literature. Because of him? I do not know. But in my 2 years in university thus far, my favourite subjects have been the Literature courses I took in PPBL (no offense to the Education Faculty :P) – Introduction to Literature in first year, English Literature for Malaysian Schools and this semester, Malaysian Literature in English.

For our first year, after having been “introduced” to Literature all over again, we were asked to do our very first critical essay. I was terrified. Not so much because I thought I could not do it. More so because I wanted so badly to impress Dr. Nackeeran and please him with good writing. I hoped I could.

He told us to choose one short story and write an essay of it. He gave us guidelines and short notes (it being our first Literature critical essay).

I chose The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.

I LOVE this story ! I fell in love with its sombre, mysterious, and sometimes chilling tone of writing. It inspired me to write. πŸ™‚

It is a story of a madman and how he plots to, and finally, murders an innocent man in cold blood.

It is an extremely interesting story, written in a very interesting style. I still LOVE the story to this day. πŸ˜›

If you are interested to read the story, you can read it HERE.

Well, you can read my critical essay on The Tell-Tale Heart as well. πŸ™‚

>>> The Tell-Tale Heart

I got an A for this paper. πŸ˜›

Now, do you understand why I love Literature? ^^

One of the assignments that was required for my GGGV2044 Methods in TESL course this semester was a 20% individual research paper on one or more of the methods of language teaching in an ESL (English as a Second Language) context such as Malaysia.

Dr. Hamidah (Dr. H from PKAPS :P) was my lecturer for this course. And she, being as flexible as she was, gave us some freedom on the topic that we wished to discuss in our research paper. She told us we could:

1) discuss one method in detail, describing the advantages and disadvantages of the use of the method,

2) compare one method up against another, discussing the pros and cons of both,

3) do an analysis of more than two methods, or

4) write a chronological timeline of the methods including the principles of language teaching at the particular time period.

All interesting topics, for sure. But I chose Topic #1 πŸ™‚

I chose the Audio-lingual Method (ALM) to discuss and write on, because I felt that the theories behind ALM were interesting and are heavily debated even to this day.

Searching for resources was the first thing I knew I needed to do. I had to first read up on the method and know it inside out before I could start any writing at all.

Normally when I search for resources, I go to our UKM library’s online e-journals for students. I find it convenient and it has helped me in completing all my essays. When I was in first year, I used to Google up books from the internet but was more often than not, frustrated because the books available online were incomplete, or we would have to pay by credit card in order to proceed to the next page.

After discovering PTSL (Perpustakaan Tun Seri Lanang) E-Journal, I felt like smacking myself in the forehead. Why did I not use this before?? All the articles and journals that could be found there were COMPLETE and FREE. That is exactly what it is for, isn’t it?

I managed to find a few articles in online journals that were interesting and gave me the information I needed. I had to look for them under SCOPUS of course, and EBSCOHOST (Educational online data bases) as well. It took me some time to narrow down the search to find what I wanted on ALM, but I did. πŸ™‚

After reading and “digesting” what I had read from the articles as well as from several books I had, there was a lot of information obtained on ALM. All I needed to do now was to decide what I wanted to include in my research paper and organize all my thoughts systematically. I would also have to list down a few quotes that brought new ideas to the general topic of ALM.

After thinking about it, I came up with this rough draft:

HEADINGS AND SUBHEADINGS

Introduction: Brief description of the theory behind ALM

History: How ALM came about; the theory of language teaching at that period

Principles of ALM: Beliefs and assumptions (and counter-arguments?)

Main features: Key activities

Techniques: Specific activities and tasks carried out in ALM that support theory and principles

Advantages

Disadvantages

Recommendations: Suggestions (personal) on employing the ALM in Malaysian context

Conclusion: Closing summary on the whole topic

Based on these headings and subheadings, I drafted my research paper. I wrote down what points I wanted to include in that particular category, the examples I wanted to give, the page of reference from either the journals or the books. Quotes that I wanted to include together with the author’s name and year of book publication.

Complying strictly to my draft, I started writing my research paper. And surprisingly, such a daunting task was completed within the day !

It took my longer to compile the information and organize my thoughts and ideas. That took me a few days: searching for articles on the internet and online journals, looking for suitable books to source from, organizing my ideas into categories and headings etc.

After that was done, I started writing based on the draft I had already prepared. And it was smooth-flowing from there. I had everything I needed right in front of me (including pages of the book or article to refer to) and so I managed to complete writing in 3-4 solid hours.

It was still rough around the edges, but everything I wanted to say was already typed out onto “paper”.

Next, came the editing. I usually find it harder to edit my own work. I have a tendency to ramble on when I write (as is pretty obvious by how long my blog posts are =.=) and so find it extremely hard to cut down on my “precious words” after that. Still, I tried my best. I cut out sentences I thought were not necessary, tweaked a few here and there. Replaced some words with more effective ones.

When I was almost satisfied with it, I worked on the margins and font size, checking if everything was according to the UKM format. Then I reread my work a couple of times to get the “feel” of the writing before I wrote my conclusion. I added in Appendix A (some other examples I had but did not elaborate on in the research paper itself) and typed out the references I had following UKM format. Finally I reread the entire assignment from beginning to end, checking for spelling mistakes (Well, I guess Microsoft Word does that for you now, but you still have to check, don’t you?), typing errors, margins, format, quotations.

And I was satisfied. πŸ™‚

Handed it in to Dr. H 3 days before the deadline (Yes, I am very proud of that fact ! :P).

I actually enjoyed this assignment. When I reread my work, I always feel an immense feeling of satisfaction from having put my best into completing it. With regards to the subject matter, I better understood what ALM was all about (the Larsen-Freeman book is a really simple-read, straightforward and direct ! Helped me tremendously).

The process itself was a self-satisfying one. I learnt to source for my materials and resources using our UKM library’s online journals. I learnt to organize my thoughts and ideas, one step at a time. When you do that, any task can be completed without much fuss and minimal headache ! I also learnt that it is always better to read up and understand the entire topic on your own first, and write based on what you understand the topic to be. Rather than copy and paste everything from your sources (which is plagiarism ! And unethical ! >.<)

This assignment has been a learning experience once again and helped me solidify skills that I had already learnt from completing past assignments (like using PTSL E-Journals) as well as familiarize myself with new skills (organizing my thoughts out on paper first) that I can continue to use for the next assignment, and all the assignments after that. πŸ™‚

ALM_Discussion

We had the Closing Ceremony after that. All the groups reconvened in the main hall upstairs to present something special to the rest of the Camp participants.

Everyone did really well. Most presented a singing performance. Others had recitals. Some even presented some of their handiwork during the Camp. And the little Standard 6 kids presented a very heartwarming performance sporting tiny little paper hands drawn as an exact replica of their own hands. They were just adorable ! πŸ˜›

My group? We sang Through My Window by Bunkface.

There was a tiny slip-up when Farhan suddenly, out of nervousness, switched to his native language Bahasa when he was supposed to speak in English. But everything else went well. πŸ™‚

They sang with such gusto despite not being confident in the language, that my heart was just bursting with pride !

I like the lyrics to this song πŸ™‚

THROUGH MY WINDOW by Bunkface

I don’t want much, I just want everything
Thought that I could, do almost anything
One step in front of the other
Thought that I could do it alone

In the blink of an eye, it’s just another day
Telling me why, I’ll find another way
Got this feeling, got me reeling
I can almost start believing

Now there’s me and you
And we are not alone
You and me
We are together now
Through my window, I can see there’s
More than you and more than me
Me and you
And we are not alone
Different view
We are together now
Through my window, I can see
Our wildest dreams could be so real

They did reaaaalllyyyy well πŸ™‚

Then we had Station Games as the final activity, which all of them really enjoyed. We definitely could see that. And soon, it was the prize-giving ceremony where every group got prizes (cash prizes !) and each member could bring back a little something πŸ˜›

I have learnt so much from Dr. Hamidah, and my final-year TESL seniors. I have learnt so much from my classmates. These times have just drawn us closer together in friendship – something that I hope will continue to grow strong every semester spent together, for the rest of our undergraduate years. I want to take this opportunity to thank Jess too (I doubt she will read this XD) for being my AWESOME partner during the Camp, and for being my “second head” when panicking about what to do with the kids. πŸ˜›

I had the most enjoyable time with the children – definitely something that I will never forget. Although I have forgotten many of their names, but I remember each of their faces very well. They were people who touched me with their determination, their enthusiasm, and their willingness to learn.

They taught me patience. They taught me that as teachers, you must first get to know your students under your care. Every child is smart and talented and unique. You just need to encourage and hone whatever they possess. They taught me to treat my students with respect; only then, will they in turn, respect you. Never ever give up on your students. Cos some of them may just surprise you. And most of all, enjoy your time with your students. You will never feel anything more satisfying πŸ™‚

I truly treasure this experience with the kids at Kundang Ulu, Johor. It has been such a privilege.Β I know I have much to learn, and teaching is certainly not going to be an easy task. But after those few days, I know the rewards are so much bigger.

I pray for strength and determination to keep me going. Hopefully, I will be the best kind of teacher that I can be. πŸ˜›

[The End]

I saw this posted on my friend’s Facebook profile today. I was curious, because the title of the video said:

The Girl Who Silenced the World For 5 Minutes

I watched it.

I cried.

I don’t know. It was more like, I felt extremely emotional.

There were things she said that felt like a slap to my face. Made me think. Made me ashamed.

In 1992, the world was already experiencing problems.

The ozone layer was disappearing, the animals were going extinct, innocent children were dying all over the world. There were still wars, people were greedy, people were unwilling to share.

In 2010, nothing much has changed, has it?

It seems that people are still blind and near-sighted. We do not think ahead. We only care about the here and now.

What are the consequences on the future generations if we continue doing what we are doing now?

It may be difficult for some, but I can imagine a world where animals will be a rare sight (it already is), sky is no longer clear, no more grass or trees or lakes or rivers.

What do we have?

Buildings and skyscrapers, factories, smoke and haze, unbearable hot temperatures.

Death. Poverty. Hate.

How can we want a world like that, if not for us, for our children? For our children’s children?

We must do something. We must.

Or at least, STOP doing what we are doing now.

“You DON’T know how to fix the holes in our ozone layer. You DON’T know how to bring the salmon back up in a dead stream. You don’t know how to bring back an animal, now extinct. And you CAN’T bring back the forest that once grew where there is now a desert.”

~Severn Suzuki, 12 years, representative of ECO (Environmental Children’s Organization)