Category: Personal


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. 🙂

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) 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. 🙂

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. 😛

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. 🙂

>>> The Tell-Tale Heart

I got an A for this paper. 😛

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

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The Nerves Are Killing Me

You’d think that having gone through 3 rounds of exams with 7 subjects each in the past two years would have made me immune to just-before-exam nerves. After all, I’d gone through them all before, several times.

Yet.

Every time that time comes around, I feel nervous, worried, anxious.

I don’t want to come within several miles of the exam hall, but at the same time, I wish I could just go right in, regurgitate all that I need to regurgitate and get it done and over with !

1 and a half more hours to my first paper of Semester 2 Session 2009/2010 – Methods in TESL.

Somehow something drew me to this place here, now.

I’ve read the books I need to read, gone through all my lecture notes a number of times, wrote copious short notes on all the main points (I think) that are important, even completed and discussed one past year paper with my course mates.

But.

I still feel unprepared.

I guess, we never ever feel prepared, do we?

Anyhow, I’m wishing for the best. I shall do the best that I can.

Cos that is all that anyone can ever do. Right?

Here’s wishing the best of health and mind to all those sitting for final examinations. Just do your best and leave the rest to God ! God bless 🙂

Making Music

Singing is something that I have always done. Be it when I am about to sleep, while listening to songs on the radio, while I am driving alone, or in the shower 🙂

I do not know when my love for singing actually began. Maybe because I grew up a Christian, singing praise and worship songs during church service every Sunday, singing became a part of my life, a part of who I am.

In school, I was always involved in choir. First during my primary education, and then secondary education. Possibly because of my music background (I studied piano up till Grade 8 – the highest level before a Diploma), I was never merely a member of choir. I was also the pianist, the keyboardist, the arranger, the conductor.

Being a shy person, the one and only time I ever sang as a solo in public was when I wracked up all the courage I had to join the first ever “Mewah Idol” competition (which was a solo singing competition in my secondary school) in 2005. It was nerve-wrecking singing as a solo, although exhilarating to hear the cheers of the crowd and feel the adrenaline pounding in your ears.

I do not know how, but I won the title of “Mewah Idol”. 🙂

I was extremely proud of myself. So many times during the course of the competition I felt like quitting, like giving up. I kept hounding myself for having signed up in the first place. What on earth was I thinking? How am I supposed to sing in front of hundreds of students? My voice is nothing special at all !

But I managed to stick it through to the end, thanks to support from family and friends. 🙂

I seriously doubt I could ever do that again. At least I can say that I did, once. 😛
In the end, I was drawn back to Choir.

My most active years in choir were when I was in Form Two to Form Five. I participated in school level, district and state level competitions. We did not always win first prize (although we have managed to bag third place in the state level Music Festival) but as far as I remember, it was never what I chased after.

Yes, of course it would be great to win first and be revered by all the neighbouring schools within the district or state as a force to be reckoned with when it came to vocals. Yes, I would be extremely proud to hold that trophy or certificate high that says “Champion for the Choir category: National level”.

But what always drew me to choir was the fact that we make beautiful music together. In its separated four vocal parts (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass), the choir would sound boring, disconnected, or does not make sense. Many a time, listening to the Alto parts, or the Tenors practising on their own, I would frown. Why does it sound so weird? I used to think.

But combined, we sound heavenly. 🙂

Okay, not exactly heavenly. We were never that good. Otherwise we would have made it to the national finals every year like SMK Puteri, Seremban always did. Oh, how we envied them ! >.<

Ahem. Anyway, back to the point I was trying to make.

When all the four vocal parts combined, we finally made sense. And I would go, Oh, so that’s how it’s supposed to sound like !
The harmonies we made together sounded beautiful and, well, heavenly to a certain extent.

Me and my beloved Choir family 🙂

Through that, I guess I learned that choir, just like life, is not about the individual alone, but about working together with others. On your own, you may not amount to much, but together we can make beautiful music 🙂

Which is probably why, when I entered UKM, the first thing I thought of (after Minggu Mesra Pelajar and all those wajib events) was Does UKM have a choir? I was extremely excited to join, to be a part of the choir again, to feel that togetherness and sense of belonging I always felt singing with the choir.

Now, I am proud to say that I am a part of the Artisukma Choir of UKM. 🙂

Not just ‘a part of’ actually. I am also one of two Assistant Choir Masters, assisting the Choir Master (Mr. Eugene Ng Keck Chee) in whatever matters he needs assistance in.

Which basically means I am also the pianist for the Artisukma Choir. 😛

I auditioned in my first year, and got through without a fuss. Again, my music background placed me in an important spot – as future pianist and Music Director for the Choir. And that is where I am now.

Starting off as a first year, I was told I would be “groomed to be a pianist” for the Choir. I was going to be trained to take on the role of pianist and take over from the seniors. I had no idea how to start, never had any experience like this before.

But now, as a second year, I conduct weekday practices every week (when Eugene is not around) and lead the warm-up exercises every Sunday. I am a part of the Committee and help run the Choir. I played the piano for the Convocation Ceremony in front of the Chancellor of UKM in DECTAR for the first time last year (which was a terrifying experience >.<).

Despite the heavy responsibilities and pressure in Choir, nothing feels better than singing with many other voices beside you in creating music 🙂

Being a lil' crazeeee 😛

Choir, no, singing, is my life. It is something I love to do, and I hope I shall continue doing no matter what I do in the future. That my passion for singing will not fade and die away in the midst of busy schedules, appointments and other “more important things”.

Music and singing make life that much more colourful, beautiful and meaningful to me. 🙂

A little confession here. The purpose of this blog is actually for the Generic Competence Evaluation System (or SPKG) which is now compulsory for all first years who enter the National University of Malaysia (UKM). In order for our mentors (evaluators) to er, evaluate us, there has to be some black-and-white of some sort, proving our involvement and participation in activities that showcase our various generic skills eg. leadership, teamwork, communicative skills etc.

In principle, I completely agree that SPKG is important, in the sense that it drives to point that academic excellence alone is not everything. Soft skills, or the more canggih word which is used is generic skills, are of the utmost importance in order to produce wholesome, well-rounded individuals who will succeed in the future working world.

However, I do have problems with the way the system is being implemented.

Anyway, it is not my place to say this, neither is that the purpose of this post.

Firstly, before I ramble on again, I want to thank my mentor, Cik Aidah Abdul Karim *cheers* for encouraging me to start this blog. While some of my friends are facing difficulties in meeting with their respective mentors, or even receiving any reply to their emails and text messages, Cik Aidah has already met and explained to my fellow mentees and myself about what we are supposed to do, and even described explicitly what we should include in our blog-cum-portfolio, so as to cover all the generic skills necessary to be evaluated.

And for that, I am truly grateful 🙂

Although it seems an overwhelming and daunting task in recording and describing everything that is needed, I believe that Cik Aidah is someone who will not judge or criticize harshly. The one and a half hour meeting with her (while chomping on chicken chop, potato wedges and salad – which she treated us to !) helped me see how lucky I am in being her mentee. She seemed eager to get to know us, eager to help and guide, eager to smile. 🙂

Thanks so much, Cik Aidah ! *beams*

The other mentees whom I met that day (26.1.2010) were an okay bunch too. I was glad that the email I sent out to the rest urging a reply as to when they were available to meet with our mentor was met with swift replies and feedback. It was not much of a hassle to decide on a day and time to meet with Cik Aidah. 😛

Anyway, I like the idea that this blog is going to be my online diary on my university life and studies, basically. Everything that I get myself involved in, my interests, the lessons I learn, the struggles as an education student; all this certainly promotes lifelong learning. In short, this blog is my lifelong learning.

I hope that this blog will become something that I will learn to treasure and view it as a diary of personal growth. I hope that at the end of my four years of study here in UKM, I will be able to look back at all the posts in this blog and see how much I have learned, how much I have grown for the better.

Let’s begin ! 🙂