Saturday, 15 December 2007
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This morning, I woke up groggily and it took awhile before I remembered that I promised Mom that I’ll go to the morning market with her and Dad.

Actually, I wouldn’t have done it if it was somewhere else, but I obliged this time because I love the chee-cheong-phan that one stall sells. I’m not good at describing, so if you don’t know what it is, you’ll just have to ask around.

Anyway, this stall has more than the usual black sauce. They have curry. And boy, it tastes out of the world! So I went to the market to savour it, while making a mental note to eat it every time opportunity strikes.

Then, it was off to the wet market. I told them that I’ll just wait outside, since I don’t fancy going there, to struggle with everyone trying to get to their desired stall. So I sat down on a nearby chair and took out the newspapers.

Not long after starting, I started to feel a little awkward. Perhaps it’s because every passer-by would look at me before going off. So I kept the newspaper, and waited.

I noticed that most people wear very casual clothes here. Just a simple T-shirt and short pants. After all, it IS a market only. Yet, there are some people who can be deemed overdressed. For example, make-up. No kidding. I saw a woman wearing it. Some people just have to look glamorous everywhere they go.

And then there’s the ‘uncles’, working men who were there accompanying their wives. Once in a while, two men will lock eyes, wave and smile, then approach the other, ask ‘Hey! How are you! Long time no see-ah!’, and then start talking about their jobs, businesses, etc.

The ladies are just slightly different. Some might talk as loud as men, whereas some will just say hi when they near the person. But when their husbands talk about jobs, the wives will ask each other what they bought, for what purpose. Then they’ll move on to ask about kids, how old the kids are, how they’re doing at school, etc.

That is what happens during a day at the morning market.
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Thursday, 13 December 2007
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When I saw The Golden Compass in a bookstore recently, I bought it with the intention of reading it before watching the movie. And I told myself I must finish the entire book before watching it.

The book was quite okay, albeit a little hard to understand. I had a better understanding of it after starting the second book. Anyway, my point is that I found the story quite interesting. They call it fantasy but it’s very different from other fantasy novels.

But when I watched the movie with my family, I was slightly dissapointed. The movie wasn’t very loyal to the book. A friend of mine pointed out that even the Harry Potter movies weren’t completely the same as the books. But I still didn’t like the movie. I think that it was less loyal compared to the Harry Potter movies. The ending was completely different, as if they simply cut off a section of the story. Perhaps they want a happy ending?

Now I regret promising my friends that I’ll watch the movie with them. But perhaps watching it a second time will give me a better impression of it.
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Saturday, 1 December 2007
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I can’t believe it!

It’s been one month since the school holidays began!

Holidays seem to be shorter and shorter these days, don’t they? Maybe it’s because we teens have so much to do- blogging, playing online games, reading, listening to music; All the leisurely pleasure that we don’t really get to enjoy during school days.

Personally, I’ve felt so busy- all the books that I had aimed to finish reading just could not be finished. I’ve even listed down things I wanted to do during the holidays, but sadly some of them won’t be able to be fulfilled.

Without realising it, it’s already December. Arrrrggghh!!! How I wish I could turn back time. I’ve always loved the holidays. When I was younger, it was because of the cartoons. These days, I still find some Disney movies watchable. But mostly, I like the holidays because of the time it provides me. I can wake up at any time, and do anything I want.

And here’s where I’m different from most people. While others hang out with friends every single day, I would hang out but also secretly hope to be home. After all, home is where the heart is. I don’t know why I feel this way, but I have a weird attachment to the place I live in. Even being able to sit down and do nothing, or pace around from the front to the back of the house never bores me.

I enjoy being able to take my time reading the newspaper, and of course, my storybooks. I just love fiction. If only I can have one whole day to read. But alas, I can’t resist turning the computer on.

Some of my friends had went out in search of a job at the start of the holidays. I had considered following them but had cold feet in the end. I reasoned that since next year’s my examination year (SPM), meaning the holidays would be affected by the exam, I would rather enjoy the last school holiday. After all, when I graduate, there won’t be as many school holidays!

Others go out with friends every single day. I’m afraid to say, I’m not one of them.

As mentioned before, I like being at home. Nothing beats being at home. Well, some things do. But still, I would like to just ‘rot’ at home. My friends have called me anti-social but I disagree. I still long to go out with them. And once I promise them, I don’t bail out. I’m just a normal teen with very different principles. Or rather, instincts.

Sometimes I would scold myself for being different from my friends. But other times, I would just be happy to be different. Sometimes the difference frustrates me.

So to overcome all those, I set up a plan for myself- I would do a little of everything. I would read and go online. I would stay at home some days and go out with friends too. This gives me the best of both worlds, only because I have the time which school holidays offer.

Isn’t it great?
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Monday, 19 November 2007
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Recently, I went to a book warehouse sale. I was feeling the heat and the stench from the drain as I walked around, browsing through box after box of dusty books. After spending a considerable amount of time, I realised with a start that most of the spy-related novels were pretty similar.

Call me a liar, but as I went through other books, I found that the general storyline was always the same: There’s some trouble somewhere in the world, and there’s only one man or woman capable of stopping the crisis.

Add that to the heat and smell, I immediately felt like going home. But since I was there, I decided to just skim through the titles.

True enough, there were hardly any books that I was interested in, and I finally settled to buying a book for my sister who’s studying in Russia.

Could it really be that these books are the same? Because from the synopsis, they sounded the same- generally, of course. But where is the world heading to if all we have are books that have the same storyline?

Perhaps I should read those books first. After all, the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ has proven to be quite true.
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Tuesday, 23 October 2007
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This is the opinion article written by yours truly :

It’s a pure waste of time

I READ with interest the topic on whether Moral Education should be retained or replaced in schools (StarEducation, Oct 7).

As a secondary school student myself, I personally believe that Moral Education does not bring much benefit.

It is simply a subject whereby students memorise the definition of certain moral values.

It is also one subject which many students fear as there have been reports of students not scoring well in this subject.

The examination format for Moral Education is too rigid. In the SPM exam, we cannot give our own answers. Instead, we must choose an answer from the options provided.
We always have to write what the examiner wants, even if our own answers are more “reasonable”. What is the point of studying a subject like that?

I also agree with fellow students who say that having a good grade in Moral Education does not mean you are disciplined. There are lots of students who behave badly, and are top scorers in Moral Education.

All this just goes to show that memorising moral values does not mean we will practise them.
As an example, look at the value berdikari or “be independent”.

If the subject is really effective in imparting this value, why are there so many students still relying on their maids or parents to open and close doors, cook, and bring out dishes for them?
Besides, we learn moral values in other subjects too.

In Geography and Science, for instance, we learn to keep the environment clean and unpolluted. In Chemistry, Physics and Biology, we learn to conduct experiments honestly. In History, we learn to be patriotic and avoid the mistakes of the past.

So, my question is – why do we need to learn moral values a second time?

My teacher recently reminded us that in the SPM, we are not allowed to write outside the lines provided for answers. We cannot even draw our own lines if our answers need more space than what is given.

What if a certain student has big handwriting? Is it fair to ask him to change his handwriting just so he can squeeze in his answer in the space given?

And if the subject is Moral Education, shouldn’t the examiners be compassionate and empathise with us, and still mark our answers, irrespective of whether they are written on or outside the lines given?

Why the strict exam structure? Are we better people if we have tiny handwriting?
I understand that if the definition of a value is required, every single word must be correct. So, if we write serta instead of dan, or dapat instead of boleh, we will lose marks.

Now, I can understand it if our words change the meaning of the answers completely but in these cases, the meaning is nearly, if not completely, the same. How can this make us better citizens?

In conclusion, I think the subject Moral Education should be replaced. It is a waste of time and brainpower.

SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENT Via e-mail
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Tuesday, 31 July 2007
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I read with interest StarMag’s reviews on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I must say I disagreed with one of the reviewer’s comment that there’s no way a good book can be spoiled. I, for one, did not want anyone to tell me what the ending is- I didn’t want the excitement and fun to be spoiled. So instead I had a great time reading it word by word.

When an ending is known, the reader’s excitement simply won’t be there. For example, when I asked a friend what the ending to The Age of the Five trilogy is, I found that I read the book without the enthusiasm that I read Deathly Hallows with.

Rowling certainly made the book move at a faster pace. I was surprised that the action began so early in the book, compared to the other books when it started at the end. This change made the book even more exciting.

I was also felt more comfortable now that Rowling explained more about her characters. We get to know the characters deeper, for example, Dumbledore still commits errors.

What I did not like was the fact that Rowling killed off more characters than I thought. Or perhaps I just took that she said two main characters’ll die means that only TWO will die only. I didn’t expect minor characters like Dobby to be killed at all. It was a real shock.

As to the ending, I would say that I’m satisfied in some ways yet not satisfied in some. For instance, I was glad to know that Harry survived in the end, that he even managed to produce offsprings! But I wasn’t satisfied because I felt it was lacking in some ways. She didn’t say what happened to George or Snape. So there’s still a slight mist in front. Perhaps she’s planning another book? Only time will tell, as they say.
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