Monday, 26 April 2010
Teaching Break, Over!

Hello all!

I'm not sure who still reads this, but anyway, my teaching break has come to an end. Tomorrow classes will begin as usual.

And what have I done during my two week break? I had really just allowed myself to enjoy a little and to get a little lazy. When classes begin I expect that I will have to start focusing on my studies again.

I managed to play badminton! But I didn't really enjoy it, the roof was too low, and the ambiance just wasn't there

Funnily, I never saw myself as a workaholic. I like to laze around and do things I like to do, but when the time comes for me to finish an assignment or a task, I do it because I feel obligated to. Just like when I have an event to attend, I always make sure that I arrive on time, and I will wake up at the appropriate time to achieve that, even if it means losing sleep. How many times have you gone to a meeting point and called a friend, only to find out that they overslept? It's perfectly understandable if it's a one time thing because their alarm didn't work or something, but there are a lot of people out there who just snooze or turn the alarm off.

And if you're wondering what entertainment I've had, it's Survivor. Because it was the last 2 weeks of my internet cycle and the limit was far away I watched a lot of Survivor. I think I've watched 3 seasons now, and I'm fast becoming a huge fan of the show.

Survivor Micronesia (pic) remains as one of my favourite seasons, it had so many shocking exits and blindsides!

Anyway, this is Leona Lewis's I See You, which was the song in Avatar, the movie which, if I remember correctly, has now earned almost double that of Titanic's profits. Watch the video in HD, and it is simply amazing. Plus, the song's fantastic, gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. It's so heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time too, don't you think? The version posted here is not the HD version, you have to click on the video when it plays which will bring you to the YouTube link, then you can select HD. I can't post the HD video because I will have to make the video huge, which I don't think will fit in the blog.



Bone chilling, wasn't it?
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Wednesday, 21 April 2010
What's the Date?

One thing I've realised from being here is that I seem to be a slightly different person from back home. Library books can be found on the floor of my room, not stacked up; I seem to be able to live with dirtiness because I'm too lazy to clean the place, and I can't keep track of the date.

The beach!

Seriously, I really don't know what date it is. Sometimes it even takes me sometime to figure out the day. I think it's mainly because back home, there were several calendars at home so I can always look at them. Here, I don't, unfortunately.

So that's that. I think the main reason of my change in 'personality' is that there just seem to be more things to worry about- what to eat, when to pay the bills, etc.

I wouldn't say that I'm a completely different person, because back home I do have piles of books stacked untidily or dusty cabinets, but I guess here it grew a little bit more as I become more lazy, or "I have more important things to think about".

Anyway, here are the two things I cooked.

First: Chicken in caramel sauce.

I used potatoes, onions and chicken only. First I fried them, then added water, finally mixing it with caramel sauce (dark soy sauce equivalent) and soy sauce. I think normally back home just dark soy sauce is enough, but caramel sauce tastes different, it does not have any saltiness to it. And I used corn flour to make it more viscous.

Next: Omelette

 A beat egg, with onions. Nothing special to it.  

And does anyone watch Survivor? This is a very funny video, if you know who Rupert is!



Enjoy!
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Monday, 19 April 2010
Teaching Break

I have one more week of my teaching break, and I will be focussing on my assignments.

Sadly, I had failed to start on them last week, being caught up with the laziness and visiting places.

Me, reading a board at the pier. It was really that cold that I had to have my hoodie on! 

I had visited the beach, it was not bad. The weather was pretty cold, and we just walked around, and managed to see the sunset! It was amazing, we walked to a spot where we could see the sunset just in time. We started taking pictures, and in under 2 minutes it went below the ocean line. We were really, really lucky to have managed to capture a picture of it.

And that, folks, is the sunset, that I took with my phone's camera.

Panda!

I also visited...the ZOO! It was pretty much the same, except that Adelaide Zoo boasts 2 star attractions: pandas. Wangwang and Funi, the highlight of Adelaide Zoo. Personally, I felt that it was a bit of a turn off. Everywhere, they talk about the pandas. There were gift shops and posters and souvenirs of the pandas, and when we bought our ticket we were given a ticket called a 'pandatix'. It's the entry to the panda closure. They called it something like 'panda show', and there was a time on the ticket saying when we can enter, so I thought it would be a performance, but guess what? It was just for us to enter the exclusive panda closure to see the pandas live their lives. 

 SELAMAT DATANG! 

Look! Selamat Datang! In ADELAIDE! Wanna know why! Adelaide zoo splits their animals into different sections, based on where they're from. There's this part, where, unsurprisingly, is where some animals found in Malaysia and Indonesia are kept, like the Malaysian sun bear, the tapir, the Sumatran tiger, etc. 

And now, here's the new feature of my blog: Food!

I will be talking about the food I've cooked in Adelaide. I've only just started today, so this is the first picture I've taken.

So, I will start with today: Tom Yam Fried Rice.

Ingredients: Rice (obviously), potatoes, onions, ikan bilis, fishballs, kangkong and sliced chillies with tomyam paste.

Basically, I dumped the onions and potatoes into the heated oil, then followed it up with the ikan bilis and rice. Stirred till the rice became hot (it was rice from the fridge) then added the kangkong (which is almost a week old and looked like dried tea leaves) and fishballs, and then added the tomyam paste. The cut chillies came in last. Took about 5-10 minutes to cook (I think) and about the same time or less to prepare.

The tomyam paste was actually a life saver, when I first arrived here I had nothing to cook, so I cooked rice and fried it with the tomyam paste. But since I got the caramel sauce (which is basically the equivalent of dark soy sauce back home) I've not used the tomyam, and I wanted to be reminded of how I had lived for the past 2 months, and also because I felt it right that my first 'recipe' here should be one of the first things I cooked here. Although, I didn't have this many ingredients, so I just fried rice with ikan bilis and fishballs, I think. I can't remember. Like I said a few posts back, I don't remember how I managed 3 meals a day.

So anyway, there it is. Tomyam fried rice. Hmmm, maybe I should start a food blog, no?
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Friday, 16 April 2010
World Changer

J.K Rowling was named one of the top 125 women who changed the world!

That seems hardly surprising to me, considering how, with the Harry Potter books, she managed to get so many people to read! I myself am included in that category. I had not enjoyed reading, until Harry Potter. Actually, it was the movie that caught my attention before I decided to give reading the books a go.

Also, she's hinted, or maybe confirmed, that she will be writing an 8th Potter book. However she said it will not be about Harry anymore, she'll be writing from a different character's perspective. I'm pretty interested in having a prequel; I'd like to know the history of the characters and how events occurred that made Harry an orphan.

What to do when you're bored: Google yourself! Look at the last one... It's a Swedish link to my Facebook profile! 

Since we're on the topic of the media, I've been watching Survivor quite a lot recently. I think it's a really good show, it tells you that no matter how bad a hand you're dealt, just carry on and don't give up because you don't know what's coming your way. It could just save you. For sure, many contestants had faced the chopping block before something happened that allowed them to claw their way back into the game.

As for my life, it's pretty much the same. Nothing's changed in my lifestyle, although I may be feeling less homesick now. And I've started to work on my assignments due after the break, so really this holiday is not like a holiday at all. Typical.

And finally, this is a song by Kings of Convenience, titled Homesick.

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Wednesday, 14 April 2010
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I was very surprised to find the word 'Malaysia' in our local newspaper's (The Advertiser) website.

The article? Apparently Malaysia is now the headquarters in smuggling people into Australia.

Now I'm not too sure how much coverage there is on people smuggling into Australia back home, but it's quite a big issue here. There's this place called Christmas Island, where the asylum seekers would arrive in and, well, seek asylum. It's a pretty big issue here because the numbers are increasing.

And now, they've found that smugglers operate mainly in Malaysia.

An investigation in Malaysia by The Advertiser shows the process, under which countries such as Malaysia are supposed to share intelligence with Australia, is failing.

People smugglers continue to operate in Malaysia with little disruption from the authorities.

The big Kuala Lumpur syndicates connect with smaller syndicates operating out of Johor state, in southern Malaysia. A group of people smugglers took The Advertiser to the four most active exit points in Johor.

It does not stop there. The syndicates are deeply connected in Australia. They allow some asylum seekers to travel "free" on the condition they repay the money within 12 months.

In some cases, the syndicates help asylum seekers find work in Australia so they can repay them.

Now I would think twice before telling people I come from Malaysia. It is a nice place with a rich culture, but at the same time, with this in people's minds, they might not be as hospitable. And there's even this comment that made it so much worse:

Interesting in Malaysia if you smuggle drugs, you can get the death penalty. If you smuggle human lives, they turn a blind eye.

You can read the full article here.
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Friday, 9 April 2010
Slight Diversion

I finally, after such a long time, completed my assignments! I can't believe it took me such a long time, it seems like I started doing it so long time ago, yet I kept getting stuck and didn't know what to write, and as a result I had to do some last minute work.

But I managed to submit it on time, still. That's one of the good things about UniSA, or universities in general. Assignments are handed in online, so I can do it from the comfort of home. I wouldn't need to go all the way to uni to hand in the assignment, although I did that today for one of the assignments as the lecturer had requested for a hard copy as well as a soft copy.


My farewell, at Pavilion. We went to MyThai at Starhill for dinner.

So here begins my 2 week break. It will be interesting to see how I spend my time; it'll be so boring I think. Hopefully I'll find something to while the time away.

Here's a video on The Star Online on the resignation of Wanita MCA chief Chew Mei Fun:



Is it me, or did her deputy a.k.a the new leader seem a little too happy announcing her predecessor's resignation? Even smiling (and reading) about how they appealed to her to reconsider her resignation. Very convincing, that one.

I know, I went out of topic, if there even is one. Anyway, isn't it interesting to see debates on whether or not international students should return to Malaysia after graduation to contribute to our home country, or flee and find greener grasses elsewhere?



By the way, did you guys know that if you right click on a YouTube video, there's a 'Stop Download' function?

Both sides of the argument have their strong and weak points. Of course, I do get asked sometimes whether I intend to stay on or return home. Right now, I'm still undecided, but hopefully when the time comes I will be able to make a decision.

I've been following news back home as close as I can, reading online sites. It just feels nice to know what's happening back home. I don't even bother whether it's from the mass media or the alternative media, as long as it's from Malaysia, I'll read it.

Right, that wraps up this post. I know I went all over the place with this one with many unrelated topics, but they were all too short to be separated into different posts! Have a nice weekend!
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Wednesday, 7 April 2010
"If I Can Do It...."

Do you get annoyed when you hear someone say "if I can do it, so can you"?

I certainly do, and it is even more annoying when I realise I say it sometimes too.

Just today, while watching those morning programs, there was a segment where they were advertising this fitness machine that guarantees you will lose a certain amount of weight in a certain amount of time. Then a lady said "if I can do it, so can you!"

 One day during my first few weeks here, I visited Hahndorf, a German town in Adelaide along with some other people. That was the German platter meal, doesn't look big but it's absolutely huge in reality. It says serves two people, but it was shared by 4 of us!

If that was the case, then I would be a Hollywood heartthrob by now who's earning 50 million dollars a year.

People are just different, we're all programmed differently. Some things you just do better than others, some things not. That's why there are terrorists and nature lovers; carnivores, omnivores and herbivores.

And that, my friends, is what was left. The 4 of us were the most efficient eaters, our plate was the cleanest. I'm not taking all the credit, but hey, I contributed!

You would think that we humans would recognise that. Maybe we do, but advertisers just found this a very effective way to motivate people to buy their products. And I think teachers back at school used it too? "If so and so can do it, there's no reason why you can't". Especially used during deadlines.

Speaking of deadlines, I'm facing two on Friday. I've more or less completed one, except that I'm not satisfied with it and am trying to improve it, and another which is almost finished. Somehow I'm feeling jittery still, I feel like it's not up to standard. Maybe it's just because I'm still new here and am unsure of the system, but I really don't feel very confident about this assignment.

I'm thankful that after Friday there will be a 2 week teaching break, when I can catch up on my other assignments. Most of my subjects have this journal that we have to do every week, so I will have to catch up on the last few weeks that I've not managed to complete.

Anyway, the point I was trying to say was, all of us are uniquely different, just because someone is capable of doing something doesn't mean that everyone else can too. It just doesn't make sense, especially when you think about the difference in wealth and class standing of us humans.

That's all for now. Right now my bed's really, really inviting. Have a good night!
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Saturday, 3 April 2010
I Miss Too!

It feels good to hear the prefect juniors back in SJ greeting me like how they used to.

Waiting for my bro by the school gate and seeing prefects walking out - while afternoon session ones walk in, holding their prefect file like how we used to - and (hey it's a Friday) seeing Badminton Club members in PJ shirts, carrying their racket bags, walking to the SS15 hall with a group of friends; wow this is making me think of the days when I used to do those stuff!

I miss walking around the school compound with my blazer.

I miss tick-tack-tick-tacking on the P.A system.

I miss making announcements every 7.20am, 7.30am and even 7.25am in the rainy mornings.

I miss tying the flags every morning (although Weng Seng always scolded us because they looked ugly).

I miss raising the flags on Mondays (although he also scolds us when we're too fast/slow).

I miss running up and down on Mondays, getting prepared to host the assembly.
I miss emceeing in SJ.

I miss patrolling the school compound on normal weekday mornings, opening all the stair grilles.

I miss going to Zubaidah on special days, getting the hall keys and opening the hall doors.

I miss putting my hand out in a Spotcheck Line, shouting "COLOURED BRA!"

I miss filing BDs in the BP.

I miss labeling barang larangan with stickers.
AH! There's so many things I miss! I miss them, because they make me feel useful!

Those, were the days we'll never get back. Pretty emo-ish to think about it. :(

That was taken from EL's blog. I felt that I just had to post this up, because I feel the same way. I think you would have known that I'm still feeling homesick and missing those little things about home that seemed so insignificant before but not anymore.

Okay I admit that I only added this pic to brag about getting 2 silver medals in the school's badminton tournament. I lost, but hey, silver medalists are Datukship material okay!

When I look back and reflect on my high school life, I felt that it was really an amazing time in my life. I miss every single detail of it. I missed the innocence, the prefectorial duties, eating in class (remember the keropok days, EL?), plagiarizing work (no kidding. I copied a friend's work 100%) which I can no longer do, and so many more the list goes on and on.

It just goes to show how important high school is. I went through college, and am in uni now, but I still look back fondly to my high school days. Sure there were many mistakes made, but the fun times completely outweigh them.

Reading EL's post not only reminded me of how much I miss my school life, but also on how different our 'prefectorial careers', if you can call it that, was. And yet, we stayed as friends! I didn't enter the PA board, I entered Discipline instead; and I definitely was never good at spotchecks. It just wasn't one of my strengths. I think the perception of my strength in school was, uhm, handling money. But I like to think of it more along the lines of administration. But we do miss the same thing, in essence.

And it isn't just being a prefect that I miss. There are so many other beautiful, priceless memories that I had in school. The only regret I have is not taking pictures of them. Maybe I will embark on a mission to find any ones that remain on the Net.

My time in high school was definitely the best time of my life I've had, especially the last year, and I would do it again in an instant.

To end this post, here's a song that I feel captures what I feel right now to some extent, and probably what EL feels as well.




To any high school students who are reading this, enjoy it while it lasts!
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Friday, 2 April 2010
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I've remembered what I originally planned to write about last night: Earth Hour.

I think tomorrow would make it a week since the event? I'm not sure, I'm horrible with dates these days.

Anyway, I didn't 'celebrate' Earth Hour by turning off my lights. In fact, I carried on with my life as usual. It's not that I'm unconcerned about the Earth, it's just that I have other priorities, like my assignments. I mean, how many lecturers you know would give you a deadline extension because you switched off your lights? I doubt it, because I can still use the computer with the lights off, which leads me to my next point- you can have all the lights off and still have your electricity meter running as usual.

I also read an interesting column by Andrew Bolt (no idea who he is) in our local newspaper here:

Earth Hour. Could there be a better symbol of this feckless age in which seeming counts for more than doing? In which we pose as noble for having done something as pointless as it's painless?

If I really thought man's gases were heating the world so dangerously that, as Al Gore says, “the future of human civilisation is at stake”, I’d feel the call to do more than turn off some lights for just one hour a year.


But, no, on Saturday night, tens of thousands of your fellow citizens made a huge show about how good they were to do for one hour what they couldn’t be bothered doing for the other 8759.

So to save the planet from apocalyptic global warming, the lights on the Sydney Harbour Bridge were turned off. For one hour.

To save the planet from frying, government buildings were dimmed. For one hour.

Here and there, the houses of green activists went dark. For one hour - and even then the fridge was left running, because we can’t let the peas defrost just to stop Armageddon.

But, but, but, the apologists will splutter, this is really just about “raising awareness”. So you know, we’ll then Do Something.

Ah, raising awareness. That refuge of people who love to nag others rather than do the hard yakka themselves.

Reality check: anyone not already aware of the great global warming scare?

Now, anyone doing much to actually “stop” it? 

I found that I agreed with him, most of the time anyway. I mean, are we really going to make this a yearly thing?


After one hour, we go back to our lives. Corporate executives would still fly in their luxurious private jets. Hollywood celebrities would still spend money buying a 5 bedroom home for ONE person to live in. Oh and a certain country would still be using nuclear weapons in the name of 'defence'.

Read the full piece here.
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Thursday, 1 April 2010
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Tomorrow's Easter, and so it's a public holiday. And Saturday. Sunday and Monday, too.

Easter's this huge holiday in Australia, even April Fool's take a back seat. I have not heard or seen any pranks that happened today. Or maybe it's just that people in university don't prank others anymore, maybe they're 'grown up'. Or they just want the holiday season to come.

Honestly, I had totally forgotten that today's April Fool's until Yi Xian reminded me of the prank a few of us played on him two years ago.

So I will be staying at home, doing nothing but assignments. Maybe I will go out, but that is if there are people who are willing to and shops that are open. During festive seasons everyone goes on holidays. That's the difference with back home I guess. We think from the customers' point of view that they need to go to places during holidays and shops should therefore be open, whereas here they think from the shopkeepers' side that even they should get a break on holidays.

I find that I'm missing driving more and more. Just the other day I peeked into cars just to see whether it was a car with an automatic gearbox or a manual one.

And I'm actually dreading the holidays. I have a 4 day Easter break, then 3 days of classes, then a 2 week teaching break. Since I was young I had loved holidays, but this time I find myself having nothing to do, which means I will have to be cooped up at home, alone. No Pyramid outings, no Old Taste or Hassan yam cha sessions.

I can't seem to remember what I originally planned to write, so I'll just stop here. When I do remember, I'll try to remember it and write it down!

But to end this post, here's the awesome trailer to Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief that I've been dying to watch: 

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