Tuesday, 29 June 2010
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I have absolutely no will to blog right now, so I'll leave you guys with a couple of trailers of movies that will be coming out this year:

I just can't wait for these movies to come out, I want to watch them already! And of course, part one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! A trailer for the movie came out recently:

I swear, I will be holding back tears when the series comes to an end!
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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Review Teachers and Syllabus?

Few days ago, there was an article in The Star on the need for our country's education system to be reviewed.

DAP strategist Tony Pua said:

Removing examinations will make little or no difference if our education system doesn’t encourage creativity, critical thinking and innovation.

I totally agree with that. From my experience studying in Australia, I can see that the students are much more analytical. When a question in posed in class everyone would pounce on it immediately; it takes me a longer time to reach the same conclusion. Through their education, I believe that they learned that there is no right or wrong answers, and should not be afraid to speak up, which is something I'm still working on.

Citing an example, Pua said instead of asking “What year did the Portuguese conquer Malacca?”, students should instead be asked “Was it inevitable that Malacca would lose to the Portugese in 1511?”, which he said will encourage greater critical thinking among students.

It is absolutely right to say that critical thinking should be fostered. Our education systems rely on having right or wrong answers; as a result students are forced to remember a whole lot of facts. But I do remember there being more questions that fostered thinking in my History paper for the SPM. I recalled there being questions that did not require any facts; they were questions that were neither right nor wrong.

Scrapping the UPSR and PMR is, I think, a good decision. But of course, if not implemented correctly the move will not make a difference. And when I checked just a few minutes ago the poll on The Star Online on whether the two examinations should be scrapped, majority of respondents had disagreed. Of course, there may be good arguments for this, but all I can imagine is my primary school teachers who saw examinations as a measure of intelligence and success.

There was this particular deputy headmistress who, whenever any exams approached, would ask students during the assembly whether we had studied. Then she would continue to say that if we hadn't been studying it is too late. If that were true I wouldn't be where I am today. But she is who I imagine would oppose to scrapping examinations- someone who demands that extra classes are vital to help in understanding classes, and sees academic achievement as a measure of success.

I remember how I used to feel weird when my friends would say that their parents are pressuring them to start studying for exams. I rarely had anything like that. Occasionally if I really strayed I would get a reminder, but my parents had always been satisfied with whatever results I got. I was never under any pressure to perform well.

So just because someone isn't good academically, does not mean that they're not intelligent.
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Friday, 18 June 2010
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Did you know that in Sweden, men can take parental leave? As in, they take time off work to care for their babies.

In this land of Viking lore, men are at the heart of the gender-equality debate. The ponytailed center-right finance minister calls himself a feminist, ads for cleaning products rarely feature women as homemakers, and preschools vet books for gender stereotypes in animal characters. For nearly four decades, governments of all political hues have legislated to give women equal rights at work — and men equal rights at home. 

I read this article from the New York Times, where it was highlighted that in Sweden, it is expected for both genders to take leave to care for their newborn child. That's why they no longer use the term maternity leave- they use parental leave instead.

I think it's fantastic that Sweden did this. I mean, feminists are always campaigning for gender equality, but sometimes men are the ones being treated unfairly. I for one still remember teachers back in primary and secondary school who said that girls are more trustworthy than boys. So this move is, I think, pretty fair.

Understanding what it is to be home with a child may help explain why divorce and separation rates in Sweden have dropped since 1995 — at a time when divorce rates elsewhere have risen, according to the national statistics office. When couples do divorce or separate, shared custody has increased. 

Of course, it has it shortcomings (read the article here). But everything isn't perfect, right?

Anyway, tomorrow I'll be heading to Melbourne to see some friends and have a holiday, so I won't be able to update my blog anytime soon. I'll leave you with three videos of toilet pranks:

Didn't know you can surf on toilet seats!
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Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Social Media

I'm not sure whether I've put it here, but social media's apparently so popular and so powerful. And just look at how many politicians have blogs now. But I'm constantly wondering whether they wrote their blogs themselves or have an assistant be them instead.

Like our PM's blog, for example. It's updated pretty often, and sometimes I just wonder whether he writes those himself! I mean, I read recently that the Aussie PM apparently has fake Twitter followers! So anything can happen; even the PM's blog. And didn't someone say Mahathir has an assistant post what he writes on his blog?

Fried chicken with kimchi and sliced onions. No cooking required actually, just dumping the ingredients into the pan! And it didn't taste that bad, too. 

But no doubt, it has some usefulness in it. For one, it gives him a more approachable and personal aura. Then he also recently asked his readers what their academic qualifications were. The blog definitely provided information that is insightful.

But I guess this is one of the things that I've learned at uni, and that is don't trust everything you see online. I mean, obviously I knew I couldn't trust everything, but from being at uni I start to question more and more when I see something online. Even Hillary Clinton can be made to fart:

That was so funny, wasn't it? But it's completely fake.

Anyway, I've finished my first semester at university! Only five more to go, and I'm sort of hoping that it passes by quickly, because I'm just not adjusting as well as I hoped I would. Time definitely flies, it seems like not too long ago that I first set foot here! Unfortunately, I still have assignments due this week, but I'm almost done now! And considering I have no exams this semester, I feel so much better when I don't remember what I've learned in class!
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Saturday, 12 June 2010
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Few days ago (or maybe a week now), there was a column written in the NST about how language and speech is incredibly important.

The author mainly concentrated on the fact that we're now becoming less appreciative of language, and apparently 17 per cent of students in Britain are illiterate.

But he also talked about Malaysia, asking whether our level of competency in languages have improved:

We diverted funds into the sciences and engineering and medicine to fulfil the national need, and then it became fashionable to choose the so-called heavy options as nation after nation churned up more engineers and doctors and oceanographers than deep readers of books. What started as a necessity became a fashion, and the humanities were despised for their lack of practical use in everyday life, and to be seen to be delving in the arts soon became a sign of weakness and people feared that. And soon the fear turned into a dread.

Which I find to be really interesting, because I've always thought that that was the perception of many. To be successful, you need to be a doctor, or an engineer, or something along that path. Soon, those not in the sciences were regarded as unintelligent.

But I guess a lot of this stems from how you define intelligence, and back home, intelligence is defined by how much you know about the world, and how it works, how things in the world works, etc. Yet, my classmates can pounce on a question raised in class as quickly as a science student can answer a scientific question. So doesn't that make them just as smart? I mean, you can't blame it on the different education systems, because at the end of the day, it is still that- sciences and the humanities/ social sciences/ liberal arts.

I do wonder from time to time why did I choose this career path. After being at college I did realise that I had enjoyed studying science, but I never wanted to know about things in too much detail; just a rough idea of how things work, why things happen, etc.

But of course, the most important thing that people say is that you should never look back, so I shall take this advice and not think about it. Right now, I have deadlines to catch!

This is a song that was performed by Jaclyn Victor and Same-Same (don't know who that is!)
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Tuesday, 8 June 2010
The Deathly Hallows

The trailer for the second part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is here! Or maybe I just found out about it.

I can't wait for both movies to be released!

I remember I first journeyed into Harry's world when I was 10. I had just watched the first movie, and was enchanted by it, so I gave reading the books a try (I had never previously read any storybooks). And needless to say, I loved it!

I had mentioned in a previous post that what I liked about J.K. Rowling is that she had the entire plot planned out before she wrote the first book, and has created so much details about Harry's world that she did not write. Like the people in Harry's year, and the houses they're in. I mean, if I write a story myself one day, I definitely see myself doing a lot of planning first.

I think I'll be really sad when the movie comes to an end. But I'll save a heart wrenching, emotional post for when that day comes. For now, I'm just along for the ride.
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Sunday, 6 June 2010
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I've been reading a book called 'The Introvert Advantage', which is about introversion and how introverts can survive in an extroverted world.

No surprises then, that I am an introvert. I took a quiz in the book, and I scored 21 out of 30, with the higher score indicating a higher level of introversion. So yes, I'm pretty darn introverted.

I found the book highly interesting as it shattered stereotypes and expectations of introverts, but I'll only write about it when I've finished reading it.

Anyway, early this morning there was an earthquake in South Australia! Experts said that people in Adelaide could've felt it, but once again, if it did reach here I slept through it. One person commented that he/she always said they can sleep through an earthquake; the same can be said of me. The last time an earthquake hit, I felt nothing.

It really is funny, isn't it, that now everyone's saying the world will be ending in 2012. Yes, there are more natural disasters happening around the world, but somehow I'm very sceptical about the world ending. Perhaps there will be a huge disaster that will change the world forever, I don't know. But somehow, I just find it so hard to believe that the world will come to an end.

Some people also say that Hollywood contributed to this hysteria, and to a certain extent I agree. But as I've not watched 2012, I can't really say how much it influenced people. But continuously talking about it won't change anything. At the end of the day, we'll only know whether it's true when the day comes.

Tomorrow, I will be enjoying the luxury of sleep as I allow myself to sleep in. I think the last time I did this was at least 2 weeks ago. There just always seem to be something for me to do that required me to wake up early. And as I don't have any classes tomorrow, save a study group meeting to prepare for our presentation this week, which I'm actually a little nervous about, considering it's my first time speaking to a whole lot of Australians, and I'm anxious to find out how the experience will be like, and can't wait to get it over with so that I can focus on my other assignments!

Well, that's all for now. Sleep awaits. I shall end this post with a movie trailer- Killers starring Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher. Enjoy!

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Friday, 4 June 2010
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Today while strolling through the market, a schoolboy who was passing by with his classmates flashed me the Star Trek sign. Had I not been so surprised that someone communicated with me I would've replied 'live long and prosper'.

I actually had a good time at the market today, I didn't have much things to get, and I wasn't feeling rushed since the bags weren't too heavy and I had nothing else to do, so I could take my time and walk around, to take in the sights and sounds of the place. 

Two days ago, I received a call from the property manager, telling me that she will be showing someone the other room yesterday. I wasn't around when that happened, so I don't know whether or not I'll be having a housemate. If I do I hope he's friendly.

In one of my classes this week we learned about copyright. I think I've broken copyright law by posting pictures that aren't mine. But then again, I NEVER claim those pictures as mine, so it shouldn't count, right? Maybe I should put a disclaimer on my blog sometime, just in case.

It's amazing, that I last updated this blog 6 days ago. You can even say that a week has passed. Now I've only one week left in this semester, then another week for some assignments, then I'm done! My first semester in university. Soon I'll be finishing my second, then my third, and soon I'll be graduating!

Although I say that I'm pretty lonely here, I am still busy. There are just not enough hours in the day! Take yesterday, for example. My morning was spent cleaning the apartment before the property manager came, then I went to uni till 6pm (yes, my class ends at 6!). After cooking, having my dinner, showering and doing the dishes, I sat down on the couch to enjoy The Amazing Race on TV. Then it was time to sleep.

Speaking of TV programs, Lie To Me is a fantastic show. Instead of normal crime solving shows like CSI, NCIS, Castle, Bones, etc, Lie To Me is about detecting lies! And Tim Roth can rival House and Gibbs (of NCIS, I think?) in sarcasm and fantastic one-liners.

Last Sunday, I also went to a temple here in Adelaide for Wesak Day. I know, Wesak was on Friday, but it isn't a public holiday here. The temple's actually a house, and it catered mainly to the Thais. Most of the devotees are Thais, and the two monks are Thais too.

And that's my update for this week!
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