Mists are only pretty in prose and poetry

Once upon a time, one of the best medicines for me was writing. When I was sad, the pages of my diary would be filled from left to right, top to bottom. When I started blogging in 2000, I began to keep electronic diaries. Some were stored in the form of HTML pages, which I still keep until today. I was once a very active writer hiding behind pseudonyms because I have no confidence, only watching in silent pride when words from the bottom of my heart made their ways onto the pages of the newspapers. I used to take pride in my poems, songs, short stories, and even my musings.

I’m constantly feeling sad now; I don’t know if I should blame the weather or myself for making me feel like this. All I know is that I should really pick up writing again after a long time. Maybe I will be calmer that way, InsyaAllah. I believe this is the first blog entry after being called a teacher officially now, no? I’m a bit excited to write.

360 degrees twists and turns: The road to my school is a long winding one. There isn’t a day when I don’t feel like “Is this the day I die?” when I go to school every morning. I drive approximately 52km to and fro every day, going at 60~110km (usually 85km constant). My car eats up around RM250~300 worth of fuel per month, not counting the itty bitty maintenance bits. Well, that’s parts and parcel of working, I guess. Sometimes, I am envious of those who can walk to school and those who can reach school within 10~5 minutes because they honestly save a lot. If they complain, then obviously they aren’t grateful enough (or they’re just greedy and lazy, idk).

I couldn’t see oncoming cars because of narrow roads and sharp turns. Huge trucks are everywhere, every day. When I’m almost late to school (as in I have 20 more minutes to punch in before the print is red on my punch card), it’s natural that I would be very annoyed if I had to drive at 40km/h. Yet, there are rocks, red soil that could challenge the grip of your tyres, sometimes small streams of water (after a night of rain or when it’s raining) or even dirt-water pools, trucks going at 30km/h, motorcyclists using the roads as if they own them, etc etc. Sometimes, I just had to overtake the vehicles in front of me even though the road was too small, praying I’d be okay.

Thick, thick mists: We seldom drive with the high-beam on unless we’re leading the way at night where there aren’t any street lamps. Otherwise, we could incur the wrath of people driving on the other side of the road -_-” The situation is different with my usual route to school. The mist is so thick; I can barely see anything every morning. The fields to the left and to the right of the highway would be completely white and impenetrable. Using high-beam is a must to survive the journey. Every now and then when the clock shows time after 7.10am, there would be ignorant oncoming cars with their headlamps off. Overtaking is made impossible even if you’re going at 30km/h in this situation. They may have magnificent visions able to penetrate the thick blankets of mist, but I don’t. Most of us don’t. Even more annoying when you see oncoming cars overtaking the road, missing your car narrowly by less than 10 meters or so before assuming their right lane. I was going at 90km/h when this happened once. You can probably guess how scared I was.

So, yes. 6.30am when I start the engine, I’d be saying prayers after prayers while my brain would ask the usual question: “Is this the day I die? God, please don’t let this be the day.” Along the way, my treacherous brain would conjure up visions of how my loved ones would react in the aftermath of my passing. Well, let’s not jinx the ‘d’ word. My parents – my Mom especially would be more than just devastated. My beloved male counterpart, I try not to think about it at all. You know how painful it is to imagine a faceless person replacing yourself, standing next to your beloved. I pray for my safety. Pray for mine too? *winks*

Sometimes I cry while I drive to school. Sometimes I play the mp3s at very high volume until the motorcyclists look at my car like it’s a UFO. Well, that’s life I guess. Until the next entry~

Of Teaching, Placement & Bureaucracy

WARNING: Proceed reading this rant only if you’re matured, aware of some socio-political issues in Malaysia, and non-judgemental. Reading this with closed minds will get you nowhere. Comments like ‘Sabar, sabar’ and anything political will be disregarded

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My degree years are finally, finally, over. It was a long journey, but I made it. I’m 23, and I’m done with my degree. I hope I can do my masters soon, but there are things I must accomplish before that. Dreams are important. Reality, however, must always take precedence.

I am not the type of person who thinks about migrating and working overseas. The Malaysian system won’t cripple me much, so most of the time I’m not comfortable with talks about breaking away once the teaching contract is over. This country didn’t kill me while I was growing up. Something must be right somewhere. The only thing that teaching in Malaysia disappoints me is the placement part. Don’t even try to argue this shit with me; we all know how hard it is for teachers who are either born or live in Kelantan to get posted to Kelantan. We are always fed with shits about ‘There’s no more place in Kelantan. All full.

Heh.

Bullshit.

Explain the lack of teachers in my schools back in the years when I was still young. Hello. My house is surrounded by many schools that lack teachers. Words get around, and still they say it’s full? All of the time, I heard people grumbling “Because Kelantan is governed by the opposition party, so the central wants to teach them a lesson” blablabla crap. When you ask for transfers, you need cables. Families and friends always come first. Complete, utter, political bullshit. Bureaucracy. Professionalism? Floating in the drain most of the time, maybe.

Personally speaking, I don’t want to teach in Kelantan for some reasons (not political, thank you very much. I hate that stuff). I’m making sacrifices because of my mother, who’s now old and always down with sickness. I’ll have years ahead of me, InsyaAllah, but my parents are old. There’s only myself and my two brothers. My parents are both above 60 years old, only have three children, and only ONE daughter, so is it too much to ask for when we hope to get posted somewhere nearby so we can check up on them always?

Seriously, people don’t feel anything if it doesn’t happen to them. Empathy is lost, I suppose.

I don’t remember the name of this one official from the education division, but she said she was involved in placement (as told by her in her super long speech). She told stories about how this one woman requested to get posted near her parents’ house, and when she finally got posted (by asking that official personally), she only got to spend a little time before her mother passed away. Would the female teacher get her transfer if she had only applied for transfers the normal way (aka the paper system)? Meh, don’t think so.

My brother has been applying for transfer, and his application has always been rejected. Just very recently, 6 of his friends’ transfer requests were approved. Not to Kelantan, OF COURSE.

So, full huh? I want full statistics, complete with school names, staff list, fields of practice and divisions of work. That’s how they can redeem themselves in my head.

Peace, out.

A Crack in the Wood & A Splash in the Sand

A couple of weeks ago, I submitted my last assignment. Just a few days ago, I sat for my final exam. The next semester? It’s all practicum. I’ll be going to SMK Seri Saujana (info, anyone?) with Hanin and Mira, but this post isn’t about practicum. Not yet. It’s not that I’m not ready to go into school for actual teaching. I’ll be lying if I say I’m not scared, because I am, but I’m not ready to let go just yet.

I may be quick to have a change of heart at certain things, but to let go of the last five years is something very hard. I know I’d still see my best buddies until the end of this semester and during practicum. Next year is still over 6 months away but I’m already thinking about separation. I know I’m not close to every one of my coursemates, but I acknowledge and applaud them for their unique personality that makes them… well, them. You can describe someone without mentions of names and we’d probably right away know whom you’re talking about. If I can sum up my coursemates in one word, I only know of one:

A W E S O M E

I probably won’t ever come across similar lot of people anymore – people with talents ranging from sewing to drawing to singing to playing multiple musical instruments to sports et cetera et cetera. It makes me a bit sad. When I return to my hometown, it’s probably going to be even harder to find people like them. Don’t try to correct me. I know this by experience. Even if you think your lot is 100 times more awesome, I can’t verify that since I don’t know them (duh!). Will there still be someone who’d listen to me when I speak or joke?

When I was in secondary school, I remember my teacher saying something like “The friends you make during the last 5-6 years of your life as students are likely to be the ones who’d stay in touch with you throughout your whole life our of pure friendship. They’re likely to be the ones you’d remember the most anyway, so cherish them always.” I seriously hope this is true.

Mira, Hanin, Khairiyyah, Nisrin, Hijrah, Lucille, Zu Lee, Rozi, Dyau, Fifi (I’m stuck calling you that, LOL, sorry!), Zaki, Fayadh, Atie and the name goes on. You guys know which ones of you lot changed bits and pieces of my previously monotonous life. You made me smile, smile, smile, laugh, cry, laugh, smile, cry, smile, and you let me feel all sorts of feelings and emotions – so much that sometimes I’m scared of how dependent I’ve become on my friends. Thank you for being my friends. Thank you for even listening to whatever I’ve crapped about.

I’ve been through changes, like the once smooth surface of wood now lavished with cracks here and there that let sunshine, wind and even rain through. Some parts, though, remain the same, but not so – just like a splash of water to the sand. Splashes after splashes, changes in texture are bound to happen, but they probably would not be so noticable, unlike those obvious cracks in the wood. Some changes made me happy, some not so. I want to leave IPBA so much because sometimes, it feels like I’m living in a military camp where some of the higher ups bark rudely and bitchy-ly most of the times. At the same time, I don’t want to leave my friends and the happy time we had.

And now I also have wonderful juniors as apartment mates and young friends, and special mention to Shap for being my cute and not so naive (anymore because there’s Mira and me , LOL) roommate. Our time of knowing each other is short, but at least I want you people to know how happy you made me feel when you acknowledged my existence.

I’m being emotional. Maybe it’s the time (4.18am). Maybe it’s just me.

And now I’ve lost the stream of words I was supposed to write down. Maybe I’ll continue later.

Ciao.

p.s/ Credit to Zaki for the photo.

To the people of the Department of Idiotic Idiosyncrasy

So I’ve taken an insanely long break from serious blogging not because I’ve lost interest in writing, but because I couldn’t get my fingers to type on the keyboard as smoothly as I once did anymore. I keep telling myself that it’s fine, it’s okay, it’s not like I have people who’d miss me, etc etc.

The final year is a bit taxing. So many assignments and deadlines to meet. So many activities. The experience is made worse by authorities who hide under the pretense of ‘the ones who prioritise students affairs’. I’m not going to put names (obviously, duh), but I’m sure fellow friends would be able to recognise them by mere descriptions← That’s how much they’re scowled upon.

The Department of Idiotic Idiosyncrasy: Maybe there are a couple of nice people in this department, but there aren’t many of them there. Doing everything on short notices is synonymous with this department. They want everything to be done quickly, but they work at the speed sometimes slower than snails. Let’s not talk about being efficient and dedicated. If you dare tell it to my face that you think they’re the efficient bunch in this college, I’ll gladly smile in your face and tell you to fuck off.

I’d love to know if they’ve actually taken a measure to make things easier to us students – efforts that we can all recognise and rejoice and actually praise them for. They can do everything for the sake of keeping the college name ‘untainted’ (lolwhat? too late for that, no?), but they can’t do shit to make our life easier. I’ve never hated a group of people more than I’ve grown to hate this department of idiotic idiosyncrasy. I’d love to try calling them ‘idiosyncrasical’ and see if they actually understand the word. I bet they’d take it as a compliment if I say it with a smile.

Mister Bastardass: No, he’s not even a lecturer. I bet this guy knows not the meaning of ‘respect’. I don’t even know if he actually really respects his superiors or he’s just been getting on their good sides for the selfish reason of getting a good standing. His temper is worst than a stormy day. Screaming here and there, treating students like kids. LIKE KIDS. We’re over 20, you idiot. You obviously know nothing about psychology, much less pedagogy, so stop barking at tree trunks. You don’t know how to communicate with kids. You confuse fear for respect. You THINK you are feared/respected. Well, observation says you’re not feared. Respected? Dream on.

You know, you don’t shout at adults. You don’t raise your voice and think we’re a bunch of kids who know nothing. You don’t shout at people and think that we’re a bunch of rebellious tweens.  We’re adults and we’re rebellious, so what? Think about the bunch of people (cough, mainly the department of idiotic idiosyncrasy) who gave us no option but to be rebelious for the sake of our rights (or the lack of it, as recognised by the aforementioned department) Like it or not, we’ve been to places you’ve never been to before. Essentially, it’s not arrogant of me to tell you that we actually know better than you when it comes to (ahem) the education system. So? Just… stfu.

Madame Loudspeaker: I don’t remember seeing her around before going to New Zealand, so she’s a new face to me. Oh, what a new face hers is! The first encounter with her was shitty. Commenting on mine and Mira’s watches won’t give you any credit, woman. Trying to sell us your sewing kits or the likes won’t earn you any credits too. She abuses the PA System like nobody’s business. She acts totally like she owns the whole living complex, signing off everything under the name of the Department of Idiotic Idiosyncrasy. She tries to act like her real namesake, but she fails horribly at it. Very, very horribly.

There was once when she made a comment to me and I was in a bad mood. She did’t have to authority to barge into my personal life, so I glared at her and ignore everything she said, giving her with a mere “Could you please stop complaining? It’s my life you’re trying to intrude upon”. I bet I was not that polite when I said it, but you get the point. I’m seriously tired of listening to her high pitched voice over the PA System, with announcements laden with fake concern and grammatical mistakes that could make even school children learning Malay cry. Please, please, please learn the basic of plural nouns in Malay language *cries*.

I really want to know if they really do think about us students when making decisions. For example, our apartment is cramped with so many students and still they’re thinking of stuffing more. There was this incident where Madame Loudspeaker came into my apartment with two guys from (I don’t know) the higher ups’ department in Putrajaya. Room D is not that big. The most you can fit into the room is 3. Those guys had the nerve to ask “Oh, can’t we put five people inside?”. …. Get five of them to sleep there for just a night and get their feedback the next day. If they give you positive feedback, they obviously lie through their nose.

I don’t know what Madame Loudspeaker said/did because I was still pissed at the fact that she let two guys into an all-girl’s apartment and then left our apartment door ajar when they left. Courtesy, woman. Courtesy! And then the notes about us having to empty our rooms to give room to teachers attending courses during the holiday was just plain stupid and inconsiderate. It was signed with ‘honourable mention’ of the Department of Idiotic Idiosyncrasy too.

So…

Awesome people we have back in the old college, huh? ^__^

The manifestation of Fear in Dreams. Or nightmares.

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I’ve always known that I have some kind of fear of failures, but I didn’t think it would haunt me in my dream. Despite my dislike of writing about dreams, I find myself compelled to write this one for memory’s sake. In most of the dreams that I could remember, I was always in school or academy – the kind of environment that’s only suitable for learning. Last night was different in a way that it deals specifically with assignments. For some reason, my dream self did not submit an assignment due in January and only realised about it when it was already October. I was not sure if I truly did not submit it, or it was just my fear taking over (in the dream, of course). There was arguing and begging and pleading with the lecturer in charge of that subject.

What woke me up was the lecturer’s words, “They are all looking to catch you off guard and fail you. You know you’re finished if you fail the next one.”

I never failed a single paper in life. Not ever. I guess this is what the last semester does to me. I’m not performing as good in two of my subjects now, so the fear of failure is taking over me. It’s funny to have myself flail and squeak and freak out, unlike my previous self who would study like mad by now.

I just can’t find it in me to study so diligently like when I was in secondary school, chasing after scores and grades. The enjoyment I could gain only from studying seems to be gone somewhere. I can’t feel it anymore. Now that I think about it, maybe it wasn’t what I should call ‘enjoyment’. It was not even ‘self-accomplishment’. It’s more like a ‘drive’ to please and fulfill the desires and meet the expectations of everyone around me. I failed to realise that all along, that was my fear of getting scorned by others, mainly my parents.  This particular fear is one that binds my dreamscape to school scenarios up until now.

It’s somewhat irritating, really. Hmph, and this entry is so pointless it hurts.