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.

Nothing is pretty under direct sunlight

With my darling school kiddos ♥

My practicum ends in three days. It seems like yesterday I had a bout of denial about going to school and teaching for real. It was a long road full of challenges but also a lot of fun. When you see the children’s faces lighting up in amusement at whatever you do in the classroom, you feel as though you’ve done something right. That was how my practicum had been up until today.

Weekdays: My weekdays have been hijacked by practicum. I’m not complaining much about it. Not really. I was actually quite amused that the English classes I took over were almost always on the last period before they changed the schedule completely just before Ramadhan. My classes mostly ended at 6.45pm. Funny, really… Shops are not yet open early in the morning. After school, I only have a few hours before the hostel curfew. Ergh. Afternoon session can be very depressing at times. No more cheap student-price movies on weekdays. Hello extra charges on weekends! It will come back to normal next week, though. I should feel happy right?

Car: Honestly speaking, I never thought I’d have a car this year. The car I have now, my first car, is courtesy of my parents, my brother and my sis-in-law. The last couple of weeks were filled to the brim with work, work, and more work. Before getting the car, I went to school from IPBA to SMK Seri Saujana by taxi. On good days, the trip cost around RM25 per day, shared by two people. On days where the taxi drivers or the weather try to screw us over, the cost can go up to RM30+ in just one day. SOBS. I had to walk downhill to find taxis, holding more than 3 bags weighing over 2kg each. It’s very unfair when you think about the ones who don’t have to pay as much for taxi fares because they’re either very close to their homes or very close to the hostel (depending on where they’re staying at).

School kids: When I first came in, I was scared to take over their classes. I have no idea how I was supposed to teach them near the end of the year when they were already used to their current English teacher. Everything turned out okay in the end, though, and I’m glad. I’ll post another entry when practicum ends about the wonderful kids I had the fortune to teach.

Relationships: Friendship and romantic relationship were tested to the fullest during the practicum, at least in my opinion. You learn how to juggle workload and manage time so that you can still communicate with each other during this busy time. So many time we hurt each other because this is the time when we feel cornered by so many tasks, lesson plans, observations and our own selfishness. Crying myself to sleep becomes something normal to do every night when everyone else doesn’t notice. Let’s see if anything changes after practicum ends 🙂

Money: This issue is of extreme importance. Paying for so many things on our own is tough. Extremely tough. From petrol to photocopies to many other extras – and the claim takes a bloody long time to come in because some idiots from our course decided not to give shits. I don’t care if they’re friends. They’re still douchebags for failing to do what they were supposed to do. When it concerns money, I will be very touchy. It’s not just practicum.

It’s been a long time since my last blog entry. I think I forgot how to write 😐

Sorting Memories & Walking on a puff of air

I thought the most flattering thing a girl could ever receive from a guy on his confession is a bouquet of red roses. Apparently, I was wrong. Being presented with a ring that carries so many of a person’s hope and feelings defeats all other thoughts I may have had. Maybe I was dumbstrucked by the words he said, or maybe it was the ring, which strangely fits my ring finger so well. I’m not so conceited as to think that maybe, this is fate that was waiting to happen, but I was hit by pleasant warm feelings that made me all calm, warm and fuzzy.

If you ask me where, when and how it started, I won’t be able to tell you because I myself don’t even know. I was pretty convinced that it wasn’t me he liked, considering his adamant repetition of “I don’t want a teacher” and the sudden “It definitely wouldn’t be me” when I joked with my friends about something like “Lol, who the heck is the poor husband who marries me XD”. What was I supposed to think when someone tells me something like that? I guess you can say that that was the first time I sort of thought that he thought I like him, and that he was giving reminders to me so I don’t continue liking him. Surely you wouldn’t be so serious telling other people the criteria of the partner you want in life, especially when the criteria goes against the other people, unless you want them to get away from you… right?

Or so I thought. So in an attempt to make him feel at ease with me, I summoned the picture of someone I used to have feelings for and used the feelings I once had for him to pretend I was still hung up on him. I felt bad for using people, but hey, I was trying to preserve a friendship here! If he thinks I like someone else, surely he won’t think I, um, like him…right?

Again, so I thought.

Now let’s fast forward a little bit. He started talking to me more. He started spending more time with me , and for some unknown reasons, I couldn’t find it in me to turn him down when he asks me out for dinner etc, even if he was asking me in his roundabout ways most of the time (until I had to ask him ‘Do you want me to accompany you?’. Seriously!). At this point, people who know me well started giving me hints, pointers and whatever else you’d call a wild rumour. Catcalls? That’s the least of my worry then. Of course I didn’t believe them. In my mind, he was still so adamant about wanting nothing to do with someone like me, so there’s no way he was spending time with me because he liked me more than just a friend.

Not much happened after that. So many beating around the bushes and so many hints that I regarded purely as false hints. A couple of days after the exam, we had dinner where he asked me to watch a movie with him at the cinema. I said yes because somehow, spending time with him has become something like a habit. We started YMing. For once, my YM behaved pretty nicely, so we ended up chatting for a whole night. In the middle of our conversation, he suddenly went into contemplative mode where he started a string of conversation I couldn’t understand (until much later). I know I’m slow when it concerns my own self, but I never thought I was that slow. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t understand what he was trying to tell me, so I cried. I always cry when my emotion is on the extremes – too frustrated, too angry, too sad… It’s just something I think I got from my Mom =)

I stared into the mirror for quite a while before I went to bed, thoughts swirling in my head. And then I thought about one person I thought I still have one-sided feelings for up until a certain point in time. Actually, I don’t quite feel anything for him anymore as I’ve learnt to let go over the years. I know I’ve stopped thinking about that person a couple of years back. I also know that at one point in time, I was mildly interested in him (him as in him, not that person) but I didn’t put much thought into it. That was foundation years, maybe? I couldn’t remember.

It took me a while to realise that I may possibly have stronger feelings for him after all, and that scared me into tears.

Moving on. The movie outing was nice but confusing as hell. I don’t know if he was simply teasing me, or if he’s trying to give more direct hints. Direct hints or not, I was not convinced. Time to pry a bit more? Yes, of course! I don’t really like prying, but my heart was at stake. If he really does feel something for me, maybe then I’d admit that I do feel something for him too. I’m too used to burying my feelings deep inside me, so I didn’t know how deep my feelings for him run. Even at that point in time, it’s probably deeper than I thought if he was affecting me so much in so many ways. Not amusing, okay? Hmph.

The next day, we went out with Hanin, watching the same movie. More hints and teasings. From ‘our house in the future’ to Love Letter to heart-shaped onigiris, right until before we went back. I was waiting for a time where he won’t suspect a question from me, so I asked him midway as we were walking to the taxi stand. I hate to recall our brief conversation because I totally interpreted what he said as something along the lines of ‘I’m actually just using you in order to rediscover my feelings‘. That was my interpretation. The hurt intensified. I was ready for a firm ‘No, I don’t feel anything for you’ or ‘No, I was just playing with you’ or ‘No, I don’t like you.’

I never cried so hard out of frustration and possibly anger in a long time. I cried so very hard for most part of the night until I fell asleep.  The last time I did something similar was probably in 2007 because of some issues… heh, not worth remembering. I was holding on to his phone and HDD at that time. Just one look and I got frustrated all over again. Heck, I even saw him in anything red and black, like my own Nintendo DS – and I got frustrated all over again and again and again. When I woke up in the middle of the night to find a few lines left by him on my IM, I let my fingers smash the keyboard keys. I let him know how hurt I was, and I gave him an ultimatum. That wasn’t very nice of me, but I was tired. So very tired of feeling weighted down by the unknowns. In my own twisted way, I want to hurt him as much as he hurt me, or at least just let him feel the hurt I felt. I don’t care anymore. If he doesn’t tell me soon, if he continues to be so indifferent in his roundabout ways, if he asks me to forget about everything that transpired for the past few days, I’m not sure I could talk to him like I always did.

I was edgy the next day. I went into the lecture hall without looking up. I simply grabbed an empty seat and sat down. Hanin actually texted me to tell me that he was pestering her about wanting to talk to me. I actually smiled then. At least he still wanted to talk to me. I was actually scared that he’s just going to be the average guy who’d shrug everything off at his convenience. I’m not used to staying angry at someone for long, but this time, I’m not going to give in. I tell myself that I’m not at fault this time, so I’d wait for him to apologise. I thought I was going to have to wait for a few days.

Scratch a few days. Our conversation happened not a couple of hours after Mdm. Ooi’s lengthy speech about the INTEL course. It was a somewhat solemn conversation. I didn’t let him go the roundabout this time. What I wanted at that moment was blatant honesty – honesty that drips from his heart.

And honesty was what I got. I was expecting an apology when he gave me the three words a girl always wishes for deep down, even more so when those words were accompanied by a ring. I was so touched that again, tears came to my eyes. I didn’t realise I was such a crybaby. Did I wait for this? Did I wish for this to happen? Not really, as I was expecting an apology and a ‘let’s just be friends like always’ sort of speech. Was I happy? Yes, I was, and I am. He was shaking, and that just moved me to another extent.

How cute. And touching.

I was happy. So, so happy.

I accepted the ring. I accepted his feelings. I accepted his heart as I open my heart for him and him alone. I’ve never opened my heart to anyone else, even when they insisted that they really do like me. It felt as though a heavy burden had just be lifted off of my shoulders. And then I realised that all of this time, maybe, maybe I do feel for him longer than I thought.

How come I never realised he was the one I was waiting for in my life?

Somehow in the end, I’m just a girl who is always fearful of so many untold possibilities. Sometimes when I look at him, I think about how long he’s going to feel this way for me. I think about the possibility of him getting bored of me after a while, or of him realising that he’s chosen the wrong person after all. After all, I’m not that much of an interesting person to hang out with, I’m quite possessive, I get jealous quite easily (though I don’t show it), I’m not pretty, and the list goes on and on and on….

But well…

Dear Zaki,

When you’re in doubt, come back to this lengthy entry I wrote for you. Come back and read every word because I meant every word with all my heart. When you think I’m being annoying, come back to this entry and consider it my apology for being such a girly girl at times. When you think I’m being pushy and you can’t stand it, come back to this entry and see that I am just a scared person who might be thinking about you more than you’re thinking about me.

It’s okay if you don’t think about me so often. It’s okay if you don’t spend time with me so often. It’s okay if you don’t want to walk with me or stay next to me so often. It’s okay if you think I probably am not the one you imagine spending the rest of your life with. As long as your feelings for me are sincere, you’ll make me very happy, and I’ll try to make you happy too. I can’t promise much, but I can at least promise that I will try my hardest to not break your heart; so please try not to break mine. Please, please, please try. Maybe we’ll argue here and there, now and then, but that’s parts and parcel of life. As long as you stay loyal to me, I promise that my eyes won’t ever divert to another. We’ve both been through so much in this life. We’ve both been through (what you call) emotional blockades of sorts. We’ve both been heartbroken and used before. We both have deep scars that run deeper than anyone thinks.

I may not know what love really means, but I don’t mind learning the meanings with you.

Pinky promise?

Sealed with a flying kiss,

W. I. Adlina ~2010~
Written originally on May 12. Final revision written on June 8.
Approximately 2050 words.

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? ^__^

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