272 Days and a Jumbled Up Monologue

Precisely, mine and Zaki’s 😉

Ever since I sort of lost touch with drawing and writing, I realised I haven’t blogged about the most important event that changed the way things are now. Yeah, I’m happily married to my super loving husband. Now let me have a flashback for a bit.

The Making of the Video

I was calm during our solemnisation ceremony. Due to a funny slip-up that should never be mentioned, I wanted to cry but ended up chuckling instead at that time. Well, it was….um…. funny and everyone else laughed so yeah 😛 It did feel surreal. It was like, wow, one minute I was still a “Miss” and the next minute I am a “Mrs”. Above all, I thank Allah for giving my parents the opportunity to marry meoff.  I hope they’re happy and at peace that all of their children are married and have good jobs.

The next day was our reception. well, he was late for a bit but that’s okay. Everything else went smoothly. One of the hantarans from him to me was an X-Box 360 + Kinect (hahaha I know, I know) so I remember that after the day ended, we wasted no time setting up the console and giving some games a go. It was fun playing games and goofing around in front of the screen now that we could be in the same room together.

Now, 272 days later, I’m here typing this up while missing him. It hasn’t been easy. I’m in Kelantan and he’s working in Johor. Direct flights KBR-JHB  are only available at a very inconvenient time when every soul is working in the mornings of  Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. We’ve been using the KBR-KUL-JHB-KUL-KBR route all this time because of different weekends and distance. It is time consuming and very costly but we have no other choice if we want to meet. KPM apparently wouldn’t approve of his transfer. What’s worse is that his power-hungry autocratic admin is a major fucked-up asshole who probably doesn’t want us to ever meet, making CRKs and MCs hard (well I pray Allah gives her what she deserves when it’s due, perhaps a lonely death or sth).

The only thing we can both do is pray for an improvement – a transfer, better communication and perhaps, better bosses who actually believe in God and not think of their staff as mere unworthy underlings. InsyaAllah.

p.s/ My ranting in Malay language is over at http://www.dakwathitam.com

A Race for Time Management and Financial Planning

Aunt’s House @ Bachok. Sending off my cousin to UiTM Chendering.

Good time management and financial planning is essential for when you have big events coming up in your life. You can’t do with just one because financial planning alone is not enough and vice versa. When you plan your money, you plan your time as well. It’s almost the same as making investments with banks. You choose a certain period of time, you keep your money there and reap the benefits.

People who have never been to Kelantan may say all the bad things they’ve heard about this state – dirty, poor, etc etc but there has been much development around since the past few years. I could barely recognise my own place anymore after spending much time someplace else. New highways, new flyovers, new buildings, new towns, high-rise condos, shopping malls and many others keep sprouting one after another that the GPS data needs to be updated all the time.

This state is chock full of people. During school holidays, traffic defeats those of big cities. Driving from Federal Highway into Bangsar after office hours is more bearable than driving into Pasir Mas from my house on a normal weekday during school holidays. This is why it is very important to plan things ahead of time. If you’re slow, you lose out on so many good deals.

The Race Against Time: Since Kelantanese return to their hometown during long holidays, tourists need to book accommodations way ahead of time if they plan to visit the state for shopping at Rantau Panjang, Wakaf Che Yeh or even Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah. If you’re coming here for big events such as weddings, you will have to book at least one month before your projected day of arrival. I am currently facing this problem of finding accommodation for visiting relatives. We made a big mistake of not forming a solid plan until a little over two weeks before the date of the event. I called at least 10 guest houses and got the same response over and over: “Fully booked from 28 May to 8 June, sorry.” I drove along the Salor-KB highway into Jalan Pintu Geng until Wakaf Che Yeh to look for decent accommodation open for booking. Tune Hotel next to KB Mall is nice, but the rooms are very small :/ In the end, I chose a fairly new inn around Wakaf Che Yeh. The rooms and beds were okay when I looked, so yeah. Before booking, I asked two nearby inns and found them to be fully booked as well. See how busy this state is?

If you’re planning to get married or engaged in this state, you also have to be VERY quick with your bookings. Bridal boutiques and bakeries are fully booked everywhere. For weddings, it is essential to book AT LEAST FOUR MONTHS BEFORE the big day. Note the ‘at least’ in capital letters. If you try to make bookings around 3 to 2 months before your chosen date, the shop owner would give you a look that says ‘are you kidding?’ -_-”

Finance is the Key: It is most crucial to plan your money. The price of everything seems to move with time. Well, same rules as the peak and off seasons for accommodation apply. Financial planning for the big day must involve two parties. It’s a two-way communication. One way communication just doesn’t work no matter what people say. At my age, I have to draft a solid money and spending chart every month to determine how much I could save and how much I must spend to survive the month (pay bills, car instalment, credit card debt repayment, essentials…). This year and next year will be different, I hope. After confirmation, I’d be around RM430 richer than this year. I just have to make sure my confirmation goes smoothly 😀

Saving money towards a certain goal is recommended, right? Same goes to saving for the big day. I don’t know about other people but I’m the type who don’t want to trouble my future husband much. I won’t force my spouse to give me an additional RM1,000 just because we’re married and just because he must give me money for maintenance (nafkah). I won’t be an unemployed housewife, so I could at least help out where necessary. I believe that finance is not the sole responsibility of only the husband – the understanding wife must also play a part ^_^

If there are people who claim that I am too young to tie the knot at this age, I want them to ask themselves; “How old were your parents when they had their first child?” This whole process used to be so simple. I have no idea who came around and made things complicated in our current society :/

Until later. Lots of work to finish still.

An Elevation of Viewpoints; A Day for Teachers

May 16, 2011. I celebrated my first ever Teacher’s Day as a real teacher today. It was a very colourful day, filled with laughter and games and well, food (not that I care about food). I spent the day going around taking photos of pretty much everything to commemorate my first celebration (as well as to fill my virtually empty folio with something more colourful although nobody needs to know how empty it actually is -_-), changing into a pair of slacks and t-shirt just before the morning session was taken over by mini-games. Sukaneka, of course. Timeless classics such as the musical chair and taking turns to fill bottles with water were present. Teachers who took part were very enthusiastic. I had fun watching them giggle and fight for the chairs until the very last.

It felt different. Celebrating Teacher’s Day as a teacher, that is. The celebration was completely organised by students – hall decorations, gifts, programmes… I can’t remember if I was ever that efficient when I was their age. From the moment I got off my car, the air of celebration was already set up, injected with elements of fun from colourful decorations here and there. I wonder how I felt when I was a student.

Today, I celebrated Teacher’s Day from an elevated viewpoint. When I was a student, I was very excited to give presents to all of my subject teachers. I wanted them to feel happy and appreciated. Now that I’m teaching, I found myself struggling to find words to say to students who came to tell me “Teacher, I’m sorry I don’t have money to give you anything. Can I give you something next week?” It was very touching. I realised that as a teacher, I don’t expect my students to give me anything. I’m very touched when a few students who come from very low financial backgrounds wrapped freshly picked flowers from home and bars of soaps to give as presents.

I used to feel bad when I couldn’t give nice gifts to my teachers. Now that I’m teaching, I don’t want them to feel like I did back then. Students feel pride when teachers accept their offerings, so I told the ‘grieving’ children who didn’t bring any gift to not feel sad. I told them to give me the best present they could give me, but one that they cannot buy with money -a good grade. Nothing makes me happier than hearing my students speak in a complete sentence. At least ONE complete sentence. The sense of accomplishment is way different from receiving gifts.

To my students, thank you for all the colourful gifts. I appreciate each and every one of them. There is no need for you to feel ashamed or down because for me, a gift is a gift even if you give me a box of white chalks or a single pencil. It’s the thought that counts. Teacher’s Day is a day for teachers, so make your teachers happy by coming to school and wishing them a Happy Teacher’s Day with a bright, sincere smile on your face =)

Until next year.

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.