To celebrate Malaysia’s 62nd National Day, I list down the things I love about this fiery, South-east Asian country I call home.Read More
Just a few steps away from the Masjid Jamek LRT station is a waterfront that has been touted as one of the top 10 in the world. The River of Life project is a step in the right direction for the Klang River.Read More
On Dec 26, 2004, 250,000 people in 14 countries died. The Asian Tsunami, as it was called, hit countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and even my country -- Malaysia.
To remember this tragic day, I dig up a blog post I published a day after one of the world's worst disasters.Read More
My post, Malaysians, No Need To Migrate! Malaysians Abroad, It's Time To Come Home! struck a chord. Many Malaysians now feel euphoric after the historic GE14 election; many Malaysians abroad are now thinking about coming home.
If you are one of these overseas Malaysians, should you make the trek home?Read More
So. It's been 11 days since Malaysia's 14th General Election. Have you recovered yet? I haven't. Because I still could not believe that my world - and those of other Malaysians' - has completely changed.
The change is especially profound for me because three years ago, I had willingly given up life in Australia to return home so that I could contribute as a useful member of society.Read More
On March 9, 2018, the seemingly impossible happened: Malaysians overthrew a government that had been in power for 61 years. They also elected a 92-year-old prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohd. It would be his second time as Malaysia's PM.
This result had seemed impossible because there were powerful measures made by Barisan Nasional to ensure they would win: From vicious smear campaigns and constant threats in the media, delineation, disqualifying candidates for flimsy reasons and goodies upon monetary goodies heaped on a rakyat struggling with rising costs of living, many thought it was a sure-win for BN.
They were wrong.
I was wrong.Read More
I've never been a "shopping person", so I have never felt the urge to visit the heartbeat of shopping in Malaysia - Bukit Bintang. Especially Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, the mall to conquer all malls, because it carried brands that had prices that makes my wallet hurt. The minimalist me couldn't fathom the sheer excessive consumerism of the place.Read More
I was super busy in March - I started a new job and moved to a new apartment, so blogging fell by the wayside. But this new apartment of mine charges RM250 for the privilege of parking my car every month.Read More
After spending my twenties and thirties zipping around Europe, United States and various Asian nations, I'm now finding myself more interested in becoming a backyard tourist by visiting Malaysia's various states. And why not, there's so much Malaysia has to offer!Read More
Penang folks are rather proud that they are Penang folk. We are proud of the fact that we have the best food in Malaysia, and the Chinese is most certainly proud to speak the genteel Northern Hokkien dialect. Which is why I jokingly refer to the state where I was born as "the motherland".
After an arduous 9 months slogging for the CIM Diploma in Digital Marketing, I was super excited to celebrate my emancipation from assignment hell by a trip up north. My goal for the 5-day vacation was simple: Eat, explore, sleep and read.
Is it me, or is it hot??
My family took the speedy 4-hour ETS train from KL Sentral (with me grumbling about waking up at an unholy 6am all the way). It's RM118 for return tickets, and we took the the 9am train. When we finally landed in Butterworth, the extreme heat (thanks to our good friend El Nino) was a shock to the system, especially since the train was soo cold just moments before. After lugging our bags up the very disabled-unfriendly stairs and ramps to the ferry that will take us across to Penang island, we were soaked in sweat.
Penang island was no better. I swear, it must have been a 40 degree Celcius day, because waiting for the bus that would take us to the hotel was so unbearable I threatened to take a taxi to the hotel. Being a stout, thrifty Penangite, Mum was mystified why I would consider paying $20 for a ride when a free bus ride could be had.
But we got to Heliconia hotel's air conditioned confines soon enough!
Below (from left) The ferries that take us from the mainland to Penang island, a refurbished shop house, Chowrasta market and some salted fish at a market.
WHEN IN PENANG, EAT!
I don't care what Singapore says in their tourism brochures, but Penang has the best food in South East Asia. So I did my duty in contributing to the Penang economy. Admittedly we ate at New Lane hawker centre, what most Penangites would consider a tourist trap, but it was very convenient to have all the best hawker dishes under one ... sky?
Actually, the family and I were also there for the annual Qing Ming (tomb-sweeping) festival. My paternal grandparents were enshrined at a collumbrium at Kek Lok Si temple. Because of the heat and an unfortunate and ill-timed bout of food poisoning for yours truly, we took a taxi to Air Itam. RM70 for return. Ouchies.
Five days was over just like that. I achieved my goal of being the laziest tourist ever - that's what I needed, to sleep after months of sleepless nights studying! With food purchases (tau sah peah and hiao pia, which are traditional Chinese biscuits) and nearly a dozen books from the Big Bad Wolf sale, my bag literally burst from the strain. It was a great vacation with the family, eventhough I have to admit I was a bit of a sourpuss from the blazing weather most of the time.
Thinking of visiting Penang? Don't hesitate, it's awesome! But then again, I'm biased. :P
Stupid, short sighted, fucked up, what can I say. (Pardon my French.) But not for the reasons you may think. The whole project was doomed to begin with because the government did not have the manpower to pull off PPSMI (Teaching Science and Maths in English).
A friend of mine was teaching her son mathematics one day. She noticed that he kept using the word "push" in place of "minus", so she admonished him and said, "No, it's 4 minus 1, dear."
Her son shook his head and insisted, to her horror: "No, mummy. It is 4 push 1. Teacher said so."
Push is, after all, the direct translation of "tolak" after all.
You see, if PPSMI was implemented properly, with the right workforce in place, our kids would have benefited from it all. Unfortunately, what we're seeing now are the urban kids - many of whom benefit from fluent, English-speaking teachers - getting better while the rural students suffer from badly taught English science and math classes.
The government, however, could've done something else besides scrapping the entire thing. They could've instead aggressively recruited or trained a new batch of English-speaking teachers. Get retirees and expats to work in schools. Heck, if you want import sajalah. But no. They decide to throw in the towel and retreat back into the shell whence they came from. Six years of effort down the drain. Taxpayers' money wasted. AGAIN.
So, what can you do to improve your kids' standard of English despite the stupid system in place?
Well, I studied Science and Maths in Bahasa Malaysia, but I still speak and write in good English. If you're worried about your kids' proficiency in English perhaps you can copy what my parents did:
1. Encourage your child to read English books. If he wants to read comics, let him - let him discover how fun it is to read English books. My dad really nurtured the reading bug in us.
2. Converse in English at home. My mum told me that before marrying my dad, she spoke mostly Hokkien. However, my dad insisted on speaking with us in English more often and she followed suit.
3. Let him mingle with kids his age who speak English.
Unfortunately ... I just don't know what we can do for the rural folks who probably have limited access to materials (books) and native English speakers. I fear for their future the most.
It's a pity that some political animals have convinced some people that learning in English is akin to betraying their roots. If this people want to hide in their little rabbit holes and not come out to face the world, they shouldn't drag others in with them.