Monday, 9 November 2015

10 to 1

The sun was setting, the sky turned rouge, it was a beautiful sight, with waves rolling by the shore. We were just finished frolicking in the beach. His brownish dark hair all wet and shiny, his skin covered with sand. He smiled at me. I did the same to him.

We walked holding hands, his left to my right. It was a blissful late afternoon. With his animated voice, we talked about how we would stay together this way. I pinched his nose slowly, he punched my shoulder with a force you wouldn’t believe could come from him.

I stayed with him that night. The day was all clear and breezy that it didn’t give an indication that the night would be unruly and dark, the blackness only to be broken by the sounds of a great deluge and continuous lightning. I knew that he was silly for being afraid of lightning, but everyone have different fears. We hugged together closely that night.

The day after, he tried to make a breakfast for both of us. What an idiot. He couldn’t even cook the eggs properly. I took over the cooking since we knew who the better one was. I said I would teach him, he said I was just lying, but he was smirking.

We got into a fight the week after. I was not in a good temper that day and he just added to that unknowingly. He said that I was hiding something from him. I replied I didn’t hide anything. We were arguing, it became heated, it turned into a stupid fight, and I pushed him. He looked at me straight in the eye and finally, he said ‘I never thought you’d do that.’ He cried.

I knew the second I did that, it became my worst regret. I saw him ran as fast as he could out of the house. I followed him. ‘I am sorry!’ I said. Then I saw lights.

We were in the hospital. My mom and my dad were standing beside him. Their breaths echoed around the room. The white walls made that place looked desolate, like a tomb even. I couldn’t look at this. I couldn’t look at him. My brother was like a doll. My eyesight became dimmer every passing second

‘I’m sorry. Please forgive me.’ I said, watching his blurry figure from behind the glass. ‘You’re my brother. You always are’

My breathing stopped.

Do you like my birthday present? I hope you do. I’m sorry I lied to you. I wanted this to be a surprise. I’m sorry I can’t stay with you. Once the sun sets, once the shore turns silent, I’m leaving here forever. Take care of mom and dad, little brother. I will always love you.

Friday, 9 October 2015


Oh hi there people! It’s been a long time since I last wrote something here so yes, I’ve so many tales to tell, good things really, but let’s start with this first shall we?

So many a moment when I entered my class, the students would ask me whether I have a girlfriend or when I would get married. I don't know about you, and to be honest I don't mind them asking that. There's one thing though, these students think (logically of course) that at a certain age you should at least already have a future partner. I'm afraid that they think that marriage is the only goal worthy in life.

First of all, let me say this - people still think that I'm a student instead of a teacher (I consider that a privilege haha). If I were to have a wife, I don't really want people to think that she's my mom. My physical issue aside, marriage is a commitment, heck, having a boyfriend or a girlfriend is a commitment, albeit not as serious as the legit hubby wife relationship.

Especially for a guy, you need to have a good financial stability and moral stature. If you can't provide your family with proper food, house, education in all aspects, tender loving care, etc, you're damning your wife and kids for eternity. Many of my friends are now happily married (I hope). They know where they stand in life, and I'm sure they are giving the best they can for their families. I'm happy for them, I am.

Me? I'm not ready for that kind of commitment. Marriage is a big thing and the only big things I want right now are that hardcover 529-page "Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey" which costs an amazing RM343.41 in Kinokuniya and a large New York thin crust Domino's to complete my reading it. I can commit myself to books and pizzas. One other matter is that I don't believe that I can't be happy if I don't have a partner. Happiness is a state of mind. If you want to be happy, just be happy. Be happy for other people, be happy for yourself. No one will get hurt if you choose not to hurt.

The last thing I want is for my students to think that they need a girlfriend or a boyfriend to be happy. Yes, you can be happy if you have a "loving" partner, no one's denying that, but to restrict your happiness and to put your world onto one person is just... too careless. There're so many things out there, things to achieve, things to discover. The world is not written in black and white. (I also don't want my students to think that their boyfriends or girlfriends are inherently tied to everything they do. Hey, you're not even married yet. Respect, compassion, and love? Yes. Obligatory monthly BF/GF allowance/gift and constant side-by-side? Hell no!)

Maybe there'll be time when I feel like it's ripe for me to get married, but that time is not now. I have so many dreams, both superficial (such as getting that HP book, buying that cute decor in Typo, etc.) and ambitious (getting a Masters degree in Literature, working for the United Nations). Yes, I know that some people say, "You can still achieve stuff even if you're married to a beautiful wife and have constantly whining triplets", but hey, we have different minds. Bud, I don't gauge myself based on your life, and certainly I won't measure my preference for food based on your taste buds.

End of rant. Thank you.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Why Literature is Everything

Literature (in all forms be it poetry, novels, short stories, and so many other designs) is made as the creators' reflections of the sociocultural, political, or historical environments of their times. Even fictional settings that may not conform to our current conditions (magic, sci-fi, dystopian) are replete with nuances that convey the facets and attributes of humans and their nature. Literature is not removed from humanity, but it is an integral part of it as exemplified by the thousands-of-years-worth of stories and arts. The stories of our achievements, our damnation, the good and the bad of our traits, the problems and the solutions, the discussions of life and death, we learn so many things from literature. When a person says "Why do we even have to study literature? It's all not real." That's practically undermining its importance to our development as a species in all aspects, emotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually. How many tales were written about our Earth in hopes of explaining it? Granted a lot are now proven to be wrong, but those stories were the first step for humans to understand this world. Most importantly, the characters in literature are the expositions of our own emotions and antics. How can we not understand that things in literature are continuously happening in the world right now? An understanding of literature provides an insight to the relationship between us to other people, to our world, and to the higher power. Also it reflects upon yourselves too.

Monday, 6 April 2015

INTJ Stereotypes Survey

This is a survey that my friend Zell saw on Tumblr, and she told me to do it since I’m mostly an INTJ (that my personality according to the Myers-Briggs Test).

Intelligent: I value intelligence and I know that as a human, it’s my responsibility to gain the knowledge that the world can offer me. Am I an intelligent person? Maybe you need to know me first *winks*

Psychopath: In my mind, I have killed you six times haha. Well, I’m averse to violence. There’s no way I’m going to hurt other people, but then again…

No feelings:  I’m not the kind of person who expresses my feeling that often, but when I am passionate about something, that passion will definitely appear (and that can quite drag my friends into an embarrassment hahaha)

Atheist: Definitely not.

Not romantic: Being romantic is not a bad thing, but there is one thing to be really considered : are we rooted in reality?

Arrogant: I learn not to be arrogant or annoying.

Brutal and direct: I’m more to direct. If the truth is out there, I won’t hesitate to say it, and I try not to be brutal when I state it even if the truth is in itself brutal. Well, that’s life.

Can’t accept others opinions: I value discussions in a civilised manner so that we can see where our opinions differ. It’s not just my own perspective that matters.

Manipulate people all the time: No.

Robots in reality:  Probably?

Antisocial: I’m not antisocial, but I am selectively social. I love hanging out with my good friends and family, but there are (so many) times when I love being alone, even when going out. I recharge when I am alone, even outside.

Can’t say “I love you”: It depends on the situation.

Want to be alone 24/7:  Nah, I love being with other people, but I love being on my own too mostly.

Can’t smile: Smiling, they said, is my number one feature haha.

Don’t/can’t care about others: I care about the others, perhaps too much sometimes haha.

Megalomaniacs by their very nature: Why should I be that?

Don’t cry: I rarely cry.

Cannot/will not fight: I am not that kind of person by nature. If people hurt me, well I just suck it up. What if it involves another person who I love? Maybe I’ll gauge the situation first.

Like conflict: Definitely not. I’m a peace-loving guy haha.

Self-centred: Trying not to be that.

No regret/remorse: Oh ho, we all have our fair of regrets. But for me, I aim to not be distracted in life. The only way that I can go is forward. Of course, I will reflect on the things that I’ve done so that I can make amends in the future.

Appear to be on drugs: My skinny body caused some parties to ask whether I smoke or not. The answer is no, I don’t.

Easily bored if not inspired: I need to be creative or doing something that I have passion for. I can easily get bored if I’m not inspired, and then I will degenerate into a remorseful existence haha.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Madeon's Adventure Review

This is the debut album by French Wunderkind, Madeon. Aptly titled as Adventure, you can be sure of an amazing journey that ends with nothing less than a satisfaction. Before we delve more into the world of Adventure, Madeon (or his real name, Hugo Pierre Leqlerc) is a music producer-songwriter-DJ from Nantes, Pays de la Loire, France. He became popular through a YouTube video known as “Pop Culture”, but obviously, he doesn’t stop there. Madeon has given his magic touch to a number of popular artists such as Lady Gaga, Ellie Goulding, and Coldplay. His brand of House, Electro, and Synthpop is unlike the others you may have heard nowadays. And that is a good thing, since electronic music scene is saturated with commercialised production nowadays. On one hand, it’s good since electronic music is now receiving a wider coverage and new listeners, but the negative side is that sometimes, it also turns generic, the same beat, the same sound. Trying to be different and staying true to the soul of electronic music, are perhaps now rather important elements now.

Hugo Pierre is belongs to those who dare to be different and craft a rhythm that he can quite call his own, which is not surprising since Madeon is quite a lanky, baby-face guy. If you look at him, you won’t probably believe that he is an amazing artist. But his music proves that his maturity and credibility and creativity far outweigh his small stature. Adventure is a work three years in the making. He perfected his trade, learnt from his surrounding, and through some connection with his emotions (and trust me when I say that), this is an all-rounded pop-influenced dance record.

Beginning with an intro track called Isometric with its arcade-game-like beats, it moves to many kinds of sounds. Two of the catchiest songs in the album will surely make you bop your head while singing the chorus, the retro-influenced You’re On, featuring the British singer, Kyan, and the summery, guitar, up-tempo Pay No Mind that features the group Passion Pit. Those two are radio-friendly synthpop offerings. OK with its retro sounds samples the voice of Charli XCX saying well, ‘OK’ here and there. La Lune is perhaps one of the most interesting, with Dan Smith of Bastille lending his soulful voice in a melancholic delivery of the lyrics that are probably one of the best in the whole album. Nonsense, with Mark Foster, from Foster The People, is another song that could pass as an indie pop song if Madeon doesn’t put his craftsmanship in it. That being said, this catchy song (although not as up-tempo as Pay No Mind or You’re On) is still as addictive. Innocence is one of the much slower songs in the record, a soothing serenade punctuated with Aquilo’s soulful voice.

Two instrumental tracks, Pixel Empire and Imperium showcase Madeon’s credibility in creating great electronic songs, with Pixel Empire being the more subdued one (as if it’s somewhat a continuation of Innocence), although it turns heavily-laden as it finishes, while Imperium features a more upbeat, powerful rhythm, replete with angst and darker sounds. A few songs are sung by Madeon. Beings is one of those songs, and if not for the electronic beats, it could very well be an song by an indie pop band. While the middle part features a sudden breakdown, the rest is pretty cheery. In Zephyr, the fast disco beats provide a backdrop against Madeon’s voice which is warped here. In the emotionally-fraught Home, Madeon sings with an isolated, vulnerable, yet personal voice, while piano, snare and drums pulsate higher and higher making this song anthem-like. Home closes the standard album flawlessly, bringing us a sense of closure.

From the beginning until the end, from the fun side of the album, until the more contemplative section of the music, he does not fail. All songs have that Madeon identity, the sounds that can only be created by this Frenchman. Adventure is perfectly driven by Madeon, and now, I think the next ride may even be more thrilling. This album is an adventure made on music.

Adventure is on sale now in Madeon Official Store at MyPlay Direct for USD12.99 (MYR48.00)

SPP Interview for Future Teachers!

Hello people. It’s been a really quite eventful March for me seeing that a lot of things happened. For instance, I managed to cook a number of dishes (hahaha), creating or editing Wikipedia articles (you don’t know how nerdy I am), Sushi King’s opened in Terengganu now (huzzah!!!), I finally received my legal copy of Madeon’s Adventure (which I will review soon heheh), and oh yeah, I was interviewed by SPP, and that is what I’m going to talk about. This is your short guide to SPP interview success (okay... maybe that's an exaggeration).

Anyway, SPP interview is a prerequisite for all teacher graduates (from both IPG and Universities). Before you are posted to anywhere in this great nation of ours, you will need to face the wrath of officials (okay, they’re not that bad… hahaha) from Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Pelajaran, where they will assess you based on your appearance, teaching method, and knowledge in general issues and education-related issues.

Here’s the thing, before you start thinking of being nervous for the interview, there are a few documents that you should have, and they are:

Birth certificate
SPM certificate
Degree certificate or full exam results transcript if you don’t have the certificate
IPG letter of offer
Degree letter of offer
PPISMP certificate
The confirmation letter from JPA (on the website)
SPP documents checklist from the website
Passport-size photo

Make sure that you have two copies of the documents coloured in red. If you don’t have the letters of offer, go to the main office and threaten the staff to give you what you need: the confirmation letter that you are the freaking student of that IPG. When you have the copies of the documents needed, get the signature and confirmation from Pegawai Kerajaan Kelas A (well, they are the people who always give announcements at your IPG’s morning assembly hahaha or you know that important guy from HEP that I somehow can’t remember what his job is… uhhhh~) or if you can’t find Pegawai Kelas A, you can be like me, go to the nearest solicitor or advocate and tell them that Agatha is the one who tried to kill Lovelia… wait not that… tell the lawyer you need his or her signature and confirmation, though you may need to pay a fee. Only the copies are required to have the signatures, mind you. Anyway, IPG will help with most of the processes needed for you to be able to go for the interview, so don’t forget to be good with your IPG staff.

So, once you get the date for the interview, then it is time to study the things needed for you to pass the interview. Manners matter too, so…

Be clean and sparkling (not Edward-sparkly of course)

Cut your hair (for guys duhhh) and do not colour it (for both genders)

Wear shirts that have light colours (baby pink, or baby blue, or pastel maybe?). Do not wear dark-colour shirts. A blazer or coat is good too so wear it.

Clean your shoes.

Be in your best behaviour even if you’ve managed to destroy Manchester United in FIFA 2014 (which I don’t play because I hate football (and I don’t have a PS4))

Speak clearly and do not mumble.

Know your teaching methods and pedagogy and all the stuff related to education and general knowledge.

Bring your RPH! Complete everything!

Be confident (which unfortunately may not happen sometimes hahaha).

Here’s one thing, the interview may take somewhere between an hour (in my case) to three hours (in Putrajaya’s case because they had lots of times in their hands…). You may have between five to seven other interviewees with you so always respect them. The interview is not the time for you to start pouting your own opinions when you disagree with others. It’s okay to disagree, but do it in a civilised way because you guys are totally not going to besmirch your names by behaving like a babbling, bumbling band of baboons! (I love McGonagall~) Answer the question in a concise and precise manner. If you don’t know anything, just say it, do not lie. In certain interviews, you may even be told to conduct a short microteaching. Not all do that though. Your interview may be conducted with those who are not under the same course as you, or vice versa. In my case, all of us were TESL graduates, thus the interview was carried out mostly in English.

The SPP staff will check all your documents and after that, you will need to sit outside the interview room when you are good to go. Wait until the bell is rung and then politely like you’re the last Victorian gentleman in the whole planet walk into the room. Well, you get the basic idea, or do I have to teach you basic manners too? Anyhow, my interviewers asked us about GST, the countries of ASEAN, how to teach vocabulary to students are less proficient in English, how to apply higher order thinking skills in the classroom, the Education Blueprint, and FPG… yes, FPG, and most of got confused and damn well answered with FPK (dang it!), but hey, I think I did quite well… I hope~ So, make sure you know your stuff, and try to take note of the recent events of the country, be it education-related or not (because even Sultan of Johor’s coronation ceremony was asked in Kedah). Oh, since the Blueprint is somewhat an important matter nowadays, it won’t hurt to look at it.

So, I hope this post will help you a bit with your own SPP interview. I also consulted a few other blogs when I did mine, so I guess another one would be good for all of us graduates. Best of luck, peeps!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Seconds, Moments, Today

The scariest and most beautiful part about life is that you will never know what comes next. Every second is a surprise, and yes, some of them can make you sad, or angry, or confused, but how about all those that mean the whole world to you, that change your life, no matter how small or big they are? Today you decide to take a ride on a bus line you never get on before and that becomes your little adventure. Today, you decide to wear something that you have never tried before and you know that you are beautiful. Today, there’s a quaint little bookshop at the corner and you go in and see this very awesome book. Today you want to forget that you’re an adult and play with those huge bubbles because you think it’s fun. Today, you see something that inspire you to be creative. Today, you receive a letter saying that you get the job you want. Today, you walk alone in a park and meet someone new, someone good, someone that will take you further than you have ever been, emotionally, spiritually, physically. You can never be sure what will happen tomorrow. Afraid? You can be sure all of us are. But there are so many still-hidden moments that can make us happy too. That makes life the most exciting thing.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Reading: The Beginning

Looking at my books (many of them still unread), I am happy that I have at least developed one good habit, reading. The one not-so-good habit that also developed for that is hoarding books… but uh let’s move on. I adore reading books. I think that started as a small hobby when I was in primary school. During recess, I’d almost always go to the library and read the non-fictions and encyclopaedias available there. That continues in my secondary school, well at least the first three years of it. I was a librarian and I love being one. I got to wear a yellow shirt and a blue tie and trousers. I felt special (well a bit hahah). Of course being at service for book-related businesses and surrounded by different kinds of books made the experience even better. Also, I got to eat free food once in awhile, that was a plus-point haha.

But then my reading habits stopped, it just did. Too busy I guess? It was when I entered IPG Gaya and UiTM that my reading habit was really nurtured. I needed to analyse many different short stories and novels and poems and that just made my passion for literature and stories to burn again. Of course, KK and KL having lots of big bookstores also played a role in developing that. I just loved going to all those bookshops, especially Kinokuniya.

From that on, I started to buy books, most of them novels. I devoured them. Sometimes, I went somewhere nice to read books alone. That made me feel blissful. Obviously, the side effect of me learning literature-related courses during my studies is that now I tend to examine the story and relate it to my life or the things happening around me. Well, isn’t that the purpose of writing fictions? Many of them are pure examples of the meaning of life. They tell us about the realities of the world we lived in. It’s a good thing that I do that. I want to seek the meaning of what I read and how they connect to the world around me.

Anyway, I still love reading books and I hope that it will continue on and on. The only thing that I need is for Terengganu to have bookstores that sell English novels… lots of them!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

I am not an avid fan of Haruki Murakami (or Murakami Haruki if you are such a pedant or a Japanophile). I’ve never read any of his books before this… that was until I saw this beautiful pink book with the title ‘The Strange Library’ in front of it. I was immediately attracted to the book due to some things, 1) This Murakami book is not that thick, 2) I wanted to read Murakami’s writing, although not the thick-arse books for the beginning, and 3) The book is beautifully illustrated.

First of all, let me say that The Strange Library is a work of pure imagination. I don’t have a novel or story book like this before. It’s a dazzling intermingling of typography, colours, and images, many of which are taken from the old books kept in the British Library. The way the story is illustrated, it is not just to beautify the book, but the graphics and the way the words are arranged and the different sizes of the typeface all give a pleasing effect that complement the whole story. This is to say that reading the story without the illustration would make the experience a bit dull. Imagine certain parts of the story, for example, “The librarian stamped returned on the card…”, the word ‘returned’ is actually a printed version of a real stamped RETURNED with red ink, just like what you normally see. The other one is a page in which the boy narrator says, “but it’s pitch black.”, that short sentence is placed in one black page, effectively bringing the readers’ mind that the room the narrator is supposed to go in is indeed dark.

You will indeed move back and forth between the pages, connecting everything in the page to one another. Your eyes and mind are in a playful interaction as words and pictures come together making the story to come alive. I’m pretty sure that these connections between the texts and the pictures make this novella an interesting read and bring its value up.

Many pages of the book are printed with those brown stains or made to look like old yellow papers. The other charm of The Strange Library is the most bizarre cover art. Purple-pink (fuchsia?) hard cover with a card pocket that you tend to find at the back of the library books and, get this, it’s functional. You will receive a special card that is also a bookmark, and when you’re finished, that card can be saved in the pocket. Ingenious and makes for a pretty fantastic cover if you ask me.

The story is simple enough, as it tells a story about an unnamed boy who wants to know how the Ottomans collect their taxes besides wanting to return the books that he borrows from the library. That simple journey nevertheless turns dangerous as he then finds himself in a difficult situation of being killed by the old man who wants to eat his knowledge-infused brain. The boy narrator is being taken care by the sheep man and a semi-transparent girl who talks with her hand. With less than 80 pages (and to be honest, since the story is wholly fancily illustrated, the short story is obviously shorter than that), it is a fast read. I read The Strange Library in about 30-40 minutes. The whole theme is about loneliness, and then you need to dig a bit to see why that’s the main theme there. The other one thing is how we humans are too scared to act in our lives, just following, never dictating. The boy narrator is like that. If we push aside the odd storyline, the conduct of the boy is what humans tend to do. I will say that some may find the tale a tad too simple, and I know that Murakami writes really complex stories if what I heard from my friends are right, but I like that. The simplicity is enhanced by the colourful minds of the illustrators. Nuances of the pleasurable moments in the writing of Murakami are connected to graphics, not to say that Murakami’s writing is not a delight in its own form, but certainly, as I said before, the cosmetics of the pages round up the experience in reading it.

Coming back into the way the book is made, it is the way the book industry is fighting against the advancement of technology. Nowadays, people equip themselves with gadgets such as tablets, smartphones, or e-readers. People are reading through their screens but somehow lost the touch with physical copies of books. People are writing more by clicking or tapping but lost the touch with pens and papers. The Strange Library is indeed trying to stem the tide. I won’t say that the pleasures of reading through real books that can be smelled or touched are lost, because even if technology advances even further, people will still find themselves grasping hard-bound copies or soft-covers sooner or later in their lives. In this digital age, information is rapidly shared but it can be easily lost too. But papers can exist for so long of a time. Just look at our history, thousands of years of stories passed down to us. As much as the taken-for-granted papers are brittle, technology is even more so. In my own opinion, reading through electronic devices, while convenient and I admit to do it for my academic reading, seems so far removed from the human nature of reading. Will the reading industry die then? I don’t think so. Maybe not all novels that we read will be beautifully crafted as The Strange Library but the fun of reading will live on.

Anyway, to end this review, the peculiarities of the characters, the bizarre story about a horrendous predicament inside a library, and the aesthetically pleasant images and wordings make this novella a handsome book. This book is an art in itself. You’ll find yourself excitement with it.