Saturday, January 18, 2014


The year has only begun, Happy 18 days into 2014 everyone, and I came across an article about career switching or jumping...perhaps its for those who resolved to make brave moves in the new year. Reasons cited were ‘helicopter’ management/ micro managing, unappreciated effort/ unfair appraisals, lack of management integrity, lopsided task distribution, lack of extrinsic motivation that eats away at intrinsic motivation; the list went on and on.  The bottom line, whether the employee stays or leaves is, more often than not, in the hands of the boss. Hmmm.  Question.  What  happens when you work for multiple bosses under one umbrella?
                In Malaysian schools, a teacher with a basic portfolio (member of subject panel, class teacher, extra-curricular club/sports/society advisor)  has at least 6 bosses; the Head of Panel, the Head of Department, Senior Vice Principal (Academics), Vice Principal 2 ( Student Affairs), Vice Principal 3 ( Extra Curricular Activities) and last but not least, the Principal. Oh yes, sorry, it should be 7 bosses. The Chief Clerk of the school: for all the clerical work that the teacher will have to do.
                Looking at the above, the onlookers would say, oh stop whining. That’s natural order in every organization. Sorry, its not. Walk into any corporate office and get HR to give you a run down. Ideally, a teacher with a basic portfolio is only answerable to the HOP, the Principal and the Public Services Department (PSD), if you are in the Government schools. Ideally, a job description is focused. Whether the individual will surpass the expected targeted results, or not, will depend on the said individuals personal vision and mission statement. Ideally. Reality of the Malaysian school system = The teacher is answerable to, and at the mercy of, all 7 bosses.
                Imagine you have 7 to-do lists, which will be merged into a MEGA list, because all 7 bosses have their own agendas; every one of them wanting to be top dog at their level. Cluster Schools, High Performance Schools, New Deal, Excellent Audit Practice, Annual Excellent Service Awards – some of the many carrots being dangled to ‘improve’ the performance of the education sector in Malaysia. Echkart Tolle in his book, A New Earth, emphasizes on being in the moment if you want to see plans realized, productive output or meaningful change. 7 bosses would require serious multitasking. Multitasking = Loss of focus = Diminished productivity. Hmmm.
         Multiple agendas would lead to multiple meetings; many of which would be redundantly time consuming, but deemed a necessity for the all so important documentation process – proof that they, the Bosses, have done their part. You end up being saddled with things to do that would fulfill the needs of the Boss of that moment. Sometimes, your Bosses will decide to share a slot, so you will get multiple streams of instructions, which almost always overlap, yet be made to feel exclusive to each Boss.
Your brain’s all saturated, your bladder is screaming for relief, you trek into the staffroom, in a zombie like state, only to find another calling letter for another meeting later the same day, or the next day. Next to that letter, staring you in the face, are stacks of work to be graded. You shake your head and pencil in the meeting into you already overly scribbled planner. The need to pee has miraculously disappeared. You look at your multiple lists, and you sit down to re-priorities, based on the newly acquired list of instructions. You make the decision to do B first, then proceed to A and then D; your list is planned based on your premise of logic. You let out a sigh of relief and then all of a sudden, your bladder kicks up a storm.
                OK, now that your bladder’s happy, work your plan, the onlookers say.
         Easier said than done. Bosses are made up of 3 types/categories; the totalitarians/micro managers/Little Napoleons, the autonomous ones and the laissez-faire kinds. Despite being aware of who is top dog at any given time, your Bosses will make sure that you understand that they are your first priority. You have to get their work done even though they rank may rank 3rd or 4th in the hierarchy. Depending on the type of boss you are dealing with, if you decide to reason with them, based on your up-to-date reorganized, reprioritized to - do list, two things can happen. One, they will accept your logic; reschedule time of delivery or implementation. Two, they will make you cringe holistically and wonder why you didn’t just forgo your much needed sleep to complete their work. Worst case scenario, your boss is the kind to threaten in private and shame in public. In the blink of an eye, you are made to look incompetent. If you step on the wrong toes by pointing out that Boss X’s needs are more important,  you will feel the backlash of so- called insubordination towards Boss Y; if not at that moment, it will come back to haunt you when you least expect it.
You are stretched to the max in 7 different directions. Each putting you in the Catch-22. Damn if you do, damn if you don’t! You think, OMG, why me?  
Interestingly enough, it’s also happening to your Bosses, who, incidentally, are teachers themselves. Yup, your bosses have bosses, who in turn, have bosses, who could be from any one of the categories above.
It’s an ugly, vicious cycle. At the end of the cycle, vicious begets vicious.
So why do you stay?, asks the onlooker.
Client satisfaction. I may have many bosses but I only have one client. My students. They are the reason I signed on. Nothing like good old fashion client satisfaction to get me all bright eyed and bushy tailed.
                So how do I deal with my 7 bosses? I still have my to-do lists, which get re-organised and re-prioritized at least twice a day. I am blessed with an amazing support system called people who understand teaching's my vocation, not a job and the challenges that go with it~ my family, my friends and my inner circle of colleagues. I initiate, I implement, I deliver, as instructed. I have developed thicker skin, so that I am not easily intimidated by my Bosses. I understand that I may be overlooked during annual appraisals due to my ‘insubordination’ to a certain Napoleon in the hierarchy. I may flinch when singled out, but I use it in self-reflection, to remind myself why I joined in the first place and move on to the next item on the agenda. However, all that time, in the back of my mind, I am planning how my next session with my Clients is going to be. That gets me perky and smiling again. That’s my coping mechanism – that is why I remain, for now.

               Many teachers, amazing individuals, who motivated me along the way, have made the career switch/ jump. Now I wonder if its because they got fed up of asking, or being asked, ‘Who’s the boss?’

Saturday, March 9, 2013


It hopped, skipped and jumped into our lives at work. Maybe the hot weather or the high volume of work traffic that has kept us from getting to know this blue character even closer but I am glad we finally have. When I say blue, by no means is it a SAD character, on contraire, its a FUN blue fellow... :-)
The FROG VLE  is heaven sent. It will be fun for the teachers, as well as students, as it sets an alternative platform to gaining and sharing knowledge....its a VIRTUAL platform. Access is now multiple. Its not something new but its been designed to be more user friendly.  

My you can see, I love providing links so that you can explore at your own pace..:) If you have any I should add, drop me a note, and I promise to consider it..:)
The success or failure of something lies in the hands of the I say, LET'S FROGGING JUMP TO IT....:D 

Saturday, December 29, 2012


"Hey is this seat taken?"
"Nope, go ahead"
"Thanks. By the way my name is..."
That's how it began.
Fast forward 10 years...
"I am amazed that you keep on trying, making the effort. If it were me, I would not have bothered at all."
"What the heck are you saying? You've got your life, I've got mine but at the end of the day, you're you and I am me and that's all that matters right...why should it be a problem? We've always been there for each other when it mattered so picking up where we left off should be a breeze; its always been, right?"
"Yeah, but like I said, I wouldn't have bothered."
Being hopeful by nature, I shrugged it's happened, things have changed, yet nothing's changed between us. Things are exactly the same as they always were.
A year later, on one of the most memorable days of our lives, when we should have been celebrating together, you pushed me away, literally. It hurt cause I could not understand why you didn't respond to my excitement of locating you in a hall of almost 600 strangers but I bit back the tears. It was our happy day.  Maybe you were not too happy that I may have messed up your nicely set outfit with my over enthusiastic hug. Nevertheless I still clapped and cheered when it was your turn to take the stage; still hopeful that we'd have fun after. Later, I realised you had left; I was never a part of the plan.
Being hopeful by nature, I shrugged it off...something must have come up.
Sporadic  texts, calls, emails, but more often than not, they would go unanswered...I don't hold it against've got a life, I've got mine, you'll respond. I know, silly me, still hopeful by nature.
Being hopeful is what makes me me. Its my 'B+/ Why not?'  that keeps me going. Its one of the things you loved about me.
"Its OK, maybe next time. Yeah, things are crazy these days."
Excuse after excuse, the awkward silence but I was hopeful that 'next time' would happen.
From being among the first to know, I would find out with an update on your FB status; and even then, by chance, cause another would tag or mention you in theirs. I would reach out, only to realise that I was merely part of the peripheral...I no longer had a place in your inner circle.
These words would come back and nudge me out of my hopeful state.
"I am amazed that you kept on trying. If it were me, I would not have bothered at all."
I'd just shrug them away.
Yes, I was being silly, I was being blind. I did not want to see it...yes,  I was being too hopeful. Yes, I did not want to accept that I no longer mattered to you as much as you have always mattered to me. Simple. Life happened and we had grown apart. The friendship was dead. We are now 'acquintances'. There are many other things in your life, and I was no longer present in yours; I only exist in the past.
Every year, I resolve to do 2 things I have never done before ( a firm believer of  'underpromise, over achieve/deliver'). Never imagined that one of the many things I have done this year would include grieving and accepting the end of a friendship.
There are friendships and THERE ARE FRIENDSHIPS...yes, I've been in 'mourning' over the death of one. I went through all the phases of anger, melancholy, the what-ifs, the how-dare-you...yes, I went through all of them. I used to wonder if you realised that I had left the room. Yup, used to. Now I will always hope that all is, and will be, well with you in whatever you do. In my heart, there will always be a place for you.
(Apparently, the loss of a dear friend is one of the most painful things in a woman's life, and yes, this woman can attest to that.)

My Best Friends & I
by Karen L. Schenk

Throughout the years
I have had many different girls and women as my best friends.
They have all been very different from each other.
Yet somehow they have all been similar.
They had characteristics that blended with mine.
They were kindred spirits with me –
they were truly the soulmates of my life.
Together, these best friends and I
have laughed, cared, talked, listened, and cried.
Together we played, worked, and dreamed.
Such special friends were they, that at times,
we enjoyed doing nothing together.
Years have gone by
and I sometimes wonder
where they have all gone.
Some have moved.
Some developed different interests.
These were friends whom I once thought
I could never live without.

The best friends of my life
have had an integral part
in me becoming who I am today.
They brought out the best and the worst in me.
They loved me enough to confront, to challenge and to console.
They encouraged me in my strengths and
helped me overcome my weaknesses.

Though I know not where they live,
I have discovered where they all left something for me.
It is a room — a delightful room which lies within my heart.
It is one of my most favorite places.
I go there when I am lonely, sad
or when I want to remember… and be with
the treasured golden memories
the best friends of my life left for me.
Forever — my friends will be a part of me
as I hold onto and cherish them
in that special room in my heart

Monday, October 1, 2012

An Awesome Play of Words...;)

A friend of mine posted this on her FB status today and I thought it was just too good not to share..:) Enjoy..:)


When chemists die, they barium.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore.

I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can't put it down.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Type-O.

PMS jokes aren't funny; period.

Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.

We're going on a class trip to the Coca-Cola factory. I hope there's no pop quiz.

I didn't like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn't control her pupils?

When you get a bladder infection urine trouble.

Broken pencils are pointless.

I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.

What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.

All the toilets in New York's police stations have been stolen. The police have nothing to go on.

I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.

Velcro - what a rip off!

A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy.

Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!

Compliments of Philo D'Cruz

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Animal(s) Within

"You sure you're Pisces, and not a Leo?"

A while back I had someone ask me this, and truth be told, this person was not the first. People would usually smirk at the fact my Zodiac, according to the Julius calendar, is Pisces. I mean if you read what is prescribed as the characteristics of a Pisces (shy? dislikes crowds? reserved? etc etc), and if you've met me, you'd possibly understand the smirking and even join in. I am, however, saddened sometimes that people just don't see the Pisces in me. I mean, I see it, but to be honest, I don't let everyone see that side of me.  So why am I 'one way' with one group and 'another' with a totally different crowd? I believe its because of the 'animals' multiple animal personality...:) 

By the way, disclaimer alert, the following 'theory' is totally from me; if you choose to agree, you are a either a genius, or a loony ( based on the premise of 'great minds think alike and fools seldom differ' fame) 

Since the Julius calendar says Pisces, I proclaim myself the dolphin - a mammal that's intelligent, playful and social. The Chinese Zodiac says Metal Pig cause I was born in 1971. According to this zodiac, I am hardworking ( now I never saw that coming, I mean pig and hard work don't seem to belong in the same sentence..:D)  giving, helpful, oblivious to ill intent till its too late ( explains roasted pigs), trustworthy and too trusting cause I give people more credit than they deserve, am outspoken and confident (explains why I can snort at the world :D ) The Metal bit comes into play when the Pig decides to build walls; this piggy will build ones made from impenetrable metal..:D 

Until late last year, I believed that I was 'influenced' by only 2 'animals' but when I visited Myanmar, I finally found the Leo/ Lion connection. So now I have got 3 'animals' showcasing themselves within me.   

According to the Buddhist in Myanmar, the animal assigned to you is dependent on the day you were born. I was born on a Tuesday, so my guardian is Leo the Lion..:) That explained why people assumed I am a Leo. Other than being ferocious, authoritative, dominant, territorial, a lion personality is also consistent, strong, wise, honourable, intuitive, just and protective. 

The lion's the protector, the pig's the worker and the dolphin is the playful brat..;) So how do the animals in me function? Well, the lion comes out to protect the hardworking pig, from being bullied and the dolphin, which only makes its appearance, bringing along with it my Inner Child, when it feels safe enough to play. Which 'animal' you come across will solely depend I guess on what my instincts, or as Oprah would say, my gut feeling, or what my 'Aha' moment says about you. Upon reflection, yeah, most of you would have met the lion, or the pig, but with the lion not very far behind. The dolphin, I'd say, would be the most elusive of the lot and yeah, the lion will be there, close enough to do necessary 'damage' with the metal pig, pitching in with impregnable wall construction and all. 

To test my 'theory', I got SP, my smartie friend, to partake in my 'experiment'. Before this he used the poor sloth (which is, as I type, drawing up a class action suit against SP for using its characteristics to describe his 'human' flaws. I mean its bad to call an animal HUMAN, worse still when its saddled with the human flaws too!) to describe the darker and slower side of  himself. I told him about my theory and being a sporting chap, he was like OK...( I could see the sloth doing cartwheels, yes,  yes,  very slowly but very surely :D) 

After much Googgling, he discovered that he is a Water Ox, Ram and Lion...and according to the Vedic astrology (which is based on time of birth; SP's the typical researcher...has to cover all bases), he is 'deer headed' too. ( According to his search I don't have a Vedic based animal...I have 10 Gods watching over me...I must be quite the handful in celestial terms!..:)

SP decided to go with the Ox, Ram and Deer ( the Lion's on K.I.V cause he can't seem to fathom its role other than the fact it would happily gobble up  the ox, ram and deer..I just believe that the Ox kicked the Lion in the balls and now its hiding behind his 'pride'..:D) In his words..I am very typical representative of character descriptions given by these zodiac systems...and proceeds to list them out with stubborn starting off the list...Yup, I mean both an Ox and a Ram, being stubborn would definitely be one..:D OK, OK, for a researcher, being stubborn, or tenacious, is indeed a necessity. However, despite the coincidences, and being as pragmatic (which is in the list) as he is, I don't think he's going to be swearing by it any time soon. At least now he'll have three, no four, animals to pick on and the sloth's off the hook..:)

So are you game to see which animals form part of your psyche? :) 

OK, the lion's growling, telling me to sleep but the pig is saying, finish the blog while the dolphin is saying, I want to stay up late and play Lex on FB. Hmmm, the human in me says,  I'll let the 10 Gods handle this one...B-)

Friday, August 17, 2012

They watch and learn...the tails of the educated.

Silently they watch us. When they do, their focus is unwavering. At times, it can become all too intense. However, at times, because of this intense focus, you feel appreciated, especially when your intended audience is only 'physically' present. Whether they truly understand is unknown but there are times when they seem to nod at the right cues. They can make you wonder if you are making sense, that perhaps you have transcended a communication barrier. You also know you've got to change your pace or up the ante when they start to look distracted; they are a tough crowd. If you don't, they'll steal your show or go all truant on you. Oh yes, they have also been known to just up and leave. I mean how rude is that! However, we are helpless. We can't tell them to get lost. To physically remove them would be a violation of their 'civil' rights. I mean, they have just as much right to be there, as we do. Truth be told, they have even more rights than we do, this place was theirs before it was ours.

The Silvered Leaf Monkeys (SLM)  have been coming to school for generations. When I first moved to this town back in 1987, I was amazed at how 'refined' these educated monkeys were, and still are. [*Note - The school I attended was just outside the perimeter. The current school I teach at is about 3 km away.] They sit in a groups, never interrupting the teacher, only bothering each other, never any of us, unless provoked. Even then, they'll back off unless absolutely necessary. They are a protective bunch, especially of the younger ones; the babies are orange/russet coloured. They stick up for themselves and each other. They are pretty flexible too, often amazing us with their gymnastics. Or they just sit there and look cute. If they are bored, or feel that they have nothing new to learn, they'll just sit out in the sun or find a cozy corner and snooze.

The SLM are considered encroaches by many. I say let them be. If we are tolerant of feline strays, why not the SLM. Our school is located near the Kuala Selangor Nature Park, but there have been so many instances of human encroachment that the SLM have been forced to go nomadic. People are annoyed that when they do appear in school, they tend to leave their 'mark' behind. Then again, have you ever walked past the students' restrooms after a school day? I rest my case.

I hope that KUSESSians will appreciate the SLM when they are about because the SLM is a species going extinct. People come from all over to see them and KUSESSians, you are lucky cause they have come to you... :) Just learn to respect boundries. The SLM are not pets, they are still wild creatures. If they feel that you are threatening their babies, they'll get aggressive; you know, just like the mother cats that hiss at you when you guys start cooing over their kittens. The SLM are gentle when compared to the macaques (kera), which are very aggressive. Just remember that they have been driven away from their homes and they are constantly looking for food. Do not feed them. Make sure the lids are on the rubbish bins and not by the side where you last left it, or else you'll have to clean up the mess even if the monkey did it. 

Now, I wonder if the SLM will attend my next session at the my outdoors classroom near the Taman Rasidah? If they do, you can be sure there'll be a photo update on FB..;)


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Delhi Belly and Alphabet Shots..;)

I should be careful how I describe my meals. :P

I guess I did a relatively good job talking about 'chewing the fat' on my lamb chop last Thursday, that a friend of mine, SP, way over there in Delhi, India, being all 'enticed by the lamb chop' decided to go out and get himself a tandoori minced lamb kebab. Only, instead of burping from satisfaction, this poor chap ended up with the runs, otherwise known as the Delhi Belly. To the rest of the world, its similar to Montezuma's Revenge = not fun, and what made it worse was, it was a long weekend, and he was under 'outhouse' arrest!

SP, being relatively new to Delhi, was subjected to the city's notorious street vendor's 'rite of passage'; apparently all new comers, or travellers ( consider yourselves warned!) will experience it at least once, or twice, or annually, depending on how 'lucky' you are. Over 'kanji' or gruel, the man was beating himself up for tempting fate (still wondering if I should feel guilty for being so descriptive with my lamb chop). I mean, when we decide to get adventurous with street food, we kind of anticipate the risks (that's why I NEVER travel WITHOUT my charcoal tablets). So when I asked why this was any different, he responded that apparently tis the season . I was like , "there's a season for food poisoning"??

Oh, a little background on SP. He's a smartie...lecturer, researcher, scientific book editor (therefore not surprising, one of the reasons why my Lexulous rating on FB is in the outhouse too) and a certifiable mango lover..;)

So when SP goes, 'tis the season' , me, being me, 'antennas' go up and I go 'pray tell'..;)

Apparently, weeks before, when Delhi was experiencing super dry weather, he and his buddies feasted on street vendor gourmet and came away unscathed. However, last week, Delhi was already in the midst of the monsoon and when that happens the risks of food poisoning will go through the roof.

Two ways food can get contaminated. One, when sewage seeps into the municipal water supply, and two, when it is extremely humid (due to the monsoon), aerosols become transport vessels for bacteria and viruses. [Until that day, to me, aerosol is what comes out of a can and is normally used to kill roaches or cause a hole in the ozone layer. Now I know another version of aerosols.] By the way, aerosols are EVERYWHERE. So even if you are cooking in the cleanest, most hygienic kitchen in Delhi, yup, you guessed it, you could end up with food poisoning.

The monsoon in Delhi is unfortunately a double-edged sword. While it brings a lot of  much needed relief to farmers and chilly nights to the perspiring residents, it is also when the Reaper goes on double duty cause illnesses are rife. To stress his point, SP goes on to write that the Hepatitis E virus is endemic in Delhi and how every year it takes the lives of a few hundred souls in the city.

HEPATITIS E???  How many HEPs are there???  

I have protection against Hep A and Hep B. Believe me, that was one too many injections over a period of one year because I HATE injections and taking medicines. Now there's Hep E?

In my reply this is what I wrote (quote)

"Why don't you guys come up with a one jab for all the Heps and call it the Alphabet Shot You could market it along side alphabet  soup as healthy options. Suggest it at your next seminar and see what comes back. If they throw shoes at you, I hope they are  branded, relatively new and your size. However, if they like the name, I hope for an acknowledgement, you guys keep the patent, copyright etc etc etc.."

Though he thought Alphabet Shot was a catchy name, this was his response (quote)

"Its a nice thought on the Hep vaccine idea. Well, it is always the effort to combine multiple vaccines into a single  shot, but it always does not work that way. Because one, the difference in the organisms involved makes it difficult,  and two, the way our immune system responds to them determines the course of vaccination. As for Hep virus series, A, B, C, D, and E are well known, but there are also F, and G, which are not so well known yet. And all these  viruses are distinctly different from each other. Vaccines for A&B are available (girl's already protected.:)), E may hit the market soon. The vaccine for C remains a distant dream.... And if you can control B, then you also control  D, since without a person being infected with B, D can do you no harm. ... Is that enough science geek from me for  the small question of yours......"

Yes, SP, crystal clear - this layman/woman got it.  By the way, this is SP's area of study, so I am quoting an expert...:) So people, especially all you travellers and biology teachers reading this, take note, there are SO MANY HEPs OUT THERE.

If you haven't gotten your immunisation against HEP A and HEP B, do stand in line for it along with the FLU shot and whatever other shot, like typhoid and whatever else they think you should have before you set out on that great adventure. Those of you attempting street vendor fare wherever you are, do it with a handful of charcoal tablets, at least. To all you aspiring scientist, its clear, the Alphabet Shot (like the One Ring from LOTR) may just be the holy grail of Hep vaccination!! Get cracking on it people, it may just be the next Nobel Prize winning idea and a relief to people like me who HATE injections :D

*Note - Whenever I quote SP in my blog, the label will read 'Shy and Som(e) Sense'. [The man has NO idea what he's agreed to..;)]