Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Our first class as husband and wife.

Something's wrong big time with my internet connection. Very unstable and erratic.


Yesterday, I spent the whole day doing up a PPT for the class at night. Alan and I did a self-introduction using powperpoints, coupled with loads of pictures of ourselves and Singapore. We started the class by doing just that and as the students trickled in...soon we found ourselves staring at fifteen kids (aged from 15 to 18!).

The classroom was airconditioned and with an attached toilet (albeit abit dim) and Alan brought his projector to allow for the powerpoint screening. I realised that if we infuse more IT, the children will be more excited to learn. We also played music (Alan brought his speakers) for the kids and they were certainly enthused and even asked for certain songs of their idols to be played. Whatever notions we had (due to prior warning) of their ill-disciplined behaviour and disgruntle nature sort of vanished almost immediately.

After our self introduction, I asked every student for his or her input on what they do daily. And soon, the whiteboard was filled with helping words - for them to write a composition, of course. Their standard of English was very bad and some even needed me to translate my instructions into Mandarin before they could begin on a task set. The longest composition was 13 lines.

Anyway, the kids tried their darnest and we also could see them being drawn more and more into the lesson. *smiles* Later on, each one of them had to do a self introduction to the class and tell everyone of their fav. subject in sch, their idols etc. I got everyone to share verbally (and I realised that they have very few opportunities to speak up in their own classes in school). Very surprisingly, the biggest guy in the class, Wu Long, who perhaps is towering at around 1.85m, who the most shy and he was tongue-tied and refused to speak. I made him promise that next week, he would address the class. Wai Kit also shared that his idol was Michael Jackson and upon further probbing, promised he would dance to any tune DJ Alan spun during our next class on Tuesday! hahahha

When I passed them the cookies I had baked for them as a special 'welcome gift' at the end of the lesson, I think they were rather touched. Quite a few boys even polished off the ten cookies (each child had ten to prevent any disputes) each on the spot and returned me the little plastic tub almost immediately! Hahhaha. ahhhh one had the cheek to even say the cookies were too sweet and 'next time can dun make so sweet'. ahaa duh The most heart-warming part of it all was when the kids were going to leave the classroom and some of them came up to my make-shift table to return me the marker pens I had placed on their tables. They also thanked me sincerely and shyly.

anyway, it was 1010 when Alan and I packed up and left the orphanage. We were exhausted but very pleased with the class and very enthusiastic about this whole volunteering thing. :D

Volunteer work is fun and exciting and we can to make 'friends' with 'children' and bring more life into their lives. Interestingly enough, KC mentioned that these children are very used to getting things because of their under-privileged status. And that he hopes to train them into useful beings who will work to line their own pockets.

Sad to say, I don't see how the education in Malaysian local schools will actually do much to benefit these kids. I mean, in Crescent, if our students (local or scholars) were to produce such short and simple and grammatically flawed essays, our dear Mr Ravi will perspire through his singlet and press the panic button and give them one MOCK EXAM per DAY comprising Paper One Part One and Two and Paper Two and sometimes maybe even Paper Three! The sad little teacher would have to MARK and give REMEDIAL every single day until the student gets her A1 and leaves the school without thanking the teacher, her nose held up sky high.

Frankly, Hayden's level of vocabulary and his phonetics-enabled spelling makes him a superior student than any of the kids. Very sad ya? I will need to seriously plan the syllabus for the class. Because they are from form 3 (15 yrs old) ot Form 5 (17 or 18 yrs old) there needs also, on top of normal grammar, to be a distinction in their learning. I will also target those who will be sitting for their PMR / SPM this year.

SOmething to highlight is that the policy of Ti-ratana is that once the child turns 18, he or she will no longer be a member of Ti-ratana. He or she is deemed capabale to take care of him or herself in society. This is kinda scary as I know, the children's level of education will not get them very far in life. They will, as Alan put it, probably end up manning the toll booths and collecting RM1.50 for the entry of each car. *sigh* This is the way the government caters to the low-achievers in society.

Anyhow, 1 July 2008 was a special day for Alan and myself and we also feel closer than before, having participated in something together, that we believed strongly in.

I think MUCH more can be done to improve things here. But I will start with these 16 kids.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunday in KL

We roused at around 9+am and decided against bringing Jay Jay to the dog gathering at Central Park in Banda Utama. It was slightly drizzling and we were unsure of how much fun could be enjoyed.

Breakfast was at mid Valley at around 11+am. We went to Toastbox and had our usual fix. Then headed to MPH to pick up teaching materials for the orphans in Tiratana and a book for my tuition student salwa. We purchased coloured paper, pens, magic pens etc. I also picked some motivational bookmarks as 'rewards' for the children.

Then, we picked up our dry cleaned laundry and Alan's altered Ashworth pants and headed back home, not before buying some honey from the wild forests in India and some gentle facial cleanser and also subscribing to Readers' Digest! heeehee.

After we dumped the stuff at home and a short rest, we went to Sri Hartamas area to explore. Dania, my student, had announced that it was really fun there, and we wanted to take a look. What greeted our eyes, after a 20mins-30mins drive was a shopping complex that paled in comparison (with MVMM).

By Malaysian standards, the mall was small and had little to offer, apart from quite a few good eateries. However, when we ventured outside admist the slight drizzle, we discovered a row or two of shops which somehow reminded us of Europe. hahaha How rare, in Malaysia!

We left Sri Hartamas, not buying anything except from Bread Story and Mercato ( supermarket). We picked up 4 packets of cookie dough mix for me to bake cookies for the children in the orphanage and some chocolates for them to be rewarded for good behaviour.

It was still early six o clock so we headed for Ikano Power Centre to look at doggies. The ones there are really of good quality (as compared to those in the pet shops dotting the city of KL) and we were enticed by a Chow Chow, Golden retriever and also a yorkie - in that order. There was a small little toy poddle as well that was SO CUTE!

We left our number to be contacted (by celine) if there were any bulldogs (!!) or Westies that were coming in and will excitedly await the arrival of our third baby! Hehehhe. I will need to change the sofa in Sri tiara to squeeze out more space.

Dinner was at The Curve where we picked up a quick and tasty bite at Dragon-I again. hahaha I had my spicy and sour SiChuan ramien and Alan had pork and spring onions ramien. We shared some jelly fish and dessert was sinful for Alan as he spooned down mango and iced shavings with ah ballings. I had a delightfully comforting hashima (only the best for the wife!)

We picked up more groceries at Cold Storage and then headed home tiredly to rest and relax and prepare for the new week.