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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dealing With Haterz

So the other day (probably yesterday), I tweeted something to the effect of "I wish teaching were as easy as non-teachers think it is." Because it was a tweet, it had to be succinct, and I was in no mood to explain the tweet any further, since it was at the end of a particularly bad teaching and learning session. Plus, it would have taken definitely taken up more than 140 characters. The blog here allows for more space, so I'll explain here.

By the tweet, I meant that it was my desire for teaching to be an easy, "clock-in, sit in a few classes for a few hours a day, clock-out, go back early and nap the rest of day away" kind of job. It was my desire that I didn't feel guilty and useless every time I go out of a class gone wrong (it happens more often than anyone would like), that I didn't give a toss about allowing my students to grow to become their own person while still equipping them with the tools to navigate their way through the oft-unforgiving and tough world outside of the school gates, that I didn't allow my temperament to take over me, that I didn't find myself practicing things that were against my ideals, that I didn't feel like an incompetent buffoon who has no idea what he's doing in class. I was taking the side of the non-teachers there. I liked their view of what teaching meant. It was clean, clear-cut, free from frustration, doubt and depression. It wasn't grimy, tough and tiring (oh, so tiring) as it was looking at it from the inside.

So that's what I basically meant. 

A person on twitter called me out on it, though. The person (may God bless the soul) said something along the lines of "yeah teaching isn't easy, but you get a lot of perks. No job is easy, all jobs require the worker to work hard. Quit your whining. Bitch." And sure enough, I agree with the person. I was definitely whining. Not the best of qualities to have in a person, especially when displayed on social media.

Now, a person who calls someone else (especially if that someone else is a stranger) a "bitch" on social media is usually referred to as a "hater". And because I've had my fair share of questions that sound like "how do you deal with the haterz?" I'm going to answer the question by revealing how I dealt with this person right here.

I replied "Sorry for being bitch :(". The person didn't reply after that.

Maybe that person was too busy beribadat pada bulan puasa to reply my tweet. That is a definite possibility. But I also want to talk about the other possibility, which is: they had nothing to say after that.

Imagine, if you will, you're on a badminton court. You're on your side of the court, then there's a net, then on the other side of the net is your opponent. This opponent of yours is the one that invited you over to the court, because they really want to beat you in this game called badminton. So they smash the shuttlecock in your direction. Here, you have the option of returning the shot. If you do, the game continues, the opponent gets a kick out of it because they are the ones that instigated the game, and if they win, they'll feel good about themselves. And let's remember, they are the ones that invited you over, so they are pretty confident they can beat you. But if you end up winning, they'll leave the game bitter and will resent you for beating them. Jatuh air muka, you know?

Then, you have another option, which is the one I prefer. When that opponent delivers a smash towards your court, you walk on over to their side of the court, join their side and congratulate them on scoring a point against an empty side of the court. Pat them on the back (not literally) and tell them what a good job they've done, scoring against an empty court. The response may vary, but I would like to think that the smasher just now would feel underwhelmed by this turn of events, and would walk away from the game altogether because they have no intention of scoring against an empty court. It's too easy, there's no challenge, and they can't take any pride away from winning against no one. Nobody set any rules to the game, so you're free to do whatever you want, really.

That's the analogy, anyway. So in a real situation, a person spews hate in your direction. Instead of spewing hate back at them, agree with them. Even if you don't actually agree with them, say that you agree with them anyway. Say, "you know what? You're right! MashaAllah you're an amazing human being for being right about that!" Provide them with no opposition whatsoever, and even go on their side and root for them. They, more often than not, walk away from their attempt to instigate conflict feeling baffled and empty. Or at least, that's the results I've seen so far from handling haterz in this way.

This is in no way intended to put yourself down. It's to diffuse conflict, to baffle and confuse the instigator and neutralise the situation so that it isn't so charged with negativity and animosity anymore. It's been working for me, so far. It might work for you too. Who knows?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Under The Tudung Saji

Hey there. What's up? What's happenin'? How's it hangin'? How we doin'?

So Ramadhan's here. Do I hear cheers? Nope, just the sound of the ceiling fan choppin' up the air real good.

Wow, beating around the bush much, Zanzwar?

It's been about two nights of Ramadhan now, and I have a vague idea of how it's going to be for the rest of the month. It's going to be tough, with a lot of delegation of (limited) energy and time having to be done, so I have to really focus on what I want to achieve this month. So I've been doing some living and thinking, and I've got a semi-solid plan of what I want to do this coming month.

Unfortunately for this blog and for the writer in me, consistently writing on the blog hasn't made it to the list. I do my writing at night, but Ramadhan nights here at home are a lot different from Ramadhan nights spent alone in a rented apartment (as was the case last year), so adjustments have to be made.

I'll be working on other things and other projects (specifically one project) throughout this month, and as soon as I can, I'll share it with the world, but for now, I'll have to put in the work and ensure that I'm happy with the quality of the work produced, and keep it under the tudung saji until it's ready.

That doesn't mean I won't be writing at all throughout the month. Sometimes I'll need to let some stuff go in the form of writing, here specifically. It's just that I just won't allocate as much time to doing just that.

I wish for a good month ahead to all of you who are reading this. May we all find what we are looking for.

Monday, June 15, 2015

HundredHundred

It has become really like me to vanish for a longer time than usual from the blog right after I write about how much I like or want to write, kan? Oh wellz.

This time, however, was for a good reason (aren't they all?). I went to KL for the weekend to volunteer for EnglishJer's HundredHundred exhibition at the Cooler Lumpur Festival in Kuala Lumpur (of course).

Technically, HundredHundred was a writing competition where people from ages 15-26 were asked to submit their written pieces for an exhibition at the Cooler Lumpur Festival. The catch was that each piece of writing needed to be exactly one hundred words long. Only the top one hundred pieces were displayed at the exhibition. Some examples pieces from the exhibition are provided for you below:

Like I said earlier, that's the technical explanation. The reality of HundredHundred is to provide the youth a platform to craft their own narrative and share it with the general public. People in general have a perception towards the youth (that they are petty, juvenile, don't think about stuff at all, hidup mau enjoy saja, etc.) and although they might be true to some extent, the HundredHundred aims to expose the passer-by to a wider array of stories that the youth have to share. Their concerns range everywhere from not having anything to write, to missing their mothers, to wanting to forget their experience of being raped. Heavy stuff.

Providing this platform and having people care about what young people have to say, because whether one likes it or not, older people are going to die and these young people are the ones that are going to take their place. They are the ones that are going to be the adults and make nation-changing (if not world-changing) decisions. They are the ones whose opinions will be reported about in the newspapers, and the ones that people will soon write about and read about and look up to or disagree with. It's worth taking a look and paying attention, because they're going to get there someday, and when they do, you'd be glad to know what kinds of thoughts put on paper became their stepping stones to bigger and greater things.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Really Want To

I get asked "so you're not making any videos anymore?" Often nowadays, since it's been quite a while since I last uploaded a video on the youtube channel. I usually answer with a "too tired from work" or "don't got ideas oredi" or even "everything I have to say now would end up getting me thrown in jail". While they're all somewhat true, they're all not the main reason. The main reason is that I don't really want to make videos right now.

If I really wanted to do it, I would. I would disregard all the alasans I give myself, or work my way around them in order to make it happen anyway, because that's what people who really want to do something would go about it. What I seem to really want to do nowadays is write, and I try to do it almost everyday, regardless of whether I'm tired from work or if I don't have any ideas. I just do it anyway, because I really want to do it.

So if I really wanted to make videos, I'd pick a time when I'm not too tired to record, edit and upload (most realistically on weekends), and I could just write whatever I want that doesn't get me thrown in jail as a topic if the script, use the phone to record the video and audio, use the lights I have at my disposal and just go ahead and do it. I know how I would go about doing it, but I don't. And the how isn't really the struggle. The struggle is answering the why

Why do I write? Because I really want to. Why don't I make videos? Because I don't really want to. Quite simple, non?

What you really want to do is not reflected in what you say you want to do. It's reflected in what you're actually doing. So if you say that you want to jog half-an-hour every day, but you all you do is watch Youtube videos all day, then you don't really want to jog. You want to watch Youtube videos. Whether that's good or bad is up to you. But that's the reality of it.

So are we living consistently with what we preach? Do we say we want something yet do some other thing? Let's be honest with ourselves by actually doing the things we say, or at least don't say what we aren't doing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Contemplating Dimensions And Quantum-ness

So today was great. I had an interview session in which I squeezed in a half-verse of rap, went to a meeting talking about some exciting new things that might happen in the not-so-distant future, hopefully. And I got to reflect upon how small and weak we are as human beings with the bestfriend.

Did you know (and I'm sure you do) that even though we're physically three-dimensional, we see in two-dimensions? Like when we see a car from the back, we can only see the back of said car. We can't (simultaneously) see both it's sides and it's front all at once. We'd have to more around and change our view in order to see those other sides, and one (or two, at most) at a time, and we can't go beyond that (unless you put a mirror somewhere there, but then again, the image on the mirror is also two-dimensional, so yeah).

This revelation by the bestfriend made me feel so small and weak, like, I'm a human, and as perfect as I tend to think I am, I can only see in 2D. I can only be in 3D, not see.

And this feeling of inferiority was only enhanced when we later talked about the Fermi Paradox (you and I should google that) and how it is very possible that for each grain of sand on all of Earth, there is another Earth out there in the universe (because it's just THAT vast), and how only 5% of the universe is observable, and how small we are as individual human beings when compared to a whole town, whole state, whole country, whole continent, whole planet, whole solar system, whole Milky Way, in comparison to the whole universe (that only makes up about 5% of existence). 

How do you not feel like even less than a speck of dust on the vast, vast windshield of life? How is existing significant? How do we bring meaning to ourselves and all the things that we hold dear to us? These are questions for everyone to dwell upon, and that pursuit has to bring some kind of meaning, no? 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Of Writing And Originality

Of late, I've been feeling like I've run out of things to write about. Or, more specifically, I feel like I've already written everything that's on my mind in one way or another in some post that I've written in the past. I feel like if I were to write anything else now, it'll either be some form of plagiarism of something I've read elsewhere, or it'll be me repeating something I've said already on the blog. 

Of course, this is in some way both absolutely true and not true at all. Everything I have to say or have said in the past has been in some shape or form a regurgitation of what I've consumed in the past. Nothing about me has been completely original, and nothing I produce in the future shall be completely original, since I can't isolate myself - and consequently, my writing - from my environment, no matter how hard I tried. I am a product of the amalgamation of my environment and my influences. Me and what I have consumed up until now are inseperable.

The only thing original I have to offer is what it looks like from my eyes. If anyone else in the world were to take my place and grow up as me and go through exactly the same things I've been through, I'd like to think that they'd have the exact same points of view as me right now.

But the fact of the matter is, no one is capable of living as someone else so completely, so everyone has a unique window from which to see the world from, and that's the only bit of originality one can offer. When one tries to convey how the world looks like from someone else's window, now that's the only truly unoriginal thing one can do. 

But when one uses other peoples' view of the world to inform them of the world to enable them to have a clearer (or at least, more colourful) picture of the world and relay to everyone else what it looks like from their perspective, then it should be alright, no?

Quite the detour I seem to have taken from my opening sentences to this post. Which just proves (to myself, more than anyone else, really) that I haven't run out of things to write about. I can't possibly run out of things to write about, no matter how much I tried. If I ended up believing that, then it'd just be a signal for me to read more things and interact with more people, and think about more stuff because seriously, if I were to combine all of those topics in a list, it'd be limitless. Or rather, more realistically, I'd die before I'd have a chance to exhaust that list of possibilities in the form of the written word. It's just a matter of me wanting to do it enough or not. If I'm anywhere serious about being a writer, then I'd better start writing, yeah?

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Teachers Who Don't Comment

A couple of weeks ago (or was it just one?) a celebrity came under (online) fire when she said in a forum about education (in which she was a panelist) that caning was no longer relevant in schools. Let's talk about that for a bit, shall we?

When she said that can is no longer relevant in schools, it does imply that she believes that there was a time in the past when caning was relevant. It's just that little humans have now moved past that amd are ready to not be physically harmed for the sake of education. She may or may not believe that, but it is certainly what was implied with the way she put it.

But of course, I doubt that she was drawing from any empirical data when she said this. I, personally, have yet to come across a research paper that studied students' achievements based on the rate of being caned (maybe I should look into that). More probable is that she feels like it's no longer relevant. Parents that she's come across probably hardly lay a finger on their children, and they've turned out just fine, probably. Teachers in the Western world have abandoned the cane and they seem to be doing just fine as well. So it's a reasonable thing to believe that caning is no longer relevant in today's classrooms.

But then we have the Facebook commenters on the matter. The people that say things like "let's see how you fare in a classroom of 30 kids and no cane!" and "who's this uppity woman to say how teachers should and shouldn't do their job? The teachers know what they're doing! Leave them alone!" or maybe even "if I hadn't been caned (belted, chaired, hangered, etc.) when I was a kid, I wouldn't be the person that I am today". 

They have strong reasons to believe that the cane is the way to go. They can only see disaster coming from the banning of canes in schools. Kids will lose their sense of discipline, will become spoiled and will lack focus to excel in the classroom. They'll only play around and not take the teacher at all seriously and will grow up believing that they can get away with anything, since the worst that'll happen is probably a "time-out", whatever that means.

The biggest reason for them being as "successful" as they are at life now is because their teacher didn't spare them the cane. If it weren't the case, they argue, they'd probably be sniffing glue and asking strangers for money to buy more glue and be sleeping in some ditch somewhere. They believe that if they aren't caning their students, then chaos would reign in the classroom and their students wouldn't learn anything at all. It is what is called tough love. They don't do it out of spite. They do it out of the care in their hearts, to not see these kids ruin their own lives because they don't know what's good for themselves. They really do believe that, and who can blame them? That was how they were raised, and that is the only environment they were exposed to, so how could one expect life to be any different for anyone else?

But then, there are the teachers who, upon reading the news article of said celebrity, just shrug it off as a person saying whatever they want to say, and having every right to do that. The teachers who don't leave any comment because they know that their struggle isn't in the comment section. The teachers who don't try to seek validation in the form of likes on a Facebook status. The teachers who, when the bell rings, go right back at it in class and give it their best to do what they think is best for the students. The teachers who realise that they are only capable of making the tiniest of significant change in the lives of the students that they teach (if they're lucky), but it's that tiny significant change that bring them joy and fulfillment and strength to go through another day of helping others, inspiring others to be better than they were the day before and develop a love towards knowledge. The teachers who are more interested in having their names inscribed into their children's hearts than in the comment section.

Those are the teachers that deserve the most likes, and yet, so often are overlooked because they didn't bother posting a comment.