Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Warning! A Very Rugby Post (Communication)

"Got nothing against you," Afterlife by Avenged Sevenfold.

So over here I haven't completely neglected rugby (thankfully). I'm currently training with the New South Wales Malaysian students rugby team, and we've got THE tournament of the year coming up, which is the National Conference Games (NCG) 2011 that'll be held in Melbourne. It's basically a sports carnival type event where Malaysian students from all over Australia come as representatives of their states and compete against other states. The rugby games will be on the 6th of July.

The current NSW rugby team is pretty good in my humble opinion.We've got some good players who have had substantial experience in rugby. It's good fun playing with them. Plus, they're cool guys, so that's always great.

However, I do feel that the team does need to work on its communication. This has been an issue in any team I've played. Since rugby is very much a team sport, communication plays a huge role in the game. But when I say communication here, I'm not saying that we need to talk about what we had lunch yesterday on the field. I mean meaningful, in the moment, specific communication like "I'll take the scrum-half!", "That's your man!" and "Ruck it out!"

Here, I'll list down a few reasons why meaningful communication is THAT big a deal to me while playing rugby (or any team sport, for that matter):

1. It helps the team get organized. Especially when defending, when we let our team mates know who we've marked, they can mark another guy instead of having two guys marking the same person, increasing the chances of the opponent of getting an extra man on the wing. When attacking, we can know exactly how much support we have and the options that are available to us in order to make an informed decision of how to play the ball.

2. It helps the team focus. When we're voicing out what we're doing and what we're going to do, we're actually reminding our team mates and also ourselves about what we're going to do, so we'll focus more on the task at hand. If we were to stay silent, it would be very easy for us to stray in our thoughts and lose focus in a game. We don't think about how we're going to perform then and there, we'll start thinking about the result, about a cute girl standing on the sidelines rooting for his boyfriend, wondering why she even bothered to come because they're not even married yet. (No I don't think about these things. Because I communicate in games.)

3. It intimidates the opposition (why does a certain de-facto leader spring to mind? Oh well, never mind.) When you're up against a team that are frequently communicating with each other, you can't help but feel a little unsettled. You just get drowned by their meaningful noise, as they sound confident and fit. Yes, when you communicate a lot, your opponent will think that you're fit, even though inside you're panting more than a dog on heat. So communicate, it'll make you fitter (in your opponent's eyes, at least).

So those are some of the reasons why I think communication is integral in rugby or any other team sport. Of course, there are several other reasons, but those are more situational (is that even a word?) and can only be said on the field with the ball in hand.

I'm praying that all will be fine in Melbourne and that our team will do great. Think about your performance first, and the result will come. Think about your results too much, and your performance shall suffer. Wise words from a wise man (my Bapak).

May peace be upon all of you.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Haven't Really Blogged Much / Winter Plans

"Called up to listen to the voice of reason, and got the answering machine," Reckless Serenade by Arctic Monkeys.

I've noticed this about a year ago, but I've never really done anything about it. I've either been too busy or too lazy. I'm referring to the fact that I don't really blog anymore.

This not so recent re-realization has made me re-question why I blog in the first place. Then I remember that my initial reason for blogging was to record significant events and thoughts in my life so that I wouldn't just forget it all as time passes me by. Besides practicing my writing, of course.

I haven't been doing that lately. A whole semester in Australia has passed with only 7 blog posts to show for it. And then I wonder what I've done this whole semester. Brilliant. Sigh.

So, from this post on, I vow to myself to blog more frequently (at least once a week) no matter how busy I am or uneventful my week was, I HAVE to think about something to write about. I find that I work harder (and sometimes better) when pushed, so I hope that this push from myself will be a catalyst for some change upon myself.


Now that that's off my chest, I will now list down a few things that I hope to get done during this winter break. And here we go:

1. Continue making videos every weekend (and possibly on non-weekends too if I have the time and will power).
2. Play for New South Wales Malaysian students' Rugby Club in the National Conference Games in Melbourne.
3. Read some books (starting with Kuntum Cinta di Taman Syurga)
4. Attend Winter Gathering 2011 [sorry, no link found]
5. Look for a job, maybe after Winter Gathering.
6. Blog about all of it (except no. 1, of course).

I'm hoping that all that will be accomplished. But I always need to remember that we can plan, but Allah determines. And in anything I do, I need to remember that I'm doing it for Allah, to seek His pleasure.

So here's to an eventful Winter Break!

May peace be upon all of you!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Semester Wrap-Up

"You're acting like a stranger, coz you thought it looked like fun," Hellcat Spangled Shalalala by Arctic Monkeys.

Hello there blogosphere. It's been a while, huh?

I have just finished my final exams for this semester. Four subjects, loads of knowledge, lots of hope that all of it'll stick with me forever and ever.

But it won't. *kueng kueng kueng* #WTFmoments

(Noob gila mamat ni guna hashtag dalam blog)

Digressor at heart, me.

So this post is going to summarize the subjects succinctly (let's hope).

Courtesy of

Aaaaaaaand GO!

EDUC260 (Language, Literacy & Learning)
This subject taught us how to teach and be awesome at it. The lectures and tutorials were unique and great to experience. Yes, they were experiences, rather than just "lessons". We did a lot of work in pairs and were engaged throughout with well-thought-of activities. Overall, the subject made us think seriously about how we were going to make a difference in the world, class by class, student by student.

EDUC258 (Mathematics in School)
What? TESOL students learning to teach maths? But why? But then again, why not? We got to learn a lot of theories and approaches to teaching in this course, because, let's face it, this IS still basically an EDUCATION course. It also re-opened my eyes to mathematics, and shed mathematics in a more kind, less threatening light. The kind of maths that was taught in this course was fun and cool, emphasising on relational understanding. Very different to the maths that was taught to me in school, which was very instrumental and transmissionist in their approach. Any teacher would have benefited from taking this course. If the maths in our schools were taught the way this course taught us to teach it, then there would be a lot more math-lovers out there, and for all the right reasons. If it could transform a math-hater like myself say all these things, you know this course was good.

LING218 (Grammar & Meaning)
This was basically a functional grammar course, where grammar is not seen as just "a set of rules in a language", but the system of shaping reality. I know that's a bit heavy for some people, but that's exactly what it is. To non-language lovers out there, this course is dead boring. But to a person like me who is really into the English language and words in general, it really opens your eyes and makes you say "aaaahhh!" (not like an "aaah! Scary!" but more of an "aaah! Interesting!") It shows how us humans use language to construe the world around us and also how the world construes you. Interesting stuff, I kid you not. The down side was the readings, which were horribly technical, so it got my head jammed several times.

LING109 (Language, Culture & Communication) (Elective)
An interesting (understatement alert!) introduction to linguistics course. In the first lecture, the lecturer said something along the lines of "If you think this course is like rocket science, you're wrong. It's much harder." I imagine that he said those things to weed out the people who were just looking for a kacang course (easy-easy one). Some of my friends decided to switch electives after that first lecture, leaving me to be the only Malaysian in the course. And I'm glad that was the case. Besides learning loads of awesome things about just how humongous an impact language has on significant world events as well as everyday things in life that we take for granted, it also allowed me to talk to Aussies on a weekly basis and be "that Malaysian dude" rather than "one of those Malaysians". Really, fantastic course to learn, and I wish I could learn it all over again. But a big negative on the course were the assignments. They were TOUGH. Finished them on the verge of tears, I did. (Nah, I'm kidding. Or am I?)

So that was all of 'em. Overall, it was a good first semester as a university student. A very busy one, yes, but I learned a lot. Alhamdulillah, praise be to Allah for this wonderful opportunity to learn. I hope I'll be able to make good use of all this new knowledge in future. As Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported, Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying:

When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased). [Sahih Muslim]

So if it won't be of benefit to me in this world, I hope it'll bring me some good in the hereafter. Bi ithnillah.

May peace be upon all of you!