Sunday, May 31, 2015

Frog Classroom

So recently an initiative called the Frog Classroom (twitter handle: @FrogClassroom15) tweeted to me what they were working on, and after watching a video about it (click here to open the video in an new tab), I've been interested in the good work they're doing.

They go to target schools and they pick a class that is in dire need of a makeover, and turn that classroom into a really cool classroom with laptops and a smart-board and air-conditioning. Even a punching bag was installed, which was a nice touch, in my opinion. 

What I like about the project is that it empowers students to learn for themselves. It takes the teacher out of the picture, and even though I am myself a teacher, I always find students who are capable of finding things out on their own to be ahead of the pack and show a hunger for knowledge that is always welcome in any living person in the 21st century. Not to say that the teacher is unimportant, but because knowledge can be acquired so easily nowadays, students shouldn't wait to be spoonfed everything by their teachers anymore. Teachers are there to facilitate learning and guide the students in the right direction.

If students really utilise that room well, a lot of potential can be realised. It's a conducive learning environment, where comfort and ease of learning is emphasised, so it shouldn't be too hard for students to get used to it. Of course, it is still up to the teachers to show them the way and help them learn how to learn. Having this room will indeed help tremendously in that regard.

Some of the more predictable challenges that this initiative will face is the issue of sustainability (in regards to cost, especially), as well as how freely students shall be able to use the room. It is, after all, only one room for the entire school. I'm sure they're addressing (or at least trying to address) those concerns and more as we speak. 

What is more important, however, is that such an initiative exists, and it would be in the best interest of the general public if they were to get behind the project and support them in any way they can. Besides that, other such initiatives should follow this example. If this movement inspires others to do something similar, if not better, than that'd be most beneficial, to the school-students, if nobody else.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Majlis Persaraan Thoughts

So earlier today there was this "majlis persaraan" thing for a teacher at my school. The usual stuff ensued (cue sad music, sad-sounding MC, the life-story of retiree). The retiree couldn't make it to the assembly, but we held it anyway, in memory of his long service to the school.

What caught me about the whole thing was the life-story bit. The person on the mic started with something clichéd like "dilahirkan pada bla bla bla di bla bla bla didalam keluarga yang bla bla ba" and I zoned out to have a little swim with my thoughts.

It's usually the same old same old when it comes to majlis-majlis persaraan in schools. Through my 10 years spent as a student in Malaysian schools and couple of years in school as a teacher, it's more or less like what I mentioned above. The template doesn't vary very much. And there'll always be the listing down of the retiree's life achievements while they were in the work force. And when I thought about this, I asked myself "when people read out your life highlights in your majlis persaraan, how many points will they have to talk about? Will it be something like: lahir, belajar, kerja, kawen, bersara then tunggu mati? What am I going to do with my time here while I'm still young and able? How is my life story going to inspire others? What will be my legacy?"

These questions are all ambitious ones, and I think that reveals me to be somewhat of an ambitious person. I can only attribute that to my surroundings and the people I have been exposed to and that have inspired me. I aspire to be somewhat like them in a sense that I want to work towards making this world a better place and help other people feel like they can achieve things if they really put their minds to it and work hard towards achieving their goals.

And I do understand that some people find that the lahir-belajar-kawen-kerja-bersara-mati lifestyle to be the one they are most comfortable with, and to that I say more power to them. Different people look for different things in life, and no one's inherently better than anyone else in that regard. As long as we strive to contribute positive things to our surroundings, that's a massive thumbs-up already.

May we all find what we are looking for.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sembang Kencang Dua Kawan (Part 2)

To read PART 1, click here.

"Bro, aku pi hantaq petikan buku tu kat ex aku. Of all the things yang dia boleh cakap, dia kata:

Awak bile awak banyak berfikir, perkara ni akan timbul persoalan, dan bile tak dapat solve, soalan lain pulak akan timbul, dan seterusnye. Kite muhasabah diri. Bile awak asyik berfikir bende ni, sampai bile nak habis? Saye faham tu semue, tapi saye takleh nak describe and tak tahu macam mane nak cakap. Hati saye sakit sangat. Saye rase saye lelaki yang dayus bile saye sendiri takleh nak cube ubah ape-ape pade awak. Yang saye rase cume lelaki bodoh. Tapi dah tu hak awak dan awak berkeras dengan ape yang awak nak. Tu pade hati awak sendiri untuk berubah.

I told him that I didn't want to change him. Yet, he still talks about changing me. Help me give a punch to his face, please? Sigh. One part of me kata memang patut pun aku break up dengan dia. Another part kata .. jahat sangat ka aku ni?"

"Ada orang panggil benda tu keras kepala. Ada orang panggil benda tu berprinsip. Ikut atas orang nak tengok macam mana. The way I see it, thinking constantly has become part of your character, your identity. Denying that – or trying to change it – would be denying you as a person terus. Not that I'm saying that change is a bad thing. But imposing your will on others, in this case, making other people change their identity because they don't feel comfortable with it, then that's not positive at all. It's wanting a person to do something they don't want to do, or are incapable of doing. Macam asking a fish to stop swimming. Tak syok ah macam tu."

"I guess. Macam Hlovate kata: I don't say 'take a bite from my plate, chew, telan, then talk' for no reason. Aku mungkin justify tindakan aku as prinsip and nampak dia sebagai keras kepala. And vice versa for him."

"Yeah, the issue is perselisihan pandangan, essentially. Thing about it is, takdak masalah apa pun kalau we find out that we're uncomfortable with the way someone is. Kalau tak suka sangat, jauhkan diri ajalah. No need for animosity. All that's required is the acceptance of the fact that you weren't made for each other, and then moving on with your lives."

"Aku move on, sebab aku dah tak rasa terkilan apa-apa. I've tried my best untuk cari titik persamaan tu, tapi tak jumpak jugak. So I'm kinda happy ja sebenaqnya. Cuma petikan daripada buku tu ajalah that caused an uproar. Haha."

"Indeed it did."

"Hm. Benda yang kita percaya ni bukan terlalu idealistik kan? Possible ja kan untuk capai level of understanding yang macam tu?"

"I think so."

"Aku risau sebab being this idealistic person, kadang-kadang aku takut aku terlalu positive and tak sedar hakikat dunia yang terlalu disgusting. Tapi, at the same time, aku rasa, salah ka ka nak have faith in humanity?"

"It is possible, but it takes time, and it takes trust. Tapi dalam manoeuvring the world ni kita kena set benda-benda yang kita tak akan tolerate. Limits, so to speak. Contohnya, I won't tolerate orang yang anggap perempuan ni ialah inferior to men dan hanya layak dijadikan objek seks semata-mata. An extrem example, but still an example lah. And dalam hal ex hang ni, thing about him is that he isn't willing to grow and be more mature when it comes to matters of the mind. Aku takkan kisah kalau dia sekadar classmate aku ka, jiran ka apa. Tapi sebagai pasangan hidup, takleh. Aku ada my own set of standards, and – after acknowledging that nobody is perfect, first and foremost – aku hanya akan marry to a person that will, at the end of the day, make me feel good berdamping dengannya, and help me become a better person. Realitinya, manusia yang macam tu wujud ja dalam dunia ni. It's not idealist to accept the fact that they exist. Realist ja, sebenaqnya. Cuma realitinya ialah orang macam tu, orang macam the ones we look up to, tak ramai. Dalam Malaysia lagi al jarang aku jumpak. Tapi ada ja. People, for the most part, do suck. But it;s a question of why you're going to keep on holding on to and working towards what you believe in. Selagi that why is strong, you'll be heading in a positive direction."

"Wah, kita memang kalau bab sembang ni kencang ja noh? Haha!"

"Taw takpa! Haha!"

"Well, to respond, the reason kenapa aku nak percaya ada orang yang se-level pemikiran macam tu lagi ialah sebab aku nak jadi manusia yang better. Kalau aku nak baiki diri, aku kena duduk dalam environment yang positive. Then aku boleh bantu orang untuk cuba tengok dunia dari pandangan yang positive jugak. Aku tak suka dunia yang pernah aku rasa. Nak create dunia baru. Tapi aku sedaq, bukan senang. So I need to think of the small steps. And finding a great husband and building a great family is one of those steps. Hahaha!"

"That's a very positive thing to hold on to. I hope you find that great husband and are able to create that great family with him."

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sembang Kencang Dua Kawan

"So ada petikan daripada buku ni yang aku dok baca ni. Nah aku bagi hang baca:

You're so immature, Daniel," she mutters. She flips the visor down and pulls her lipstick from her purse, then begins to reapply it. "I'm beginning to wonder if you'll ever change."


What the hell is that supposed to mean?

"Why would I change?" I ask, cocking my head out of curiosity.

She sighs and drops her lipstick back into her purse, smacks her lips together, then turns towards me. "So you're telling me you're happy with the way you act?"

"This is me," I say, gesturing towards myself. "If you don't like all of me, then we've got serious issues, Val. I'm not changing and honestly, it wouldn't be fair of me to ask you to change, either. I would never ask you to pretend to be something you're not, which is exactly what you're asking of me right now. I'm not changing and I'll never change."

Hang rasa, kan, ex aku rasa macam ni ka bila aku mintak dia berubah? Haha"

"Mungkin. Tapi realitinya, change is the inevitable product of growth. If you want to grow, you're going to have to change, in one way or another. A refusal to change — by saying things like "I'll never change!" — shows a refusal to grow."

"Kan? Siapa betul, siapa salah? Or perlu ka ada persoalan betul atau salah? Justifikasi ka yang menentukan? If so, apa standard justifikasi yang tepat? Or dalam hidup ni, kita memang akan hadapi situasi camni and you just live with it as long as you love that someone? If that is so, valid ka cinta yang macam tu? Wouldn't it be like you're just enduring each others' bullshit sebab takut single? Atau akan ada satu level where walaupun perangai macam apa lagi, tapi sebab sayang, i tak kisah? Kentut pun jadi wangi? Haha. But then, those kinds of relationships, depa akan bergaduh besar bila dah married over silly things, possibly leading to a lot of unhappiness. Tak gitu? I guess my question is, what is right and what is wrong?"

"Bagi aku, there is no real right and wrong. Or at least, it's not the same for everybody. Different people find different things wrong — and right. And for the same people pun, it's not the same for every context. Orang yang sama akan find the same thing both right and wrong, depending on the time, and the place they're in, or the situation in which the issue arises. I think, especially in a marriage, both parties need to have an understanding of where dia punya pasangan nak pi, apa yang depa nak buat dengan each others' lives, and to take on the responsibility of helping their pasangan achieve what they want to achieve in life – both this one and the next – to support each other in times of trouble, to encourage and help each other punya life. Kalau ada satu pihak yang tak mampu atau tak sanggup nak buat camtu, then it won't work. Ni pandangan peribadi aku ja, seorang yang belum berkahwin, so aku sembang kencang ja ni sebenaqnya. Haha."

"Tu biasa bro. Sembang kencang memang kerja kita. Haha. Hm. So, pada pandangan hang la, okay ka tak okay keputusan aku to break it off dengan dia? Betul ka salah? Aku maw jawapan honest as usual. Jangan menipu, tak baik."

"Takdaknya aku nak menipu!"

"Haha, mana taw, kot-kot walaupun dah 8 tahun kenai, hang dok buat rasa serba salah nak jujurlah padakuuu~ Peringat ajalah, suruh jujur."

"Okay ja. Aku rasa you made the right choice. He wasn't right for you. Or at the very least, not yet. Pandangan aku sebagai kawan: you deserve better."

"Thanks atas kejujuran hang. I find it weird when some people rasa tak selesa terima honest answers. How do they live, half knowing that people are lying straight to their faces?"

"Yeah, aku pun takmaw orang tipu aku. Especially kawan. Tu yang aku cuba sedaya upaya untuk tak tipu orang. Especially kawan."

"Okay, aku taktaw pasai pa, tapi aku rasa macam nak gelak. Hahaha!"


Monday, May 25, 2015

A Post About Sleep

One of the things that I never seem to get enough of is sleep. I seem to always be in the mood for a good nap (or two). I always try to sneak naps into my day, more out of necessity than anything else because "sleepy" has somehow become my default setting.

Nowadays I have to drive an hour to get to school and an hour to get back from school. I can usually go to school in the morning smoothly enough (even though it takes a lot of singing at the top of my lungs to keep me awake throughout the trip), but the return trip isn't too easy. It's at the end of work, and I'm usually exhausted. Plus, i've most probably just had lunch, and being in the air-conditioned car, it's a very conducive environment for people (me, specifically) to fall asleep. I usually have to stop by an RnR midway and take a fifteen minute to nap the drowsiness away, or else risk falling asleep on the wheel.

I wasn't always like this. I remember wondering while I was a tween "macam mana orang boleh tertidur dalam kelas?" because it seemed like such an impossible task to me. There was a teacher there to listen to, and catch you out on sleeping, and there was never a moment that allowed any sleepiness to prevail, because when the teacher was out, the class would be so noisy.

The first time I felt sleepy in class was in Form 4. I even terlelap sat. I don't remember what class I was in, which teacher was in front or anything, but I do remember thinking, "Alamak, macam mana aku boleh tertidoq ni?" since it was such a new thing to happen to me: to feel sleepy while in school. Ever since then, I would always be sleepy in classrooms that weren't able to hold my interest for more than five minutes at a time, including (but not limited to) institute lectures, tutorials and talks/forums.

Feeling sleepy all the time like I do now sucks, because you know you're not performing in a way that is optimal. Your energy levels aren't at their best, and your brain just isn't as activated. You get reckless, you forget things, you're slow at processing things. I try my best to not let it be a hindrance, but I know that it's still there, and I could do so many things so much better, if only I weren't as sleepy all the time. 

It sounds like I'm making excuses for myself. I probably am. But even if I get hours and hours of sleep in a day, I always wake up and move through my day the same: feeling drowsy. I would love to shake it off, but until I learn how to, I'll learn to live with it being a reality of mine and just try to manoeuvre my way through life in between naps.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fangirling M Nasir

One of the people I look up to the most in the local music scene is M. Nasir. Not too long ago, I bought a CD that compiled some of his greatest hits, from his Kembara days to his collaboration with Malique of Too Phat, and what I noticed from listening to all those songs was that his songs don't sound dumbed down at all, either musically or lyrically (although not all of his songs' lyrics were written by himself).

M. Nasir is one of the names that is highly regarded throughout the country and has achieved immense commercial success. What amazes me is that even though he enjoys huge commercial success, he doesn't take the music he produces for granted, ever since he came on to the scene in the 80s and keeps finding new ways to express himself artistically even to this day.

What one would notice upon hearing the songs in that album that I have is the range of styles of the musical endeavours he chooses to undertake, from 80s rock in the song Hati Emas, to really experimental stuff in the song Di Balik Cermin Mimpi. He keeps it fresh and interesting, to the joy of the listeners, and I feel, to his own joy as well.

As a person who produces art, one has to be constantly interested in what one is doing in order for the people listening/watching have a strong reason to be interested as well. One does not keep being interested in doing the same thing over and over again, but that seems to be the route of many an artist in this day and age. The main reason being, in my unsupported-by-evidence opinion, because they are afraid that if they change it up, people will stop listening to their stuff, and stop supporting their artistic undertakings since people in general hold an inherent dislike of the unfamiliar.

I personally hold a high regard towards M. Nasir because he doesn't do that. He doesn't try to keep doing the same things. He always tries to keep it different, keep it fresh. And even when he does that, he continues to become commercially successful. People don't really seem to care that Keroncong Untuk Ana and Lagu Jiwa Lagu Cinta sound so different. They enjoy them both just the same, albeit for different reasons. And M. Nasir continues to experiment with the projects he wishes to undertake. Who would have thought that he'd collaborate with a rap artist to come up with such an epic song as Mantera Beradu? That song came from so far left field, it hit us like a truck. I still can't get over how amazing that song is.

I hope to have the courage to be as interesting and diverse in my artistic undertakings, whether they be musical or literary. For that to happen, I need a wide range to draw from, so I need to study up a lot on a lot of things. Let's hope I get to go somewhere with these dreams of mine.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

One Hundred And Twenty One Words

Firdaus felt like flipping his laptop over. The only thing stopping him was the lack of cash in both his wallet and his bank account (he only had one) to cover the cost of repairing the self-inflicted damage. He had been staring at his laptop for a good fifteen minutes now, three times longer than it usually took for him to type the first few sentences of his daily piece. He needed something to draw on, but nothing came to mind. He shut his laptop and stared blankly at the bouquet of flowers sitting in front of him, and read again the card that came with it that read “I’m sorry for your loss. Your mother will be sorely missed.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How Do I Know If I'm Doing The Right Thing For Me?

A question that I got a couple days back during the forum I went to recently was "I don't know what my passion is. Whenever I'm doing something, I always wonder if it's truly my passion or not. How do I know if what I'm doing is the right thing for me?" and I liked that question, because I am currently going through that phase, that "searching-for-your-identity" phase. My answer to that person's question went a little something like:

Firstly, you don't need to limit yourself to just one or two things. If you find that you enjoy or like doing several things, do all of them as much as you can with the amount of time that you have. For instance, I've found that I like to do quite a few things, and I try to do them whenever I feel like doing them. I've made videos, written on my blog, compiled my writings to form a book, made music, rapped, danced, edited and published a zine, taught, volunteered, became a social media consultant, acted both on stage and on camera, skateboarded, organized events, and a whole buncha other stuff that I can't recall at this moment in time.

Does doing all this mean I'm not focussed? Probably. But I'm fine with that. If you watched this Steve Jobs' speech (click here to open it in a new tab), then you should have gained an insight into why allowing various dots to exist in your life matters. We need to trust that at the end of our lives, if we're fortunate enough to have lived a several more decades, we'd come to see that all those dots connect in ways we would have never imagined. At least that's what I try to keep holding on to. I've even written a reflection on the speech on the blog a couple of years ago: click here to open that reflection in a new tab.

So in conclusion, try not to limit yourself to doing only one or two things. Do what your heart desires, and as long as it brings no harm to anyone around you, it should be alright.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Realising That I Can't Speak

So a question I get sometimes is "how do you build up confidence in speaking English?" I usually have a go to answer for that, and I'm actually surprised I haven't written it down here yet, so here I shall share that answer.

Back in school, I was never much of a speaker, especially during classes. I could somewhat talk to a certain degree when I was with friends, but I virtually clammed up whenever a teacher was present in class. A former teacher once commented to my father that "Anwar speaks more in just one video than he did throughout his school days." That should give you an idea of what kind of a student I was.

I always knew that I had some degree of proficiency in English (reflected in the exam scores I get), but I was seldom in a position to speak the language other than talking to some of my English-speaking friends (there weren't very much of them) every once and again, as well as when I was singing-along to English songs. So I ended up getting very little practice in speaking in English.

I wasn't too concerned with this reality after SPM, or even after my year-and-a-half teacher-training foundation. I was forced to have a think about it during my first year of degree studies back in the teacher training institute.

It was during a tutorial session for the subject "Philosophy of Education". The lecturer split us up into groups, and naturally I went into the group with the rest of the guys (there were only four males in the class). We started talking about irrelevant stuff in Malay (as per customary in group discussions). It was all going along just like any other tutorial session we had, until the lecturer came up to me and asked me about what my thoughts were on the topic at hand.

You see, I had formulated an answer in my head already. The ideas were all there. But nothing came out of my mouth. I just sat there staring blankly with an open mouth. Things got so awkward that the lecturer walked away from me. It was so embarrassing for me that I was forced to have a think about what happened. I was going to be an English teacher, but I couldn't even speak two words to a lecturer? I immediately felt bad for all of my future students who had to have such an incompetent teacher such as I.

After class, I went back to my room and had a think about what I needed to do. I knew the only way for me to improve my speaking ability was to practice speaking, but how was I going to do that? I spoke almost entirely in Malay with my classmates, and suddenly speaking English with them was out of the question because it would have been so weird and awkward. 

I looked around my room and my eyes landed on my laptop. I opened up the laptop and thought to myself "I can talk to the webcam! Record myself speaking and listen back to it and criticise myself. That's practice!"

So I did that. I talked to myself through the laptop for five minutes at least, everyday for three months straight. I could feel myself improving after about a month, and it turned out to be one of the most beneficial things that I have ever done for myself.

I'm glad that I didn't make excuses for myself. I could have easily said to myself "Ugh, this is hard. I don't want to do it!" or "Everyone's going to laugh at me! The embarrassment!" or "Nanti orang kata aku lupa diri, dah takmaw mengaku Melayu!" or "Macam mana kalau orang kata 'hak elah, eksyen ja Anwat tu dok cuba nak speaking plak!' nanti aku dah takdak kawan!"

Giving in to all those excuses would have dragged me down and kept me from making myself better. I wanted to be the best for my future students, thus I took steps that were manageable for me in order to reach that goal.

Plus, come to think of it, if I had such negative people as my friends at the time, I would wonder what I was doing with such company in the first place. I would want to be a supportive friend, a positive friend, a friend who helps his friends achieve their goals, ambitions and dreams. Why was I hanging out with people who were doing the exact opposite? Was having negative, unsupportive and hateful friends better than not having friends at all?

Fortunately for myself, I found a way to bypass all that. I didn't bother anyone with my daily banter in front of the laptop (except probably my roommate, sometimes), so that was good. I also found that once I took active steps towards wanting to speak in English more, more opportunities to do just that presented themselves for me. I found that my friends were actually supportive and were able to understand what I was trying to do. I found that interactions with lecturers became easier (though not entirely fluent, I was  definitely improving). I found that once I started looking for those opportunities, they presented themselves to me rather smoothly.

And today I am a full-time teacher who is trying his best to teach year 3 students on a daily basis. I am capable of carrying a conversation in English okay-ly, alhamdulillah. I do still have a lot more improving to do though, so I'll continue working on myself to become better.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Al Jazeera Exposé

I've just finished watching a video by Al Jazeera English. An exposé of the Sedition Act 1948 and how it's being used by the Government to silence those who have the gall to criticise it and its decisions in public. It's an interesting watch, so if you have 29 minutes and would like to have a look, click here to open the Youtube video in a new tab. What I'll be discussing in this post pertains to the video, so it'll make so much more sense if you've watched the video.

While watching the video, I couldn't help but notice how they portrayed Malaysia as a place where everyone in the rakyat were shown to be people who supported the opposition, and that the biggest issue everyone has in their lives is the Sedition Act. Nowhere is it said that, of course, but that's the general feel of it. It was as if Malaysians from Kedah to Johor until Sabah were taking to the streets in protest, and people left right and center were being put in jail for doing just that. When in reality, I'm just chillin' here in my room thinking about what to write on my blog (and sedition laws were certainly not anywhere near the top of my list). You're just there chillin' having a read on your screen. A lot of people in the kampung are just chillin' with their families or friends or whatever, watching Maharaja Lawak or something. A lot of people in the cities are just chillin' blowing shisha smoke while talking about Steven Gerrard (finally) leaving Liverpool. 

Pokoknya, the way they portray reality doesn't necessarily represent reality. One has to understand that the video-maker has a set amount of time to insert as much information as they need to, and to make it as interesting as possible so that people would watch it. Would a half-hour about how 27 million Malaysians are coexisting, and a small percentage of that is taking to the streets for half-a-day make interesting watching? Probably. But it's not as compelling and dramatic as portraying thousands and thousands of people being unhappy and fighting for their basic human rights of speech and expression against a corrupt and nefarious regime.

So when consuming a piece of information, we need to keep in mind that the makers of the thing make decisions as to what to include and what not to include in the piece because of the limitations of the medium they are using, as well as because they have a specific agenda or message to put across and are trying their best to convey it to us, the consumers, and by doing so, have to neglect some pieces of information that will jeopardise their agenda. Whether it's right or wrong for them to do that is a different question entirely. What we need to focus on is understanding that things are put in a certain way for a reason. We have a responsibility to ourselves to ask "why" in our heads, and come up with reasonable answers so that we're not susceptible to being easily manipulated by the content creator.

I am a content creator myself, so please be critical of my writings, videos and songs as well. I welcome it. 

Impian Ferrari, Usaha Kancil notes

So I just got back from talking to a whole bunch of university students with Aiman Azlan and Azhar (a senior from my alma mater) about the topic "Dilema Gen-Y: Impian Ferrari, Usaha Kancil", and I'm super sleepy, so I'll share with you guys the question-sheet we got before the forum and the notes I scribbled down cincai-ly in preparation for the forum.

1. Bagaimanakah kaedah yang diambil oleh ahli panel ketika bergelar mahasiswa untuk berjaya dari segi persatuan dan juga akademik dan bagaimana usaha yang diambil itu dapat membuahkan hasil yang hebat seperti “Ferrari” dan adakah usaha ahli panel seperti kancil tetapi hasil nya sehebat Ferrari atau sebaliknya?

Saya rasa rezeki itu di tangan Allah. Dia bagi apa Dia nak kepada siapa Dia nak. Key here is "expectation management". The root of all disappointment is expectations. Kita jangan take the attitude of "aku usaha banyak NI, awat hasil aku banyak ni ja?" Kita akan ada kecenderungan untuk lihat Allah sebagai tak adil. Dak, focus on our performance. That's what really matters. Results are out of your hands. Apa aku buat dulu?
- volunteered for a lot of stuff (charity stuff, dance, leadership positions - because nobody wanted it)
- concentrated on what I liked doing or what I wanted to learn :- arts, theatre, book club, zine-making, etc.

2. Generasi Y kini boleh dikatakan majoriti membesar dengan gajet, jadi ini memberikan factor negative dan juga factor positive kepada gen-y tetapi adakah gajet ini boleh menjadi pemangkin kejayaan kepada gen-y pada masa kini?

Depends on how you use your gadgets, really. Set goals, then think about how you're going to achieve those goals. Gadgets can be a tremendous help in achieving those goals. Manage it well and it becomes a friend, but manage it teribly (like me) and it becomes a hindrance to productivity.

3. Masalah yang paling besar dihadapi oleh gen-y ialah impian nya besar mengalahkan gajah tetapi usaha nya pula sangat kecil mengalahkan semut dari segi akademik dan juga gen-y kini masih ramai yang tidak cakna dengan isu semasa walhal gen-y inilah yang akan menentukan kejayaan Negara masa hadapan.

Read. Love knowledge. Light that fire first! Then the willingness to care about whatever's going on right now akan timbul. Why? Awat nak taw pasai perkembangan semasa? How is it relevant to them? If it's not, then takdak sapa pun akan kisah. Pasaipa nak amek kisah? Lain orang amek kisah pasai benda lain sebab: blogging, tweet, bleh sembang pandai, cari income, want to make the world a better place. Have a why and minat/action tu akan datang. Plug: .

4. DUIT, DUIT dan DUIT ini merupakan benda yang penting kerana pada zaman ini semua nya memerlukan duit, jadi bagaimana ahli panel mengunakan duit yang ada untuk memulakan kerjaya masing2. Soalan ini juga dituju kepada moderator yang mempunyai sebuah syarikat. Adakah duit ni memberi kesan kepada impian setiap gen-y yang besar seperti “Ferrari” ini. Jika ianya memberi kesan apakah langkah yang ahli panel rasakan dapat membantu?

Rasa kita kena ada kebolehan untuk guna apa yang kita ada. Great to be resourceful, but maximising the resources that you do have is of utmost importance as well. Kalau ada duit banyak tu, draw a plan yang sesuai untuk modal yang kamu ada, and commit to it. Jangan half-hearted punya effort ja. Give it your all, and make it sustainable.


Of course, the actual forum went very differently from what I had written down, and I ended up on referring to the notes a couple of times during the two hour session. Nonetheless, I hope you benefited from reading my scattered thoughts put down in writing.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Disliking Your Job

If more often than not, you wake up in the morning loathing what you have to do that day, you should probably start looking for other things to do. What I'm implying here is that if you find out that you dislike or even hate your job, you should probably start looking for other ways to contribute to society.

How do you know that you dislike or even hate your job? If in 4 days out of the 5 day work week, you would rather not go to work, you dislike your job. That single day you like pun because it's a Friday, and you already have the weekend in mind, so it doesn't really count.

I've been fortunate enough to know what it feels like to wake up in the morning and fully look forward to what I had to do that day, and those were the days of me working as a social media manager for a think tank organisation. I hope to recapture that feeling again one day.

Not to say that I don't like teaching. I love doing it. It's just everything else that doesn't involve teaching that sometimes leads to me wanting to stay in bed rather than face the work day ahead. But it doesn't happen everyday. Once a week, probably, paling kerap pun. But of course, once I enter a class and get to teaching and hanging out with friends at school, I'm good with the world.

This post wasn't supposed to be about me. Let's get back on track.

So you've got a full-time job, but you don't enjoy it, not one bit, right? What do you do?

Well, firstly, I'd advise you to find out what you do like doing. Note here that it needs to be "what you enjoy doing", not "what you want to be". Because you don't just want to change your job name. You want to do different things in your life, more enjoyable and/or fulfilling things. So figure that out first. Do you want to write? Or talk all day? Or travel? Or make websites? Or bake cakes?

So now you've figured out what you want to do. Then what? You figure out how much you need to keep yourself out of the red for the amount of time you need to get yourself started. Let's say you decide that you want to bake cupcakes. So you need time to come up with a range of products, a way to sell and market your cupcakes (instashops are a popular way to get your products out there at a minimal cost) and time for your business to grow until it becomes self-sustaining. All that time spent being alive will cost you money, not to mention the money you need to bake your cupcakes. If you have a family to support, you need to factor that into your tally as well. Estimate how much money you need to keep being a functional human being for that amount of time, and then add five thousand bucks more into that total, just in case. You now have a target amount. (Note that not everyone wants to bake cupcakes, so depending on what you want to do, the target amount shall vary significantly. If you decide to take up another job that guarantees a consistent paycheque, then you wouldn't need this capital.)

Work at your old job and save up until you have that target amount. Once you have collected that much, then only should you resign from your old job. This is to ensure that you will still be able to survive after resigning from a job you've depended on for so long.

But first thing's first, of course. Find out what you want to do, and pursue it. Put safety nets around you if you need them, and jump. If it's what your heart desires, than go for it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Anwar Tak Suka Budak-Budak

I have a few memories from Sydney that have stuck with me throughout the couple of years I've come back to Malaysia. One of them is as follows:

So in Sydney (more specifically, Marsfield and the surrounding areas), as in any other townships that have Malaysian university students there I imagine, there was a Malaysian community consisting of the TESOL undergraduates (that was us), MARA and JPA undergraduates (they usually were doing a degree that had something to do with math. Lots and lots of math), self-funded students, postgrad students as well as the Malaysians that have gone over there to work and build a family.

Every now and again the Malaysian community there would have little get-togethers to celebrate birthdays, or Rayas or Merdekas and things like that. Some of these Malaysians have children, and they usually come along to our small kenduris too, to the delight of most of us single folk. Tambahan pula, the majority of us were teacher trainees, so it was only natural to think that we had an affinity towards children. At least I did (and still do).

So there was this one time in one of those get-togethers, a Kak Filza (not her real name) commented on me after discovering that I was a teacher trainer, something along the lines of "oh, tapi Anwar tak suka sangat dengan budak-budak kan?"

I could almost hear my heart shattering when she said that, because I had always thought that it was pretty obvious to anyone who saw me around kids that I LOVED being around kids. Even over there I would play and kacau the Malaysian kids whenever there was a gathering or whenever I went over to a family's house. I've even carried around Kak Filza's baby daughter, Luna (not her real name).

So when she said that she thought I didn't like kids, I was really taken aback. I tried to play it cool and answered, "eh, saya okay ja ngan budak," but so many questions ran through my head, the main ones being "what did I do that made her think that I didn't like children?" and "Was I actually treat children badly?" 

Ever since that question was asked to me, I have always taken it upon myself to be extra good with kids and always try to show to the kids especially that I enjoy their company. Of course I don't overstep any boundaries, but I do make funny faces to them, fistbump them, ask them about stuff, wave to them whenever saying goodbye, y'know, basic things like that.

Since Kak Filza asked me that question, I've been self-conscious about how I am around kids. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I think it's just my way of proving to her that I AM good with kids, even though she can't really see me at all. It also makes me uncomfortable because at the back of my mind I can't shake the feeling that I'm only being extra cool with kids because I'm doing this to prove somebody else wrong, instead of a more ikhlas reason to be cool with kids. 

Having said that, I have no doubt that I enjoy the company of children, sometimes more than the company of some adults, and I want all the children that I have taught, am teaching and will teach to succeed in whatever they choose to do.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Not Wanting To Be Bloggy

While I was mulling over what to write for tonight's post, I thought about sharing what I've been listening to lately (one of KRU's Best Of records) or share some song lyrics from some songs that have been stuck in my head as of late (untukmu kasih / gembira bersedih / selagi ku bernyawa / untukmu kasih / ku korban apa saja) and be done with it.

But then I thought "hey, that's very bloggy of you to do that," and what I meant by that was the way a lot of blogs that I've noticed circling around the net function: to share other people's content, and that's basically it. Just a link to something, a picture of something, and that's that. Not that it's a bad thing, but it's not something that I personally want to pursue.

I would probably do that from time to time (and I definitely have, in the past), but I would be much more comfortable with myself and the stuff I write here if each piece was thought out before being typed onto the page, meaning that in each of the posts that get on here, I contribute a piece of my mind and my self in the words and sentences and bare it to whoever would be so kind as to read it.

I intend to be a writer who writes on a blog, not a blogger who writes, if that makes any sense. My deepest gratitude to all those who keep reading these words. You know me (or at least you know what goes on in my head) a lot more than most people do, even those that I have known since I was a kid. May peace and blessings be upon all of you.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

What Will You Be Doing When The Lights Go Out?

I came across a good reminder earlier today, while having a conversation with a friend. He asked me about whether or not I knew about the Nepal earthquakes, and I said I did. He asked if I knew about the Malaysian who got caught in that earthquake and passed away, and I said I didn't. He said that he knew the individual who passed away, personally. They weren't very close, but the deceased was the first person who my friend made a song for, so he was of some significance to that friend of mine.

My friend was also friends with the deceased on Facebook, so he received sporadic updates about that person. He knew that he was taking time for himself to get away from the stresses of everyday life and to travel the world, and had gone to India and other such places before going to Nepal. And my friend said "Good for him. He could have gone much worse. He could have died in front of a desk at work doing something that he hated. At least he was doing something that was making him happy."

And that's a very good point, I think. We never know when we're going to move on from this world. We can't choose when we will die. But we can most definitely choose what we'll be doing when death comes knocking at our door. Or at least I'd like to think so.

When the death angel comes to take away our soul from our body, what will be our main pursuit? Will it be to get through yet another day doing something that we hate for people we hate to get a means of sustenance to continue doing what we hate for the people we hate? Or will we be working hard to achieving our dreams? Will we be on the path of hatred, falsehood and negativity? Or will we be right in the middle of doing good things, spreading truth and positivity to the world? 

Believe it or not, a lot of our lives is about making choices, death being one of those rare exceptions. What shall you choose?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Remember What It's Like To Be A Kid

We can be hard on kids sometimes (to some, a lot of times). We expect certain things from them, and those things are usually just simple things such as sit still for five minutes or to remember something we said just thirty seconds ago, and when we don't get those things from them, we get frustrated. Different people deal with that frustration differently, but I've noticed from observations of the people around me and also of myself (a lot of myself, actually) that we tend to take that frustration out on the kids. We raise our voices to them, we make noises or faces, or maybe even worse.

I had this particular experience where I was teaching a dance move to this 9 year-old and the kid didn't do it how I wanted him to, even after four times of explaining and showing how it was to be done. Then I got frustrated and sort of displayed that frustration by mengeluh (I don't have a proper English word with me at the moment for that). The kid obviously wanted to do it the way that I wanted it to be, but the kid just couldn't remember to raise their arms at that particular moment in the song.

Then I caught myself having this expectation of the kid that was similar to my expectations of adults. I realised that I was treating this kid like they were an adult. I didn't empathize with the kid because I myself had forgotten what it was like to be in the kid's shoes. I had forgotten in that moment what it was to be a kid, thus I subjected him to my grown-up expectations.

By doing this, I was not helping the kid perform at all. They felt pressured and tense and couldn't really get it right because they weren't enjoying it at all. I was the cause of that, and I feel terrible now for making them feel that way. I am sorry for my behaviour and my lapse in reasonability. 

I think that if teachers were to keep in touch with their inner-child, and keep in touch with it often, then less stress would be induced to both the teachers and the kids. We have to remember what it felt like to be their age and do what they do at that age, and in turn treat them in a way we would have liked to be treated as such an age. Not to say that it would all be fun and games when it comes to kids, no. But we need to understand why students do what they do, or at least try to. And if we could understand it just a little bit better, then maybe we could adjust our behaviour to get the best out of our students and realise their potential a little bit better.

I'm not saying that there isn't room for strictness when dealing with children. I'm just saying that maybe there should be more room for empathy, kindness and understanding when it comes to communicating with our students. Maybe then we'd be able to move more towards being a more empathic, kind and understanding people. Just maybe.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Menyuarakan Pedapat

Dalam harini punya suasana di media sosial, saya rasa macam issues have been popping up macam cendawan tumbuh lepaih tabur spora kat ataih tanah subur. Ada saja benda untuk sembang kat internet, sama ada di fesbuk atau twisder, wasep dan sebagainya. Banyak sangat dan kerap sangat muncul sampai lani saya rasa macam dah tak menang tangan dah nak keep up. Last sekali geleng pala, makan pisang, tidoq petang.

Tapi tu saya ajalah. Saya ni dah jadi macam malaih nak bukak mulut tentang benda yang saya tak berapa nak arif, especially bila takdak sapa tanya pun pasai benda tu kat saya. Tiba-tiba nak bagi pendapat kat apa-apa isu tu mungkin cara beberapa orang, tapi bukanlah stail yang saya senangi.

Saya lagi prefer kalau lepak chill relax dulu, try baca dulu apa yang boleh, kumpoi fakta tentang perkara tersebut kalau rajin (saya letakkan penekanan kat "kalau rajin" ni, pasai selalunya saya tak rajin), and kalau ada orang tanya, baru habaq.

Yang terjadi mutakhir ini ialah dengan akses kepada media sosial, kita cukup senang nak suarakan pendapat kita yang sepanjang 140 aksara tu kat dunia. Terlalu senang sampai ada yang rasa macam "ish, benda ni semua orang dok sembang! Aku kena sembang gak! Mana buleh orang taktaw pendapat aku tentang hal X, Y dan Z!"

Saya kurang senangi approach ni pasai saya rasa macam perasan la pulak bila dok bagi pendapat bila takdak sapa tanya kita pun. Macam pi kedai makan paihtu habaq kat waiter tu kita punya pendapat tentang sistem pendidikan negara secara tiba-tiba dan tak kena, padahai dia cuma nak taw hang nak order apa ja.

Tapi pada masa yang sama, apa yang saya dok buat kat blog ni pun benda sama lah kot. Dok habaq pendapat saya pasai benda yang takdak sapa tanya pun. Gelak sikit diatas hipokrasi diri sendiri.

Tapi the thing is, memang saya tuleh ataih blog ni pasai nak syok sendiri pun. Ni ialah tempat saya tuleh supaya dapat jadi penuleh yang lebih baik kelak. You could never tell from this particular piece of writing lah, that's for sure. But here, I do write for me. I write to improve myself, to make my thoughts clearer to myself.

Dan mungkin itu jugak sebab orang tuleh pendapat depa so freely on the social media platforms. Kalau tu sebab dia, then more power to you. Dia akan jadi sedih kalau kita just tuleh pasai kita rasa macam tu apa yang orang keliling hang nak, pasai semua orang keliling hang dok buat benda tu jugak, dan bukan apa yang hang nak pun sebenaqnya. Kita kena clear about kita punya intentions of producing any piece of work. Pasaipa aku buat benda ni? Why am I bringing this into the world? Dan bila kita dapat jawapan tu, then kita lagi selesa dengan diri kita sendiri, saya rasa.

Saya rasa ajalah. Taktaw for sure.

No Single Piece Defines A Whole Person

I did it again, didn't I? Right after I post about wanting, needing to write everyday and specifying that I didn't even need to write a whole lot in one go, what do I do immediately afterwards? I don't write anything for the whole day. Great, Anwar. Just. Great.

To my defence though (here we go), I did stay up quite significantly past my bedtime firstly hanging out with the youngest brother watching Age of Ultron (I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. Age of Ultron, not my brother. I like my brother too. Sometimes. JK. Most times.), and then having a lengthy and interesting discussion with the best friend about the latest issue of the day: pedophilia. There's no 'a' in that word, believe it or not.

And just prior to writing this entry, I read an internet article pertaining to pedophilia, courtesy of a person I follow on Twitter. The title of the article is "You're 16. You're A Pedophile. You Don't Want To Hurt Anyone. What Do You Do Now?" It's an amazing article, and I recommend anyone and everyone with an open mind and empathy in their souls to have a read. Click here to open the article in a new tab. 

What struck me while reading the article was how similar some of the things that were said in the article were with the points raised by the discussion I had with the best friend. 

I loved how the writer of the article chose to end the piece, by saying that people were puzzles made up of a lot of different pieces. No single piece defines the person. It's the combination of those pieces, good and bad, that make up a whole person. I think in our passion and emotional attachments to certain issues, we tend to forget that. But of course, I can only imagine the pain and agony a sick person has to go through their lives, and I hope the best for them in their struggle to not hurt anyone else, even at the cost of hurting themselves.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Even If It's 3 Sentences

Another piece of advice from one of the people that came to the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fest to get their book signed by yours truly: Continue writing, even if it is just three sentences a day. Just don't stop writing.

It was given to me by a younger-than-me-looking bro. I was all like, yo, this dude got some writer-wisdom in his marrows, dawg. But of course, that was what only went through my mind. What went through my mouth was, yeah, I should do that, shouldn't I? Thank you!

As I've said before, my leniency towards myself when it comes to writing is not helping me become a better writer, nor a better person for that matter. I appreciate that bro's piece of advice very much, because it also made me realise that lately, I've been putting pressure on myself to write more in each post, too. I went from putting a loose minimum word count of 300 words per entry, to 500, then 600, then 800 real quick.

Because I had that number in mind, I guess I deterred myself from writing because I was pushing myself to write a whole lot, even when I didn't have that much to say. So when I had too little to say (maybe just 200 words), then I'd put off doing it until I eventually just don't. It also affects me in terms of mental preparation for it too. Like, if I already set in my mind that I wanted to write 800 words, then I'd have to allocate enough time for that (usually anywhere between one to two hours). That's a lot of time, time that my lazy self would much prefer spend on watching Youtube videos pointlessly and eventually sleeping.

If I were to keep in mind that all I had to do was write, even if it were just a little bit, then I'd get a lot more done. So thanks again kind bro, for giving me that piece of advice. It takes an unnecessary load off my shoulders, and I'm very grateful to have it removed (even if for just a little while).

He was also kind enough to tell me that my writing has been improving as of late. For that too, I thank you very much. I surely hope so.

Monday, May 4, 2015


Earlier today I got interviewed by a mass-comm student regarding the topic of advocacy, and with the blog owner's permission, I'd like to share a snippet from that interview.

One of the questions went something along the lines of "Why is advocating so important in one's life?" and my answer went something like:

I don't think anyone can really run away from advocacy. Everyone is an advocate of something, whether they are aware of it or not. Their worldview, the way they act, what they choose to say and not say, how they choose to say or not say it, all those are acts of advocacy. You're portraying something to the world and the people around you, and whether they accept or reject whatever you have to say, they are affected by you in one way or another. I think the only way to not engage in advocacy is to not engage with people at all, be it online or in the real world. So the question doesn't become "why should one advocate?" It's more like "what do we choose to advocate?" and whether it's positive or negative depends on the individual advocate. (I realise now that I didn't actually answer the question. I hope the interviewer forgives me for that.)

But I guess to answer the question more directly, advocacy is so important in one's life because one cannot run away from it, unless, like I said earlier, they shun themselves from society altogether. So being aware of what we are advocates of becomes a pertinent discussion, if not within the public sphere, then at the very least, within oneself. What are we bringing into the world? What banners are we upholding/waving through our actions, speech and behaviour? How are we affecting the world by carrying those banners? Even not caring about all these things is an act of advocacy within itself, so it's worth having a serious think about, methinks.

A Bit Of Advice from KL International Book Fest

So for the past two days, I have been at the Kuala Lumpur International Book Festival, held at the Putra World Trade Center. It's my first time attending the book fest and it was huge. Like, super huge, with more than 2.5 million people attending. I was astounded by the magnitude of the number of people who would invest in books, and was somewhat comforted by it, too. There are still a healthy number of people who actively seek out the printed page, at least in the capital of the country, so that was encouraging.

I went there to scribble on the books of people who were kind enough to get my book at the festival. I got to meet them, talk to them, wish them well and conteng their books. I made it a point to always thank all of those who take out their hard earned cash to acquire my collected writings. I think I tend to forget to be grateful all the time, and thanking them is a way to not only show my appreciation towards them, but to also remind myself that I have so many things to be thankful for, and that I shouldn't be feeling down all the time because I have been blessed with a lot of things.

One of the most valuable feedback about the book that I got throughout the two days was given to me by a makcik that had never heard of me. She told me that I should have put a description about the book on the back page, because people who don't know who I am would wonder what the book is all about and would have no reason to buy it if they didn't know who I was. It hit hard, and made me realise that having two covers and no descriptions on both the covers was rather syok sendiri, like I assumed that people would know what the inside of the book would be because hey, it's Anwar Hadi. That was narcissistic of me, and it also closes the chance of people who have never heard of me from wanting to open the book, because it provides them absolutely no reason to do that. I am very grateful to that makcik for giving me that piece of advice.

Thank you to everyone who has been reading my writings, either through this blog or through the book (which is kinda sorta the same thing, really). Words cannot express how much I appreciate your readership. May peace and blessings be upon you.