I spent more hours sitting in the bus

Seriously, my trip to Chiang Mai really felt like a weekend trip on the bus. 

I left on Thursday with a choir made almost entirely of Indonesians.  There were, of course, the occasional "aliens" to the group such as I.  We were going to visit the International Children's Care orphanage as well as the Chiangmai Adventist Academy. 

We arrived early Friday morning and I headed straight to bed.  Woke up about an hour later and decided to go scout around the orphanage grounds.  Children's voices were ringing loudly, and in a distance I spotted two little figures hiding behind some shrubs.  I walked towards those figures and there were two little gangly girls, who, upon seeing up, giggled and made a dash back to the main building.  That pretty much sums up what I did with the kids the weekend.  They'd see me, giggle, and run.  They'd make a good audience in my class here in Muak Lek, Saraburi since nobody laughs when I open my mouth (to tell jokes).  I guess I'm physically funny?  I know, some of you may disagree. 

Observing these kids, I really must say, "SHAME ON ME."  These kids are up at 6 am, memorizing their memory verses to the deans, before having their meal.  Then for the next hour or so, you see them scouring around the orphanage compound tidying up the flower beds, sweeping away dead leaves...outdoorsy type jobs!! All of which I do not do, not that I can't do it, but I think of myself as more of a home boy.  And these kids are really really young, I don't think any of them are over ten years old!

My way back to Muak Lek was spent (partially) thinking about these kids.  I think of how much they're missing out, but in reality, they're not!  In education, we often feel that we need to offer them certain courses to meet the demands of many stakeholders.  We often do this because of an oversight - which is the failure to see whether what we offer to them is really what they need.  These kids I was with don't need the gadgets Bangkok kids are using because the context they are in does not require it.  Are they missing out?  I don't think so!  I'd say we're the bigger loser.  These kids are in a sense 'closer' to earth.  They find joy in nature and their surroundings, and the people around them....

Umlaut

Umlaut is a linguistic phenomenon that affects the vowel quality of a syllable, think of diphthongs.  It is also used to refer to a group of Old English nouns.  Which group?  It's the group which changes the vowel when pluralized. 

I find this fascinating.  You may think otherwise.  But Honey Badger don't care.

I have always wondered how it is like to teach a student-centered classroom.  I think the most student-centered situation I've allowed myself to be in is during class discussion, or when students talk about their research topics.  Other than that, it's pretty much me navigating the classroom.  Little did I know that I actually have student-centered classes.  Not in my day job.  But in my night job - when I moonlight as a piano teacher!

It's strange that it took me so long to realize this.

I spent about 15 years of my life learning the piano.  Through the process, I've had five piano teachers.  I spent about ten years with the first two piano teachers.  These teachers made me go through a 'syllabus,' which at that time was pretty much normal because everyone else was going through the same thing.  Little did I know that I am missing out on so many other beautiful music.  Why?  Because I was stuck to John Thompson.  Not to say that John Thompson didn't have nice music.  It did.  It tried to be diverse, but failed miserably.  I don't remember anything from those books because I was not involved in choosing the songs.  I could skip a song only if it's too hard for me to play. Otherwise, it was pretty predictable.  I finish a song and move to the next one.  I don't take time in reading about the composer, trying to understand the music.  All I was focusing on was to finish the syllabus so I can move on to the next one. 

I promised myself that I will teach piano differently from then on.  I want my students to think of who they would like to study, what type of music they would like to learn.  So far, so good.  I must say.  It's a totally different approach, if compared to my first two teachers and my Korean neighbor whose house rings with Hanon or Czerny or the Entertainer.  I want my piano lessons to be student-centered.  I want my piano students to be brave enough to explore the whole realm of music!

Where Have You Been?

After a chat with a dear friend about blogging, I was reminded that I have and own a blog.  It's sad that I haven't written much at all this year. 

I'm sure all you teachers out there have your teaching woes.  Today's classes, unfortunately, turned me into a honey badger.  If you don't know what "honey badger" refers to in pop culture, please by all means youtube it. 

I had only one class today, a two-hour class, which was ENGL4434 History of the English Language.  There are 37 Thai + 1 Lao in this class, and none of them is interested in this course.  At the beginning of the semester, I've thought of practical ways to make this class seem appealing to them.  Instead of just talking about complicated aspects of Old and Middle English, as well as tantalizing dramas, e.g. King Ethelred who left England for Normandy, and leaving his wife Emma behind; King John who fell violently in love with another man's wife-to-be, I decided to incorporate essential skills which they will need after graduation.  Skills which I have incorporated so far are critical/analytical thinking, and summarizing/paraphrasing. 

Now, the teaching woe I have is not the issue of making the class practical, instead, it is my management of the classroom.  I have taught Thai kids for a number of years now and they don't seem to have a lengthy attention span.  I always find myself being completely ignored, or drowned by the chatter of Thai.  This morning, I found myself in this situation.  It had only been ten minutes since I entered the classroom and the students were already rowdy.  I told them to keep quiet, then to listen to me, then to stop talking, then to SHUTTUP!  At this point, I told them that if anyone talked again I will kick them out of the class.  They kept quiet.  The shouting definitely got their attention. 

Now that it was so eerily quiet, realization dawned and remorse sank in.  I felt bad, stupid, and apologetic.  I lost my temper.  I can justify my actions by saying that in the end, I'm only human.  But, it's a little ironic that I have so much problem managing this class yet I am teaching, in another class, how to become (English) teachers.  


Blame it on the middle class?

There are about 6 more weeks before the end of the semester at AIU.  I'm teaching two history classes this semester.  One class with the word 'history' in it, while the other has an indirect historical reference in the course title.  Nevertheless, two history classes.  Fun much?  You tell me. 

My class just finished talking about the Renaissance.  Really, we have the Renaissance because of the rise of the middle class.  The bubonic plague literally wiped out all the laborers, and those who survived ascended the social ladder.  Yay?  Then, we have the explosion of knowledge, thanks to Caxton who introduced the printing press.  Before long, everyone had a copy of something.  Everyone was translating something into English.  Everyone then realized that everyone was borrowing words from everywhere else.  Everyone, and I mean the English people, began to complain.  "Why do we have to borrow from Latin/French? Ain't our English good enough."  Apparently not.  I mean come on, how can we ever thank these lexical borrowers.  Because of them we have so many synonyms to choose from! Yay?  Well, everyone complaining about borrowing words is a little far-fetched, these people were just out-of-job lazy purists who couldn't find a niche to fit their nose.  The desire to maintain the preexisting pool of words faded away and everyone embraced new words with open arms and open mouths.  A century later, the English were writing prolifically in the Sciences.  Then LIGHTBULB! They realized something.  They've been so anal in the past about borrowing words, and they completely forgot about syntax! Perhaps one reason for this forgetfulness was that English was a synthetic language-high inflectional, with the spotlight on what fixes a morpheme gets.  Then all of a sudden these words a bare-naked, literally! These linguist kids have a game to play!  Let's play arrange the words to form a 'correct' sentence.  Whose definition of 'correct' should we use?  Who knows? Who cares! The linguist kids (p.s. the Royal Society) claim that they never imposed their desire for scientists to write in an dispassionate manner and for language to lack emotive qualities since good science REALLY calls for objectivity (total nonsense).  Some people picked their vibe like Swift, who was like totally against hipster's use of language like shortening words, e.g. totally = totes, or even getting rid of the 'e' in wick'd.  :P  I think English seemed to go downhill after this, or is it just exhaustion affecting my sanity?

Regardless, with the establishment of the middle class, more people could afford what was once exclusive only to the rich-school became 'normalized' during this period.  Further, since this was the age of 'reason,' people saw it necessary that the language they spoke reflect the almost perfect lives they live.  Now now girls, make sure your pinky does not stick out while you sip your herbal tea from your English China. Ha!

AWWWWWW!!!!!!!!


The Problem is

As I approached Muak Lek, the van driver turned back and asked to confirm with us two passengers that we REALLY are going to AIU.  I said yes, but the other passenger whose name or gender or nationality I will not reveal said, "No."  The driver then said, "But you said at Victory Monument that you were going to Mi-Chan (Thai pronunciation of Mission).  The passenger clearly did not understand Thai because the driver's statement was followed by silence.  I translated for the driver and the passenger said, "Yes, I told them Mi-Chan but I need to get off at Australia Village."  I told the driver, who had driven past the entrance to the residential area.  He said that the passenger had to pay an extra 20 baht to drive into Australia Village.  The passenger said, "asshole" very quietly, but loud enough that my ears perked up and the driver turning to us wondering what was said.  The problem is, curses are gradually losing its 'umph' because it's communicated so frequently (I'm using communicated here in the Old English sense - being made common).

Then the next problem is... the string of burglaries on campus.  A lost laptop, a lost purse and a lost iPad.  So much for having guards, so much for having street lights, so much for being a Christian school?  Maybe we're getting to comfortable.


Saturday with Kids and a Hike

Spent the afternoon donkeying around with my neighbor's kids.  Truly a bundle of joy.  The highlight of the day:

Caleb (in the toilet): Excuse me, I have to poop.
[Silence]
Caleb (still in the toilet): I counted two!

We went on a hike, I told them stories about Fred and Frank the frogs, they told me stories about poop and underwear.  They bit my hands and arms, and crawled all over my thighs/legs without the remotest knowledge that that is inflicting pain on a fully grown man. 

Honey I lost the kids!
We don't need so much space.
Caleb :)





music students ain't like what they used to be

A music history book I read two years ago talked about how simplified music composition has become.  Trust me, it only sounds complex because of the myriad of instruments thrown in together.

Don't talk to me after teaching piano because I am still burning with annoyance.

I have two more piano students left, whom I meet once a week.  They just did their first piano exam from an external examination school based in London.  They did fairly well.

But I'm starting to think that what I am teaching, and what they are assessed on does not quite fit in with today's music scene.  Yes, this external music examination school which I have faithfully kept up with has tried to incorporate more contemporary music by revamping the third section of the performance pieces to reflect more modern composition, but that substitution alone, I think, is not sufficient.

The piano student who came for lesson today LOVES One Direction.  A Boy Band.  They must look like Justin Bieber.  I remember a month ago, after this piano student had her piano exam, we went off to Siam Paragon.  I brought her and her dad to Kinokuniya.  The first thing she wanted was to look at all the magazines which had One Direction as its center fold.  Bleh.  How do you teach a kid to appreciate the ol' classics if what she wants is One Direction.

It's pathetic, week in and week out, to listen to students royally mess up timeless classics.  Maybe I'm just an anal-retentive music purist.



Me and my 2007 summer hit: Chopin's Op 10 No. 4

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Please do not let the title mislead you.  My level of shopping is not that extravagant.  I go loco at the malls only on special occasions, like Christmas and the sorts.  However, the costly damages compels my mother to label me as one.  This, and a Starbucks addict.  But I only have a cup every fortnight!

Regardless, some of you may know how "unfriendly" I can be with other people.  Some of you have called me a __________ - which I have no objection to.  Having been in Bangkok for a number o years, I have had many encounters with Chinese tourists.  Two of which I distinctly remember are:

1.  I was getting out the Sky Train at National Stadium and walked past a Chinese couple.  The lady was wearing skinny jeans and her fly was wide open. 

2.  I was sitting at McDonald's in Paragon and a group of Chinese were trying to order in CHINESE.  I felt sorry for the Chinese tourists, and for that McDonald's employee. 

Today was different though.  I was at McDonald's again.  Eww to fast food but what can I do if I only have 30 minutes to eat before catching the van?  After placing my order, I waited as the staff put my burger together, and up came some Taiwanese ladies who ordered Number 4, which was a McChicken burger.  The Taiwanese lady should've just stopped speaking after saying Number 4, but she continued to say McChicken, which the staff did not understand.  This fun banter went on for a while, and I decided enough was enough and butt in in Thai, "Luk ka sang McChickennnnnn burger na krub."  The staff understood, punched a few numbers like Bon Qui Qui and then threw the receipt on the tray. 

Before McDonald's I was at Samsung on the third floor.  There was a Middle Eastern couple who was looking for iPhone (in a Samsung store?) and a museum.  This was an obvious example of ESP at work.  I don't think the Samsung staff were taught the word "museum."  I then again butt in (I really like butting in) and asked them which museum they were looking for.  The lady said Discovery.  I said, oh Madame Tussauds! She said, No! Museum.  I said yes that's it! Get out of Paragon, walk through the court yard and Siam Center, then you'll be at Discovery! Go to the top floor!  The lady said, Museum.  Then I said yes!  Then she left.

So You Can Think You Can Retract Your Article

I think this incident should be a good launch pad for a reality show.  I'm pretty sure the global community in the now is aware of how the NST portrayed an Australian Senator as an "anti-Islam"-ist.  The innocent ombudsman who was in KL to observe the Bersih 3.0 demonstration found himself instead in the midst of Malaysia's all-too-common sting of malpractices. 

I wonder what was going on in the mind of the reporter/editor of that particular article.  I'm not a news pundit but I know that misquoting someone is a no-no in both research and teaching, and I'm pretty sure in the news.  What do you get for doing this, ask NST, they will soon be expecting some lawsuits to fight against, and probably draining of some cash.   

Seriously, I'd like to invite this writer to give a motivational speech on "the importance of ethical writing."


Holiday Blues

The first week of the holidays is always fun.  People are excited to see you, you have a million things you want to do, food you want to taste.  The second week, everything starts going downhill.  I'm not sure what the third holds for me.

My holiday was basically over once I left Singapore.  Bangkok and Phuket were great as well.  I must say that the awesomeness of one's holidays depends on travel companions (if you're traveling with someone else).

Otherwise, my days spent in Tamparuli has been basically idling.  Aside from the workouts that I have been able to maintain.  I've also been reading and working on PPTs for my classes next semester.  I'm on Chapter Five of the History of the English Language.  Something that I was initially very enthusiastic to teach, but then the explosion of information was just too much for me.  How am I to remember who did what to who when why where how?  Then there is the dilemma, do I want to make this more linguistic-centered, i.e. to highlight how English changed in linguistic terms, or do I want to take a sociolinguistic approach to it.

I have been junk-eating while I'm here.  I have nothing to lose, in terms of weight, but I do have my health at stake.

It's so slow here, that the whole west coast of Sabah was out of power two mornings in a row.  Reasons?  I heard the guy at the power department forgot to lower the juice feed after the PM left the country.  Padini definitely lost profit since they wouldn't let me figure my way out through the darkened store.  Bleh.

 Bangkok
 Phuket
 Singapore


People You Don't want to Meet at the Airport/Plane

For the past two weeks, I have developed a very intimate relationship with airports and planes.  I love the experience of going through the motions: checking in, clearing immigration, getting frisked? oopps!

All is fun and well, but not so when you travel with certain groups of people. 

This first group of people are from the south of Asia.  I came into contact with them on my flight back to Bangkok from Phuket.  They were all queued up nicely, albeit speaking to each other in a loud voice.  That was what I thought-that they were speaking loudly to each other, but apparently they were talking back to the lady at the counter.  They were causing such a ruckus that the personnel had to move them aside.

This group of people were tolerable (since they were not in my way), but the next group I bumped into the next day was just crazy with a capital C.  snap snap snap*

It was Friday at Suvarnabhumi Airport and I was checking in for my flight to Singapore.  Upon reaching the check-in counter, there was a crowd, not a queue, but a CROWD of "people."  These "people" just crowded around the counter and all were yapping away happily.  We circled the crowd and found an empty counter.  Somehow the people were just attracted to one counter, but this did not last long.  They saw me and my friend lining up at the empty counter and soon enough a bunch of them followed suite. 

We clear immigration and was soon shopping away at the departure terminal.  We got to our gate and lo and behold the "people" were there.  I joined in the line and they made you feel like you were invisible.  Physically pushing against you.  I could feel their stomachs against my back.  Hmmm, not much of a personal space with them "people."  When we got to the aerobridge a member of the "people" thought it would be okay for them to cut the line.  I immediately raised my hand and gave them the "HAND" and said "No!"

Well, if it weren't for them my travels won't be as exciting.  :P

Hairy Experience

Since living in Thailand, I haven't had the most pleasant experiences with hair dressers, barbers, stylists--whatever you want to call them.  Initially, I had friends here who had hair-trimming skills--better than Edward Scissorhands.  But all of these friends have left (I know what am I doing here?!)

There are times when I trim my own mane when my hair ain't too long, but there are times when I NEED a 'professional' to keep it under control.  Here are two of the experiences. 

1.  At "Together" Salon.  This hairdresser (guy) boasts a lot because a lot of us foreigners come to his shop for a hair cut.  I stopped going to this establishment because I didn't feel quite "together" with the owner.  One day, I came in wearing a Fedora.  It was summer, I was protecting my precious face from being exposed to the heat.  After finalizing a customer's hair, he welcomed me to the chair.  I took out my hat as I walked over and ruffled my sweaty hair/scalp.  He eye-balled my head of hair.  The looked into the mirror at me.  We both were looking at each other in the mirror.  Then he said, in his meager English, "Ten years, helicopter."  Then he did a landing motion of a helicopter with his hand on my head.  Now, why would he say that to a customer.   I never went back.

2.  "Sunflower"  This hairdresser (lady) has been cutting hair of many friends.  She spoke better English so I thought that I would be better off at this place.  I went there one afternoon after work.  I was the only customer.  She got me to sit and place my head over the sink while she rinsed off all the dirt and grime from my hair after working for 8 hours.  She washed my hair four times.  FOUR TIMES.  With what I am not sure of.  She massaged my head, which was great.  But then she made her way down to my face.  This was at a time when I was having a breakout and there were tiny pimples forming constellations across my face.  After drying my hair, she ushered me to the chair and there she chopped away, while I dozed.  When she was finally done.  She went to a shelf towards the back and took out several products.  She came back to me, fully intending to sell me at least one of this miracle cosmetic.  She said that I had too much pimples.  "Huh, really?" I said.  She also said that I am balding.  "Okay, I'm never coming back."

Maybe I'm too sensitive.  I don't know.  Maybe I have to accept nature's course and live with the fact that I do have a high forehead.  Hey, in China, those with high foreheads are considered smart!

:D  

Domestic Sightings

I don't need to wander all the way to BKK for some fun fun fun.  Muak Lek has its own entertainment to offer.

We don't get road rage Bangkokians are subjected to!  We get moo-moo-cows putting up a show!

The black one in front totally the BULL leader.

Two of them actually bumped into the car and folded-in my side mirrors.
 Now, this is my own version of Engrish.

For some reason they forgot to mix in the salt with whatever makes the chips sour. 

Hmm.  Claypot made out of crab?

This is the best!  After using this fabric softener, you will want to make love to your own clothes!

I totally need this if I'm gonna party-rock-anthem Muak Lek! Blinged to the max shufflin'

Strictly Bananas

So many!
Going Bananas


Don't worry I ain't eating them bananas on my own.  I share the smaller ones with the birds.  There's a dead smallish tree in the backyard and we decorate it like a Christmas tree--Christmas Banana Tree?  And the birds will drop by and consume this tropical delicacy. 

Felicity Conditions

Fridays are bad days for my semantics students.  The reason being the amount of time spent with me--four hours!

The discussion this morning and afternoon was about Felicity Conditions, in relation to our discussion on Direct Speech Acts.  In brief FC looks at conditions which must transpire for the the DSA to be appropriately executed.

It is somewhat similar to Truth Conditions, but FC only looks at what conditions have Truth Values.

In the middle of my lecture, I candidly mentioned, "Our parents should all attend this lecture."

Why?

Because some of the things they say are infelicitous.

For something to have FC, e.g., the speaker must know that the hearer has already performed the action.  But this is not the case for some older parents.  They repeatedly ask for confirmation for tasks which have long been completed.  Such as, "Have you made your bed?"  "Have you (you may fill in the blanks with whatever is appropriate).  In other words, the constant nagging. :P

This is not a public outcry to the 'injustice' felt by many children out there.  I was merely thinking of an example and this came to mind.

The only nearest chill-out place to AIU, McDonald's at Pak Chong.

The Sprinkler

I was hurrying along the winding pathway past the Thai Sala.  Fallen leaves are strewn about, and the grass has browned, except for the bougainvillea.

"Pat, pat, patter patter patter."

Little black discs began spinning out of the ground, accompanied by the hiss of water. 

"The sprinklers are out! I'm only halfway to the parking lot."

I was at a safe distance where the beads of water could not reach.  I examined the direction of each sprinkler.  There were three right at the end of the pathway, the first two sprinkling counter-clockwise while the last one clockwise.  "I can manage this," I thought. 

Careful calculation brought me right behind the first sprinkler.  I obediently trailed the horizontal jet of water.  I was beaming when I maneuvered past the first two, a smile plastered on my face.  Just then, I noticed the third sprinkler's stream of water coming to me.  The pace faster than the second hand of an analog clock.  I stood still.

"PAT, PAT, PATTER, PATTER."  Right across my chest.  I was shot by water machine guns.

I bet someone somewhere saw me getting drenched. 

Multilingualism is Not Happy and Gay

Many perceive living in a multilingual society as exotic, while some view it as a privilege or even a luxury.  An article published by the New York Times mentions how bilinguals are perhaps better at analytic tasks.  Would this imply that those who are trilingual or polyglots are smarter?  

How do bilinguals/multilingual/polyglots cope?  If the notion of universal grammar were true, there would be a lot of principles and parameters to be set to accommodate the different languages spoken.  What more the ability and the spontaneity to code-switch in different linguistic domains!  Could these be the bases for the assumption that bilinguals are better at analyzing?  Like a chameleon sensitive to the color of the environment--perhaps this is what bilinguals are good at.  

Setting those aside, growing up multilingual is not all happy and gay.  It is rather strenuous to be constantly conscious of how one should be, pragmatically speaking, when using a particular linguistic code.  On the macro-level, multilingual societies could actually instigate a transformation of the linguistic ecology to a less multilingual one, better known as language shift.  

Language shift.  If only people read about the history of the English language and how it waned and waxed (around the time when France was occupying the lil' isle), Sabahans would have been prepared for the linguistic 'catastrophe' bound to befall upon them.  Managing a pluralistic society is straight-up difficult.  Too many people to please.  

The newly formed Malaysia, in 1963, had communities who were detached from each other.  To promote nation-building, Malay, or Bahasa Malaysia, was given national status.  However, it's been more than four decades since this policy, or act, or constitution, was written.  Why is there still animosity between ethnic groups?  This is obvious with the recent promotion of 1Malaysia, where different ethnic groups are encouraged to identify themselves as being a 'Malaysian.' 
   
Article 152 of the Federal Constitution provides that while the Malay language has been recognized as the national language, no person is prohibited from teaching his own mother tongue; every person has the right to use his own mother tongue for non-official purposes; and the Government has the right to preserve and sustain the use and study of mother tongue of any other ethnic minority communities.

Diglossic communities around the world have been experiencing a shift towards being a monolingual one.  This is the same for Sabah.  Though for the past two decades, efforts have been made to revitalize some of the ethnic languages, results seem to be gloomy.  The Ministry of Education did recognize the addition of the Kadazandusun language as a subject for the primary curriculum in Sabah.  This could have been too late though, since real language experts in Kadazandusun who are able to teach are a rarity.  This could be likened to the situation of English in Malaysia.  When Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaya, it was agreed that English would be eventually phased out.  Only after English was completely phased out from official and educational uses did people realize how ridiculous that was.  Till today, Malaysia is still struggling to up the level of English proficiency.  Something that would be difficult, especially with such a rigorous campaign to promote 'Malaysian-ness,' so to say.  

It's a pity that not all of us in my generation are able to proudly proclaim fluency in our 'mother tongue.'  What's more saddening is that none of us are proactive enough to actually learn the language.  Though research centers such as the Kadazandusun Language Foundation and the Borneo Research Council have been set up, the status of the native languages of Sabah continue to deteriorate.  One interesting point that an article published from the Borneo Research Council Journal is that a lot of Sabahans have been taken out from their 'native element.'  We are not in an environment which calls for specific linguistic knowledge.  Progress has changed the linguistic ecology we are living in, in other words.  Practicality is a part of moving forward, I believe.  The question could be applied to these dying languages as well: are they worth saving?

The first and subsequent generations of Malaysia may or may not be emotionally stigmatized by this process.  I know I am, especially when a dear friend of mine made me think of my role as an applied linguist and a teacher of English.  What am I contributing to this whole linguistic process?  Is my teaching of English hastening the imminent ending?  Thinking of this feels like me rubbing salt into my eyes.  

 

But I thought?!

But I thought?!  Everything is relative, or is there such thing as universalism?  Beats me.  Also, something that you've had, and still have, bugs you to write you a post on your blog. 

Something that you have been with.  Something that you have worked with, for example.  You expect to know what is expected when dealing with that something.  You know how that something reacts but still you do counter-intuitively.  Silly, but true? 

It's like someone asking you in an angrily contorted face with voice close to a snake's hisses.  You respond in bewilderment and a tint of angry confusion.  Then the other person asks you why you are angry? 

Do you get that?  If you do, how do you react?

Bleh. 

The Gym Towel

I never had to bring one.  But I might on Thursday.

We know the gym attracts different types of people.  Trust me, not all of them are there for fitness' sake.  I've been frequenting the campus gym for over a year now, and I've had my fair share of encounters with other gym enthusiasts.  Take note that I'm not referring them as "health" or "fitness" junkies. 

Why do I go to the gym?  I'm scrawny and skinny, but I have managed to add some muscly padding to my rubbery dark and tanned skin. 

So far, I have two categories of dudes who go to the gym.

1.  The ones who perspire after 10 minutes of intense workout, then takes off their shirt and leaves the sweat-drenched shirt hanging on one of the machines--the machine selected is normally one that is most used by everyone else.  Mind you, their upper body is not the only part that is secreting wetness, the lower half works just the same.  So if it's a press down machine they were on, you'll see a long oval-shaped dampness on the backrest, and on the butt rest (let's just be frank here), you'll see the heart shaped dampness--our gym pants act as a semipermeable membrane, a very good illustration for osmosis!

2.  You have the ones who are very vocal, too vocal for a public gym.  Perhaps it is the lack of a catchy upbeat tune in the gym that these people use as an excuse to grunt and pant and scream?  Yes, we do get those who encourage others by huff and puff their approval for the workouts people do.  The controlled inhalation and exhalation normally go unnoticed, but it's the moaning that gets people's heard turning.  IIIYEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!

Most of the time I'm in the zone when I'm there.  I'm focused.  I want to get to the finish line.  But along comes Polly, not the parrot, not Jennifer Aniston.  Just Polly the sweat-drencher and moaner.

Till then. 

Name- and word-dropping

Prima facie, post facto are some fancy Latin terms I have come across in my readings.

Bitchener, Boring, Csikszentmihalyi are some fancy? names I have come across in my readings.

Stuff to Read.

I have never read so much academic papers within a short span of time.  Every week there are close to ten papers I need to read through, and whose information I need to remember.  Who wrote what?  Who said what?  What instrument was used?  What was problematic about this paper?  I write them down, but of course in an unsystematic way.  I write notes on the margin of the paper.  But they are so concise that I forget what they actually are.

I'm still lost.  I don't know what my research topic would be.  It's about ASEAN, definitely.  Why?  I am interested in SEA, and I'm interested in prospective employment.  Hey, you've got to do something practical and worthwhile.

It's funny.  I was preparing for my semantics class today, and I noticed something I wrote in Mandarin on the first blank page of the book.  If you can read Chinese, you'd know what I'm talking about.  Nonetheless, I hope my students don't feel how I felt when I penned my feelings down many years ago.

What did I write?

Bad Days



Even photocopying machines have bad days :(

I'm Sexy and I Know It

We're Sexy and We're making lunch.

Graduation Weekend

I got to march this Graduation!  I've never marched down the aisle with the rest of the faculty because I'd normally be providing the march music for them.  Then our new music teacher came along and I get to skip down and smile and wave with the rest :P

It was a memorable yet tiring event.  Memorable because I messed up a hymn badly (I did play the piano for Saturday's graduation).  Everyone was looking at each other.  I looked at the violinist, the violinist looked at me, the chorister looked at me, and the congregation was split-they didn't know who to look at.

It's nice to have my friends graduating.  At least now I don't have to worry about having friends who were my classmates back when I was a student eons ago.

Daniel Kopp!
My Mom, Dr. Surapee and Aunty Chrisana
We got tired of smiling so we thought a serious face would be nice :)
Suai Mak Mak!
You've got to rock the grad with fun socks
Dawood rocked his exist as he did for the entrance.
Sandy Shamon!

Faculty of Arts and Humanities after the Royal Presentation Ceremony.

Dawood receiving the Rizpah Award.
Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University Church.

I'll be Back

Song in a loop in my head, Pink Martini's But Now I'm Back. I really do appreciate Program Music because they are more meaningful. Not sure if songs which convey a story should be called Program Music, but I think they are on the same line.

This week has been quite hectic. Graduation here at AIU normally gets into the way of a lot of the things I'm supposed to do. Like my course outline and whatnot. A new course I'm teaching this summer, Semantics. Looking forward to it - Probably the first sentence I'll talk about is: colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

Was at the music room early this morning. Practiced for a full hour while the sun rose, its reflection on the mahogany yamaha, interrupted by the consistent squeak of the sustain pedal which needs much oiling.

Pleasantly bumped into Ivonne!

I want to play piano like this every morning!


There Goes My Heart Again

You know (No, you don't) that time when you arranged to meet someone and that someone doesn't show up. Your mind starts racing and you come up with all sorts of excuses to compensate for the non-arrival of that someone.

Then when that person finally shows up you have a 180 degrees transformation and you forget all the ridiculous thoughts you had earlier.

Back in Bangkok, city that never sleeps. Well parts of Bangkok actually don't sleep. I'm thankful that I'm in the part where people actually sleep!

What's playing in my head? The Real Group's "There Goes My Heart Again." Nice sad song, go look it up on youtube :P

Just one of Those Things

I'm not sure if you've heard Ella Fitzgerald's rendition of Just one of Those Things, or Jamie Cullum's cover of the same song. A fun song I must say.

It was just one of those things
Just one of those crazy flings
One of those bells that now and then rings
Just one of those things

I'm not sure if I want to call it a crazy fling, because nothing beyond crazy has happened. Most of the time it's just enjoying each other's company. Talk, movie, peanuts, Korean ice-crea, mango plus sticky rice, you know. The usual.

So good-bye, dear, and amen
Here's hoping we meet now and then
It was great fun
But it was just one of those things

But no, part of me doesn't want it to be just one of those things
I actually want it to work!
But it takes two to tango. You need a prey to be a hunter, you need partner to be a couple.
It WAS great fun. Bun all fun comes to an end.

Bleh.

Finals


Waiting for students to finish their final exam. The inevitable looms like a dark cloud blocking the last rays of sunlight (I'm talking about marking their papers)

Pink Martini

If any of my ENGL421 students read this, know that I marked your finals in bed. What? A teacher deserves some slack time too!


Pink Martini is the only musical group I can listen to while working on office stuff. Other than them, I'll end up shuffling around the room or rolling in the bed. Literally.

It's so hard to keep up with this blog. Perhaps some sporadic posts would do. Perhaps a tribute to bloghopper, my anonymous blog visitor whose identity I'm still curious to know.

What did I do today?

Prepared final grades, gave out two final exams, and I just finished marking them. Read my article for my TLL class discussion next Wednesday. Looked at tickets for travel plans. I'm excited for April and May!! :D

Been having strange dreams these past few nights. First was about me giving a week of prayer, and when I got up, I had nothing Biblical to say. Hmmm, my mind processing my subconscious fear of knowing so little about the Word?

I'm still torn, whether or not to resign. Decisions, decisions. Hate them. I think the way I'm treated like a teenage at home makes me so indecisive. If you can't take the blame, blame the parents right? I love my parents. Not blaming them :)