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."


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?


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!