Sunday, October 21, 2007

Homework Task 1 : “My Eid Experience”

From top- Kampua mee, Bintulu Market, Fishing boats, City Point Mall
HOme COming StOry

13/10/2007 Saturday
Dear Blogger,
I am finally back in Bintulu. It had been a long day. Today's the first day of Hari Raya, so I guess everyone is in a festive mood. I am to tired to go anywhere so off to bed, I went. (flashback) Unfortunately, the morning of Raya, I was still at my room in UNITEN. My flight was at 1.40pm so I still have a morning all to myself, literally. Everybody has gone back to their kampung a few days before. I send Hari Raya greetings by sms to my Malay friends. Switching on my laptop, I watch a few clips until 10.45am and then dragged my belongings downstairs and waited for the taxi. Surprisingly, the LCCT airport was as crowded as usual. I also met an old classmate of mine there. We chatted for a while about the different paths we have taken. "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, I took the one less traveled and that has made all the difference." Onboard the Airbus AK5272, I waited patiently for my destination-home.

14-15/10/2007 Sunday & Monday
Dear Blogger,
I visited all my Malay and non-Malay friends. We had a lot of fun eating and sharing our experience over the pass few months. Then, on Monday, we went around town together before visiting our old school. The school was literally empty as it was the school holidays. We went through our old classrooms and tried to guess where we sat before. Most of the time we were silent, with occasional burst of laughter. School has many memories for all of us. Not all of us were their, some have move on and while others did not come back this holidays.

16/10/2007 Tuesday
Dear Blogger,
After yesterday and the day before, I decided to relax a bit at home and do the piles of homework a brought back. i started of with the numerous essays that I have to complete. Occasionally, I took some breaks to read newspapers and do other stuff. At the end of the day I rewarded myself , watching the whole Harry Potter series!

17/10/2007 Wednesday
My family and I went out for breakfast at our favourite coffee shop. Restaurants are too expensive, but who needs them when the best mee in town, "kampua mian" can be found at coffee shops. After a delicious breakfast, we went shopping at the newly built supermarket in town, Walmart. Walmart is a bit different from other supermarkets in Bintulu as it opens at 10.00am following the standard international supermarkets and hypermarkets in KL. Usually, local supermarkets are opened by the latest 8.00am so it is a bit weird for locals. Anyway, I also went to get a haircut before heading home. In the afternoon, I went to the library to study and borrow some books to read. I still have a lot of things to study before the final exam so it does dampened my holiday spirits.

18/10/2007 Thursday
Nothing much today as I stayed at home to do some revision. Surf the net and kill some monsters online with my warrior and magician.

19/10/2007 Friday
Blame it on the exams as I had to study today. :-( Oh ya, I did some shopping again this morning with my parents. Then, the rest of the day is for books.

20/10/2007 Saturday 11.00am
Today is the day I am going back so I have to packed my stuff before my flight in the afternoon. In the morning, I also watched television and did some revision. After lunch, I went to my room. Looking at my room, I noticed that time stood still in here. My calender still shows March the 12th, 2007, the day my SPM results were released. Then, at about 2.30pm, my family sent me to the airport. Onboard AK 5273 bounded for Kuala Lumpur, I am not sad leaving as I know I will be back. Where ever time and fate takes me, home is where the heart is.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Homework Task 2: “My Rigorous Efforts in Improving English Listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking Skills”

English is not an easy language. Being a pre-IELTS examinee means that I really have to take improving my English seriously. After all, if "Rome was not built in a day ", then English definitely cannot be learned in a week or so. Therefore, I really should planning beforehand what rigorous efforts that has to be taken to sharpen my linguistic skills.
Note that first and foremost, I have to improve my reading skills. I must read more materials that are written in English. I will have to really make it a habit to read newspapers everyday and also read books, encyclopedias and other articles I could lay my hands upon. Surfing the internet for good juicy articles is also a source for reading materials. In addition to that, speed reading is a useful skill that I must learn and practice. Reading will help me improve my vocabulary. Expanding my word bank is important for writing, not forgetting speaking and listening.
Good listening skills is also important to master. I need to listen before I can speak well. The best way to improve listening is to...listen of course! All I have to do is to allocate at least 2 hours a week to listen to the listening modules provided online by websites such as ESL Lab, Australian Network and etc. Also, I should watch shows and movies in English more. Practice makes perfect.
Learning to write well is more difficult. To write well, I need to read a lot and I mean a lot. Reading sample essays is a good idea to improve my writing skills and I should make it a point to borrow and photocopy some notes from my friends who took SAT recently. I should also practice writing real IELTS essay questions at least once every week. I would need ideas to write so I should make a compilation of short notes and mindmaps of ideas for every essay topic I wrote or read. In addition to that, I should try to read and complete the Vision Grammar workbook by the end of this semester.
I believe that there is no better way to improve speaking but by having a casual or intelectual conversation with someone. I need to learn the pronunciation of difficult words from Merriam-Webster and practise them. Learning more about the speaking test through the internet is also important.Having a study group is a good way to improve speaking skills as we can learn from each other and get use to communicating in English.
Surprisingly, although there is no shortcut to improve English, learning English not so hard. All I have to do is to pay attention during English and IELTS class, complete whatever task my lecturers gave me and do some learning myself.
Hence, all it needs is a pinch of confidence, a sprinkle of inspiration and a lot of hardwork.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

11. How People Look

"Mummy why am I not as pretty as her?"
"But you are darling..."
"But she is prettier!"

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but studies has shown that most of us usually agree when saying who is beautiful or handsome regardless of our gender. So, what exactly is beauty and is does it come by nature or nuture?

Undeniably, beauty is very subjective, but there are several determinants which we often we look into such as height, symmetry, facial features, physique, skin tone, waist to hip ratio and so on. For example, research has shown that women prefer men who are taller than them whereas men prefer women who are younger and low waist-to-hip ratio (whose body bodies are shape like an hour glass)-features are associated with fertility.

As society places to much emphasis on beauty it is only natural that attractive people tend to be more intelligent, better adjusted, and more popular. This is described as the halo effect - due to the perfection associated with angels. Research shows attractive people also have more occupational success and more dating experience than their unattractive counterparts. The television sitcom "Ugly Betty" documents the life of a girl faced with hardships due to society's unwelcoming attitudes toward those they deem unattractive. Sadly, when too much emphasis is place on physical attractiveness, people begin to forget about inner beauty and this leads to social problems such as anorexia and bulimia just because they wanted to look like supermodels or their idols. Some even went to the extent of going under the knife to look beautiful-i.e. plastic surgery.

Unfortunately, beauty is determined by genetics. However, a balanced diet, exercise, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep also helps! For instance, exercising helps to burn extra fat and keeps the body in good shape. Furthermore, healthy people more attractive then those who are sick. It is important to point out that although physical beauty is important, inner beauty which comes from the heart should never be overlooked. Kindness, tenderness, compassion, creativity and intelligence are values that make human, a human. Although scientific studies has yet to proof that inner beauty counts in choosing a mate, it cannot be denied that people prefer to be around those who are cheerful and happy as the feeling is shared with those around them. Beauty does not guarantee happiness but kindness and love does.

To some up, although we cannot totally change how we look but we can change our inner beauty, and inner beauty is reflected out as one's true beauty.

"You may not be someone to the world, but to someone you are the world."

10. Where home is...

We always took things for granted when we have them. So, when I left my home place, what was there to miss? Bintulu is just a small town; what is it compared with KL? There are no hypermarkets or anything to see. But as months pass by, I began to realised that I rather be at home than any place in the world. This week, I am going to write about transport and tourism. So, I want to compare and contrast the differences between my home place with Kuala Lumpur, near where I am studying now, at Uniten.
Firstly, I will talk about the traffic. In Bintulu there are cars and traffic jams usually at peak hours or during weekends(look at the picture of the tamu/market)but it is nothing compared to Kuala Lumpur! Although I got my driving licence, there is no way I am driving on my own in Kuala Lumpur. Heck, I don't even know which road goes where. So, I rather take the bus or taxi if I am in Kuala Lumpur. At night, in Bintulu, the traffic is gone and it would be very quiet. KL, in contrast is still bustling with activities at night.
Secondly, about tourism, there aren't many interesting places in Bintulu. However, I may be wrong because I live there all my life, so everything is the same, nothing unusual. There are a lot of shops in Bintulu, not the gigantic shopping complexes like in KL but more like small grocery shops and many coffee shops. There are supermarkets like Farley, Sing Kwang, MDS and the new Walmart or something(not sure, just opened so I have not got the chance to explore it yet) and City Point, where teenagers usually hang out apart from cyber cafes. If Kl, people have KLCC, then n Bintulu, we have an old clock tower which has been there since time immemorial(honestly, I forgot when it was built). There are two beaches in Bintulu, the Tanjung Batu Beach(inset) and the more famous Similajau beach in the north. The Similajau National Park is an interesting place to visit or you can just go to Taman Tumbina(yup, it comes from Tumbuhan@plants and Binatang@animals) if you aren't into jungle trekking and that sort of stuff. There is a orchid farm, bird and butterfly garden inside. Or if you like ships, machines and pollution, then go to Bintulu's industrial site in Kidurong(just joking). The Bintulu Developement Authority is still in the progress of rebuilding the waterfront from the Bintulu port till Tanjung Batu Beach, so that is something you can look foward to.
To sum up, I prefer living in Bintulu than KL(no hard feelings, KL lovers) . Although Bintulu is often overshadowed by its neighbours, Miri and Sibu, it is developing very quickly. Although I am happy on the progress Bintulu has made, I hope it will not lose the peacefulness and tranquility it has on its residents.

Friday, September 21, 2007

9. A Letter From Mars

CE 750 Gagarin Base,
Solar Highway,
Andromeda Colony,
Sector 5,
Year 3031, 17 February.
Dear Joey,
How's life at Earth? I hope you and mum are doing well. Congratulations on your results for SPM (Space Pleminiary Maths). You actually scored GPA of 3.97! Wow! Dad sent you congrats as well from the International Space Station 2 near the asteroid belt. I guess I have to bring you a present from Mars. Sorry, no Martians or anything like that. We aren't allowed to take any souvenirs home according to the International Space Treaty.
You wanted to know about space developements and how it will affect our future for your academy project right? Well, uhm, the first successful orbital launch was of the Soviet unmanned Sputnik I mission on October 4, 1957. The satellite weighed about 83 kg and is believed to have orbited Earth at a height of about 250 km. It had two radio transmitters (20 and 40 MHz), which emitted "beeps" that could be heard by any radio around the globe. Analysis of the radio signals was used to gather information about the electron density of the ionosphere, while temperature and pressure data was encoded in the duration of radio beep. Then, we took a step further and the first human spaceflight was Vostok 1 (Sunrise 1) , carrying 27 year old cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961. The spacecraft completed one orbit around the globe, lasting about 1 hour and 48 minutes.
We have gone a long way since then. From Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon to the set up of the International Space Station and the recent colony on Mars. Undeniably there has been critisms on space exploration since it began in the early 21st century. Many people believe that space exploration is a waste of money due to the escalating cost and shortcomings in space exploration. Some people also have moral objections to the huge costs of space travel, and say that even a fraction of the space travel budget would make a huge difference in fighting disease and hunger in the world in the past. However, I believe that space exploration has made a huge impact to the world we life in. Besides the large amount of planetary data returned by spacecraft, there have been many indirect scientific achievements: development of the modern computer, lasers, etc. For instance, even the protective suit that fire fighters wear are designed from astrounaut space suits. Even aeroplane and jet builders have borrowed technology from NASA in their research. If there was no space exploration to begin with, we probably won't even have live television broadcast or handphones! Using satellites, we can predict the weather, determine where we can find oil, locate objects using remote sensing satelites and so on. Space tourism which once was considered only for the rich can be afforded by common people. Oh ya, I did promise to take you to visit our sis on the moon base 2, last summer right? Remind me when I get back.
So, I think the future holds infinite posibilities for space exploration and the way we would live in the next hundred years. With the recent colony in Mars, we are trying to find ways to cultivate vegetation in closed green houses and extract water using gravity from the sub-layers of Mars. I won't be surprise if we can establish a new civilisation on Mars in next hundred years but they are still significant obstacles to overcome. I am still figuring how to plant rice on Mars unusual soil that is full of iron(III) oxide! Being a biotech scientist is not that easy..haha.
Ok, before I sign off, I want you to remember this words which will inspire you to reach your dreams to be a spaceship pilot. Neil Armstong once said that his step on the moon was "one small step for a man, one huge leap for mankind." It means you and I can make a big difference in space exploration. So, ne
ver give up. Lastly, reflect the words of the Sir Stephen Hawkings, renowned British theoretical physicist in the 21st century; he said that "I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I'm an optimist. We will reach out to the stars."
Send my regards to everyone at home. Bye.
Your brother,
PS I am going back earth this coming March. So, see you then.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

8. A Handphone's Life

Sophia's autobiography...

Hi! My name is Sophia. I am a handphone and my proud owner is the author of this blog.

Let me tell you a bit about myself. I was born in Japan before I was shipped to Malaysia. I am blasted silver in colour with a black armor on my chest. My genetic code is K750. My family carry the name of the Sony Ericsson. There are those from other clans such as Nokia and Motorola. However, we, handphones do not usually mix with those from outside our clan. I am not sure why but father says that their is fierce rivaly between different clans and I should be proud as my clan carry a good name. Ironically, we share the same ancestors...the Telephone. Being one of the latest models at my time, I was pitted against many other handphones for potential masters.

I was glad when I finally found my master. I always do my best to serve him well in whenever he needs me. Not only that I help him to make important calls, but I also sing to him when he is feeling down and help him to take pictures with my 2.0 Mega PIXEL AUTO FOCUS eye. I also have a impressive memory of 1GB. Furthermore, I help him to remember important dates and organize his daily planner. Thats why my master loves me and brings me along wherever he goes.

Generally, we handphones are a necessity to human beings. They depend on us to do a lot of things. Therefore, it is not surprising that almost everyone has at least a handphone. Sadly, sometimes we get blame for things that is not our fault. I don't understand why some people accuse us for spoiling their language and criminal is activities such as cheating people of their money, spreading lies and pornographic materials. It is not our fault. We are only tools, serving our masters the best we could, whether what they do is right or wrong. It is also saddening and frightening that some of us will get thrown away or traded in for newer models after we serve our masters so loyally for so many years. I hope that it won't happen to me but I trust and have faith that my master will take care of me even when I am in my old age. With regards, Sophia Ericsson.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

7. Parental role vs. Teacher role in Education

Que Sera Sera, whatever will be will be,
the future not us to see...Que Sera..Sera... but your education counts!

The debate surrounding the roles of teachers and parents is one of the most charged in education. At one time, teachers took all the blame if the students did not do well in their studies while at another time; parents were accused of neglecting their roles as educators and expecting teachers to do all the work. So, who actually has a more pivotal role in ensuring student is successful in his studies?

There are two camps of thought to this question. One which agrees that parents plays a more important role while another strongly believes than teachers are the ones who will determine how good students are in their studies. The former argues that parental role is very important in the early development of children’s education. This is not surprising as early and consistent parental involvement in a child’s education such as instilling reading habits, interpersonal communication skills, identifying their child’s learning pattern and encouraging them to ask questions will expose them to good learning habits and liking for knowledge. Those who want more parent involvement strongly believe that parents should not just be merely the field trip helper or the lunch lady and argues parents have to take more interest in their children’s education. Parents need to be asked about how their child learns best. They need to share their career expertise with the children. Today's educators need to remember that parents are the child's first and foremost teacher; parents, too, are experts, and teachers should learn from them. It is interesting to note that academic achievement and parental involvement are strongly linked in the research. Children who come from loving and caring families who provide them moral support are more likely to be successful.

The opposing camp justifies that although parents do play a role at a early stage, students will have to depend more on their teachers when they pursue their education at primary, secondary and tertiary level. As students spend a lot of time in school compare to their pre-school days, a teacher has to shoulder the responsibility of educating the children especially because nowadays is common to have both parents working and have less time to be with their children even at home. The opposition argues that teachers are also well-trained to educate children unlike parents and have more resources at school. Moreover, most teachers are parents as well so they have the best of both worlds. Another prove that teachers are important in determining a student’s academic achievement is that good teachers are always highly sought after and parents would usually sent their children to a school or university where the educators are very experience and has produce many successful students. Although computers and other multimedia learning devices has been introduced from time to time, the demand for quality teachers has not drop and many people prefer sending their children to school than home schooling their children themselves.

As a conclusion, teachers play a more significant role than parents in education but the role of parents cannot be overlooked. Instead of debating whose role is more important it is wiser to find a common ground where both sides can work together to improve the quality of education with this changing times. Undeniably, both teacher’s and parent’s role complement each other as we need both hands to clap or give a round of applause.

6. Water resources

Water is one of three essential components to sustain life. The earth’s surface is two thirds water but only about 1-2% of the water is fresh water, out of which two thirds is frozen as ice in glaciers and polar caps. This leaves about 0.007% of water available for human use. Sources of freshwater include surface water such as rivers, wetlands and lakes, sub-surface water or groundwater stored in aquifers below water tables, frozen icebergs and through desalination. Although fresh water is a renewable resource, but the steady supply of water is decreasing because as the world population continue to rise at an unprecedented rate, the demand for water surpasses its sustainability and many more areas will experience imbalance in the near future.

About 69% of freshwater is used up for irrigation in agriculture. Irrigation is needed to increase crop yield especially during the drought and in some areas irrigation is necessary to grow any crop at all. Water is also used in the industrial sector to cool power plants, generate electricity, in chemical processes and as a solvent. The portion of industrial water usage varies but is much less than agriculture. Apart from that, water is also used for household purposes like drinking, cooking, washing, gardening and so forth. However most of the water used is return back to surface water sources and therefore is less consumptive compared to industrial and agricultural activities. A small portion water is also used for recreation like in swimming pools and water sports like sailing, boating and angling but such use is not consumptive. On the other hand, when water is used for a golf course, it can become the greatest water usage in a region. It has been estimated that a single average mid-western US golf course is equivalent to a population of 50,000 residents in water usage!

Freshwater pollution is a major problem since it is too easy to pollute rivers and lakes with pesticides, industrial waste and sewage. In poor and developing countries, the addition of sewage waste to sources of drinkable water lead to many diseases and deaths. In China, the United Nations reported that more than 78% of the people in China drink contaminated water supplies. The depletion of fresh water supplies is also due to climate change which affects the hydrologic cycle causing frequent droughts and flood. Apart from that, the draining of wetlands and overuse of aquifers by humans also aggravates the situation. Although humankind has made enormous effort to control the supply of freshwater by building huge dams, it results shrinking rivers and lakes, falling water tables and loss of wildlife.

Therefore, there is an urgent need for a international discussion to be held between countries and environmental organizations to identify and carry out drastic steps that must be taken to counter the depletion of freshwater resources before it becomes too late. Hopefully, the nations would not have to go to war against each other just to secure water supplies in the future as predicted in fiction books.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Different Aspects Of Culture

One of the things that make us, people special is that although we are the same species but we are different from each other because of our diverse cultures. Culture has been call “the way of life for an entire society.” As such, in includes manners, dress, language, religion, rituals, arts and norms of behaviour such as law and morality. (Quoted from wikipedia.) So, I am going to write about some different cultures, some which can be found in Malaysia’s multicultural society (or more specifically from Sarawak) and also those overseas.

Firstly, I will start with the Chinese culture. There are many ethnic groups in the Chinese community. Most of the traditional cultural identity can be distinguished from the family name. In Sarawak, most of the Chinese are from the Foochow (Fuzhou) Chinese especially at Sibu which originated from eastern part of the Fujian Province. Our dialect is Foochowhua. Although there are various ethnic groups in the Chinese community, we all share a standard Mandarin language, strong family values, respect to our elders and celebrations like Chinese New Year (also known as the Spring Festival and Lunar New Year) which begins on first day in the first lunar month in the Chinese Calender and ends on the 15th day, called the Lantern Festival and many others including the Mooncake Festival and Dumpling Festival. In all the occasions, it is a must that all the family members will come from afar to sit together on the same table or under the same roof for a family reunion dinner. The Chinese community also has many superstitions and traditional beliefs that must be observed during festivals such as no sweeping during first day of Chinese New Year. The color red is liberally used in all decorations. “Ang pows” are given to juniors and children by the married and elders.

Chinese arts include Chinese Folk Art, lyrical, visual art, Chinese music, performance art and architecture. Famous Folk Arts include Chinese Paper Cutting (created since Cai Lun invented paper!), Chinese Paper Folding, Glove Puppetry, Chinese Shadow Theatre and knots. We also have performance arts like the Chinese Opera, Dragon Dance and Lion Dance whereas Visual arts include Chinese ceramic pottery, Chinese ink painting and beautiful Chinese calligraphy. Traditional Chinese music instruments include silk string instruments like Guqin, Se, Suzheng, Pipa and Konghou which are to be plucked and Erhu, Jinghu, Banhu and Zhonghu which are bowed. Instruments made also made from bamboo which are mainly woodwind instruments like Dizi, Ziao, Panxiao, Chi and Bawu.

In Sarawak, the Iban are the native people. The Iban were traditionally animst
, however, the majority are now Christian, and many continue to observe both Christian and traditional ceremonies, particularly at marriage or festival times. Significant festivals include the rice harvesting festival Gawai Dayak, the main festival for the Ibans. Other minor but significant Iban festivals incluide the bird festival Gawai Burong and the spirit festival Gawai Antu. The Gawai Dayak festival is celebrated every year on the 1st of June, at the end of the harvest season. On this day, the Ibans get together to celebrate, often visiting each other. The Iban traditional dance, the ngajat, is performed with the accompaniment of the taboh and gendang, the name of the Ibans' traditional music. Pua kumbu, the Iban traditional cloth, would be used to decorate houses. Tuak, which is originally made of rice, is a wine, would be served to guests. Nowadays, the are various kinds of tuak such the ones made of ingredients like sugar cane, ginger and corn as an alternative to rice. The Iban have a musical heritage consisting of various types of agung esembles- percussion ensembles composed of large hanging, suspended or held, bossed/knobbed gongs which act as drone without any accompanying melodic instrument. The typical Iban agung ensemble will include a set of engkerumungs, a tawak , a bendai and also a set of ketebung. Iban as well as the Kayan also played an instrument resembling the lute called 'Sapek'. The Sapek is the official musical intstrument for the Malaysian state of Sarawak. An Iban traditional music is called the taboh.

Another culture which I found interesting was the Japanese culture. The Japanese speak Japanese and it is also their national language. The Japanese language has always played a significant role in Japanese culture. Spoken mainly in Japan but also in some Japanese emigrant communities around the world. Japanese is written with a combination of three different types of scripts: Chinese characters
Kanji, and two syllabic scripts, Hiragana and Katakana. Painting has been an art in Japan for a very long time: the brush is a traditional writing tool, and the extension of that to its use as an artist's tool was probably natural. The flowing, brush-drawn Japanese language lends itself to complicated calligraphy. Ukiyo-e ( "pictures of the floating world", Ukiyo-e) is a genre of wood block prints that exemplifies the characteristics of pre-Meiji Japanese art. The widespread popularity of ukiyo-e prints lead to their recognition as a very Japanese artform, which in turn has led to significant modern mimicry of ukiyo-e stylings in advertisements, posters, and other art including manga. Another famous Japanese art is the “Ikebana” is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. It has gained widespread international fame for its focus on harmony, color use, rhythm, and elegantly simple design. It is an art centered greatly on expressing the seasons, and is meant to act as a symbol to something greater than the flower itself. Many Japanese women entering into a third party marriage learn Ikebana to be a more appealing and well-rounded lady. Ikebana is widely practiced in Japan today, as well as around the world. The Japanese word kimono means "something one wears" and they are the traditional garments of Japan. Originally, the word kimono was used for all types of clothing, but eventually, it came to refer specifically to the full-length garment or "long-wear", that is still worn today on special occasions by women, men, and children. It is often known as wakufu which means "Japanese clothes". Kimono come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes. Men mainly wear darker or more muted colors, while women tend to wear brighter colors and pastels, and often with complicated abstract or floral patterns. The summer kimono which are lighter are called yukata. Through a long culinary past, the Japanese have developed a sophisticated and refined cuisine highly sensitive to the change of seasons. Modern Japanese enjoy a variety of traditional Japanese food, including the staples of rice and miso soup, as well as many seafood dishes like sushi and sashimi.

To summarize, the different aspects of culture makes the world a more wonderful and interesting place to live in. Just like the Malaysian snack “rojak”, the more variety of things you put in, the tastier it becomes!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

"I Have A Dream" (Malaysian version of Martin Luther King's famous speech

More than 50 years ago, our country was once colonised under cruel tryanny of the British invaders. Our ancestors were exiled in their own country and there was not a single drop of justice anywhere. Our children deprived of their rights for education while the whites devoured our nation's riches and left us in the darkest shadows of poverty.

But our ancestors refused to be enslaved in their own land. More than 50 years ago, people like Mat Kilau, Dato Maharajalela, Dol Said and Tok Janggut shedded their blood to fight against the invaders. It took many years of sweat and blood before, finally, 50 years ago, came a man who united all the people of our country regardless of their skin colour, language and beliefs.

50 years ago, the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians, the Ibans, the Kadazans, ecetera, ecetera and ecetera came together to fight for independence, for freedom from the slavery of their own land.

50 years ago, on the 31st of August, 1957, the man who united our people, Tunku Abdul Rahman, shouted the words that will go down in history and remembered by many generations, Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

Thank God we are free! We are free at last!

Fast foward 50 years later, as our country is going to achieve our 5oth year of independence, I have a dream that that our country will continue to prosper and remain strong as it always has been if not stronger!
I have a dream that the unity of our people will become an example to the world community so that they will learn to live in peace with each other.
I have a dream that one day my children, their children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy the freedom and peace I enjoyed today, that they will be able discover themselves and their potentials and find happiness in this free country.
As for myself, I have a dream that I will be able to give something back to my country which has brought many happiness to me.

May Malaysia continue to prosper!
May Malaysia's name be shouted and known at every mountain tops in the world!
May Malaysia grow stronger and achieve Vision 2020!
May Malaysia remain peaceful and the people in unity!
May the forefathers of our nation be proud of what this nation has achieve 50 years now and 50 years in the future!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

4. Work, Attitudes and Beliefs, and Social Changes : Clothes and Feminism

“Aaargh….Writer’s BLOCK!”. : (
(after 30 minutes...)

The world changed a lot over the past 50 years. Since the advent of information technology boom, from the telephone to the internet, different ideologies, attitudes and beliefs has spread rapidly and clashed between the East and the West. As time moves on, people begin to learn to compromise on their differences and assimilate. Therefore, it is not surprising that it will have a tremendous impact in our social lives, attitude and beliefs.

One of the most noticeable changes is the clothes teenagers wear nowadays especially Asian girls. In the olden days, girls would dress themselves thoroughly with long dresses, baju kurung, cheongsam, sari or other traditional clothing. Now, such clothing is considered not fashionable and most girls would prefer a miniskirt paired with a short t-shirt without sleeves or tight shorts and cleavage shirts to reveal as much as possible. Teenage girls are easily influenced by the clothes that their pop idols, models and celebrities wear because they think it makes them prettier and more appealing to the opposite sex. Just browse through MySpace or YouTube and you will find the sites are littered with pictures of young girls gangly frame dressed in bra-tops, miniskirt or just their undergarments in tempting positions. One of the main reasons they do so is to attract attention and feel sexy. On the other hand, boys want to look macho in front of the fairer sex, so they to also follow the latest trends like skin head and punk. Most teenager boys have the wrong perception that girls only date bad boys, so they resort to bullying, fighting their teachers and even extorting money from others to get attention and look cool.

Another wave of change is the role of women in society. In the past, the fairer sex is always expected to do the housework and taking care of the baby while the husband is the breadwinner. Women are not given rights to study, work or vote in the predominantly male society. Decades after fighting for equal rights between men and women, women are no longer looked down upon and have equal rights to education, employment and politics. Nowadays, it is a norm that the husband and wife both work to earn money for the family. Recent studies has shown that there are more females graduates than male graduates even in top universities and women now hold important roles which were once dominated by men. However, feminist still argue that more has to be done before women can have equal rights like their male counterparts especially at work. Issues such as discrimination, equal pay, equal promotion, maternal leave, sexual harassment and rape have still yet to be solved but progress is being made. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that women now more respected by men and have a more important role to play unlike the early nineteenth century.

In a broader perceptive, globalization has brought other social changes that not only may or may not conflict with the eastern values of the people in Asia but between the Western people themselves. Western society changing values on trends such as the birth control pill, voting rights for non-land holders, and the ups and downs of acceptance of homosexuality are also examples of social change. Although social changes cannot be hindered, people should learn to accept the changes but stay true to their own beliefs and be proud of their heritage.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

3. Economy and Natural Resources

Mother Nature has provided humans with bountiful resources to thrive on. However, in several years time, scientist and geologist have predicted that humans may run out off critical non-renewable resources especially fossil fuel such as coal, oil and gas. To make matters worse, renewable resources such as the forest his also diminishing because they are over-harvested or consumed at a rate higher then they can replenish themselves and the standing stock eventually run out. Undeniably, the environment can fufill humans' needs but not humans' greed.

Since the advent of the industrial revolution, the worldwide energy consumption has been growing steadily and is not showing any signs of decreasing. Realising that natural resources may be depleted in the nearby future and since it is not possible to reduce energy consumption as the world population gets bigger, many developed countries have sought to find alternatives to unrenewable natural resources. By using technology and innovation, people have manage to harness the power of the sun, wind, wave, earth(geothermal) and even from biological waste( biomass). Solar power is getting very popular especially among countries in the tropics where the weather is mostly sunny all the time. Ironically, global warming is another reason why solar power is the most popular alternative for fossil fuels apart from nuclear. Portugal, one of the sunniest place in the world has built the world's largest solar powerplant capable of powering 8000 homes! However, Japan and Germany is the are the largest consumer of solar energy while Denmark the wind energy. Brazil, interestingly, invest in ethanol production from sugarcanes as a new energy resource while Mexico is trying to extract ethanol from corn.

In recent years, the depletion of natural resources is due to poor planning and management of the natural resources especially among the underdeveloped and fast-developing countries. A nation's amount of resources will usually determine the nation's wealth and status in the world economy system and indirectly its political influence. For example, Brunei is a country where its citizens enjoy a high income and quality life because of its oil and gas industry. However, anomalously, some countries rich with natural resources are poorer than countries which have few natural resources. Sudan and Iraq are both oil producers but their people still suffer from egregious poverty, disease, high rate of unemployment, poor education and health system. Sadly, the Sudan government failed to manage its resources efficiently and much of their wealth from the oil is not distributed evenly among its people. Most of the money goes to the oil tycoons who are mostly foreigners and foreign oil companies while the remaining money is wasted by the government to build white elephants instead of improving the critical areas such as the education system. This paradox or resource curse mainly due to volatility of revenues from the natural resource sector, and government mismanagement, or political corruption, provoked by the inflows of easy windfalls from the resource sector. In contrast, countries which may have almost no resources can have a well-developed economy such as Singapore is listed the top 18 riches countries in the world with a foreign reserve of 212 billion. Singapore has well-diversified industries including refining, processing and manufacturing industries, in addition to its function as a trade entreport and the revenue from tourism. Therefore, it is not how much resource but how to manage them to achieve a sustainable economy and environment.

As a final note, developed and industrialised nations have an indispensable role to play in assisting the poor developed countries to manage their resources and not drain them of their wealth by economic pressures. The leading nations should be proactive in attempting a sustainable development by balancing economic needs with the protection of the environment and safeguarding the natural resources so that they would not only be able to fulfill the needs of the present now but also in the indefinite future.

2. The Way People Live Together

" All for one and one for all!"
Today's world population is made up of a mixture of different kinds of people of various races, religions and customs. Not only the human race is separated by "dissimiliar" skin colour or the language they speak but also shunned by others because of social stigmas, their disabilites and financial gap between rich and the poor.

From ancient history, Greek people of different cities fought each other to gain fame and fortune to the latest international disputes between the Palestine people and the Israelites and the social discrepancies in Iraq between the Shiite and Sunni tribes after the US occupation, people just can seem to live in peace with each other. It seems unavoidable as long as people exist, there will always be war, pain and destruction as proven during World War I and World War II. However, more and more people are beginning to realise from their mistakes in the past and are trying their best to remedy the situation. After World War II, the United Nations was formed to establish and promote peace among the 193 nations in the world. Since it was founded in 1945, the United Nations has successfully solve numerous social discrepancies for people of different nations to live together harmoniously including the abolishment of aparteid in South Africa. Many nations from the West and East are willing to sit side by side on the conference table to set aside their differences and work on a road map to achieve peace in the Middle East instead on the war field.

History also has shown that although people tend to shun others who are different from them, they are still those who are willing to sacrifice everything to achieve social equality and peace among all races regardless of their social background. People like Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr. are great examples of such people. Martin Luther King, Jr. is regarded as one of America's greatest orators who fought and promoted equal rights and equal treatments for different races in a peaceful manner. King's most influential and well-known public address was the "I Have A Dream" speech which was delivered from the steps of Lincoln Memorial at Washington D.C. Unfortunately, all three of them were assasinated by fanatics who where either racist or radical. Their deaths only spur more people to join their cause and were important in making the world we live today.

Malaysia, for instance, is the perfect example, to show that it is not only possible but a reality that people of different skin colour, language groups, culture and beliefs can live together peacefully. Although Malaysia has yet to achieve racial integration as visioned by its government, Malaysians has the very least proven that through understanding and toleration, a strong multiracial country can exist and strive in this world of hate and racism. In Malaysia, the people not only know each other customs well but also visit and mingle with each other during the major festivals such as Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Gawai and Pesta Menuai. Such occasions are the time to celebrate and strenghten ties betweem the diverse ethnics in Malaysia. Everyone in Malaysia is bound to have friends from different races and do not be surprise if their best friends are from a different race!

There is still a lot to achieve before people can really live together without discrimination of any kind. In a nutshell, it is very hard to winkle out discrimination. Even if people are willing to compromise and consent living with other races, it is not anomalous there will still be people who will be shunned not because of race or religion but because they are just different or special like ex-criminals, drug addicts, mental patients, AIDS carrier and even poor people. Society tend to think such people are useless to them and are abetted by the their narrow mindness. Consequently, the drug addicts and criminals then return to their previous ways, the poor get poorer since nobody wants them and the vicious cylcle continues. Nevertheless, there are positive signs that people are changing and through campaigns and the media, the community is more aware of their plight and is willing to give them a second chance to live together again with the rest of the society, as it is human to err.

Although it seems impossible, but if everyone is to accept a paradigm shift that people can live together and lend a hand to fight racism and abhor discrimination of any sort, then a world where people can live together in harmony like in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech which he said "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character " may actually come true.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The King and I (the movie) and etcetera,etcetera and etc.

Our class watched a movie during IELTS class this afternoon and the movie is called the "The King and I." Surprisingly the story was set in Siam (now Thailand) in 1894. We learnt to pronounce "Siam" the English way which is "See-AM" from Ms Eliza. It was funny. The story is about how a British teacher went to Siam to teach the royal children and wives (Yes, in plural! His majesty has about 87 children and is expecting 5 more!) of the king about western ideas and English. Apparently, she did more than that and even manage to win the utmost respect of the King of Siam whose name I cannot recall as his majesty was always refered as "your majesty" throughout the two hours and half show. I find the storyline quite interesting as it is filled with punchlines, jokes and etcetera, etcetera and etc. (Ha...ha...ha!) My friends and I do not like the classical songs though.
Ms Anna, who was the main character was a strong, no-nonsense and determine woman. She adapted herself to a foreign country easily. Moreover, she even manage to save the monarchy kingdom from being taken over by enemies by convincing the king to do the right things by making the king believe that it was his own ideas! I also love the royal children who are always eager to learn new things. The part where the little princess read a message to Ms Anna so she would not leave, was touching. Awww...So cute. Undeniably, the character that I like the most and probably of my friends as well is...the King himself! His majesty was so funny trying to be serious and his line "etcetera, etcetera, etc." was the most memorable line of all. He is really a good king trying his best to learn about modern ideas so that his country would remain strong without compromising on his traditional roots. It was hard for him but he finally succeeded but died at the ending of the story.
In short, this is a wonderful which touches about the different ideas and customs of the east and the west in the 1900s when the two cultures clashes and began to assimilate in Southeast Asean countries. From this story too, I learnt that the most important thing is to try our best and that being a teacher is one of the best and most respected occupation in the world regardless of one's status, skin colour and etcetera, etcetera and etc.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

1. Exercise, Nutrition and Health

Staying healthy is one of the keys of happiness. When you are healthy, you not only feel good but you are able to do all things you want to do. As the saying goes, health is wealth! A rich man will not be happy if he is sick all the time and cannot enjoy his wealth but a poor and healthy man can count his blessings and do whatever he wants to do. So, what exactly is health? Health is the level of functional and metabolic efficiency of an organism at both the micro(cellular) and macro(social) level. In the medical field, health is commonly defined as an one's ability to efficiently respond to challenges (stressors) and effectively restore and sustain a "state of balance," known as homeostasis. Generally, health is the condition of one's body and mind.

Nowadays, as more and more people are getting health conscious, there is a great demand for health products and supplements. Just read the newspapers or watch television commercials and you will definitely see some promotions on such products! However, you do not have to eat health supplements to stay healthy. By simply having a balance and nutritious diet, you can stay healthy. Nutrition is very important to the body. There are seven main class of nutrients that the body needs which are namely carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, mineral, fibre and water. Lacking certain nutrients in your diet will cause malnutrition. For example, deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy. Carbohydrate and fat provide us with energy whilst vitamins and minerals are important to maintain the physiological processes in our body. We need to eat every of the class of nutrients in the correct proportions as too much or less may lead to health complications. According to the food piramid by the World Health Organization, the food we should eat the most are sources carbohydrates followed by vegetable and fruits, meat and dairy products and lastly fatty and sugary food like chocolate and sweets. We should also drink 1.5 litres of water a day or 7 to 8 glasses of water to keep our body properly hydrated. However, how much water a person should drink also depends on how much our body loses water in our daily activities.

Bread and rice are good sources of carbohydrates, fish and meat contain protein and minerals which are important for growth and vegetables and fruits contain vitamins and fibre. Furthermore, it is better to eat white meat like chicken and fish than red meat such as mutton and beef. Eating various colours of food is also a fun way to eat a healthy meal. For example, red tomatoes are rich in vitamin A while green broccoli is a good source for vitamin C. The way you cook the food also influences your health. Undeniably, steamed or boiled food such as steamed chicken and boiled egg is heathier than deep fried chicken and scramble eggs. Why? Simply because they contain less oil or cholesterol which may lead to cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, we should not eat too much fast food because the way they usually contain high levels of cholesterol and fat. Apart from that, reducing salt intake is also very important as consuming too much salt and 'ajinomoto' will cause high blood pressure and kidney problems. As the saying goes, you are what you eat! Therefore, healthy eating is to stay healthy.

Recently, our government has decided that all fast food advertisements on television must be banned during prime hours to make sure that children are not negatively inffluenced by such advertisements. The move means that fast food companies will not be able to sponsor children’s television programmes. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said that the cabinet approved this after considering the ill effects of such advertisements on children below 12. Chua said the cabinet had also agreed on new compulsory regulations requiring information on the contents of fast food, such as calories, protein, fat and sugar, to be printed on the wrapping or box. Chua said the measures were important as Malaysians were getting unhealthy. He said 30 per cent of the population suffered from hypertension while nine per cent had diabetes. He said 500 out of every one million Malaysians were undergoing dialysis, making this the highest ratio among countries.

Apart from nutrition, physical exercise is also pivotal to keep our body fit and strong. Our body is engineered by God to work and therefore we should not be complacent in using it. Generally, we can divide exercises into three categories which are flexibility exercises such as stretching improves the range of motion of muscles and joints, aerobic exercises such as jogging, cycling and walking which increases cardiovascular endurance and lastly anaerobic exercises like weight lifting and sprinting which increases short-term muscle strength. So, why is exercise so important? The benefits of exercise is tremendous! Exercise is very important in mantaining physical fitness and contributes to maintaining a healthy weight, building and mantaining bone density, muscle strength, joint mobility, promoting psychological well-being and strengthens the immune system. Exercise is also known to prevent serious and life-threatening chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, insomnia, heart disease and depression. Both aerobic and anaerobic has been known to increase the mechanical efficiency of the heart via organ hypertrophy. In other words, exercise increases the efficiency of the blood circulation so that oxygen can be delivered efficiently to all the organs and cells in the body. Therefore, someone who exercises regularly at least up to 20 minutes three times a week will not tire easily. Moreover, exercise also increases one's threshold for pain. It also has been shown that exercise can improve cognitive functioning via the improvement of the hippocampus-dependent spatial learning. Studies has proved that those who exercise regularly will be less prone to mental diseases such as dementia when they reach old age. As the saying goes, a healthy mind comes from a healthy body!

To stay healthy is to have a healthy lifestyle. Apart from exercise and a nutritious diet, we must also avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol and taking drugs. For example, scientific studies have shown that smoking causes lung cancer, throat and mouth cancer, heart disease, emphysema, impotence, reduced memory and etc. In the United States, some 500,000 deaths per year are attributed to smoking and a recent study estimated that as much as 1/3 of China's male population will suffer shortened life spans due to smoking. Meanwhile, drug addicts are prone to diseases such as Aquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome(AIDS) and hepatitis B.

Besides that, stress management is also important to mantain a healthy mind. According to Richard Lazarus, stress can be divided into eustress and distress. Where stress enhances function such as strength training, it may be considered eustress. Persistent stress that is not resolved distress may lead to anxiety or depression. Stress can be divided into three stages which are alarm, resistance and exhaustion. The first stage, alarm, is when the body identifies the stress and respond to it by producing adrenaline to fight the stress. If the stressor continue to persist, the body will try the resist the stress and attempt some means to coping with stress. At stage three, all the resources are depleted and the body is finally exhausted and unable to cope with the stress. If stage three is extended, then it would lead to long term damage such as peptic ulcer, insomnia and etc. Therefore, it is important that a person should try to manage stress at stage one before it becomes chronic. For example, stress can be reduced by doing something you like, exercising, listening to music or just sharing your problems with a counsellor or a close friend.

In short, a healthy body and mind can be achieved by living a healthy lifestyle; eating healthy, exercising regularly, managing stress, avoiding drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. Health is very important because if a person is healthy, he or she can do anything. As wise people say, "If you lose money, you lose nothing. If you lose health, you lose everything."

Courses I Took For PPOU

Hi! I am going to tell you briefly about the courses I am taking at PPOU. This might be useful for those who in the future will be given the opportunity to take up this program.
The preparatory program will take 12 months of intensive learning period that is divided into 2 and a half semester. The total credit hours for the foundation course components will be 41 credit hours.
For the first semester, I am taking 7 courses which are Chemistry I, Chemistry Laboratory I, Introductory Calculus and Analytic Geometry(Maths), Physics I, Physics Laboratory I, Foundation English I and Academic Study Skills.
As for the second semester, I will take 6 courses which are Chemistry II, Calculus and Analytic Geometry(Maths), Physics II, Physics Laboratory II, Computing Skills and English For Academic Purposes.
The third and final semester or also known as the special semester, I will take only two courses which are Physics III and Calculus and Analytic Geometry III.
I just finished my first week so there is not much I can say about the courses I am taking but base on the total credit hours, the mostg important subject should be Calculus and Analytic Geometry followed by Physics, English(IELTS) and Chemistry. English is very important because I have to get at least band 6 for writing, speaking, listening and reading to fly overseas.
My physics professor is Dr. Yusri, a funny and interesting teacher who always tries to relate what he teaches with the world around us. He lectures well and usually give examples of questions and teach us how to crack the problem and is more than willing to correct our answers instantly when we make a mistake on the whiteboard. Dr. S (his nickname) is my Chemistry and Chemistry Lab professor who teaches us...Chemistry, of course! His notes are very neat and complete. He likes to share tips on how to study chemistry...practice,practice and more practice! My Maths lecturer, Dr. Ahmad Kamal is a gentleman. He teaches using a projector and explains clearly. His homework is a lot but gives us time to complete day to one weekend. My physics lab professor is Mr Liaw Hock Sang, who is quite young. He is ever willing to help us in our experiments as long as we do not change our answer results!
I have not attended Puan Fatimah's class yet but I can see that she is a passionate teacher and friendly. Her English proficiency is awesome, if I must put it the American way...haha... She is caring teacher. Finally, Ms must be reading this right? Haha... Ms Eliza is my IELTS teacher and her English proficiency is totaly way past my level...haha...I have a lot to learn from her and Puan Fatimah. I will end here. So, bye bye!

My First Experience Studying At UNITEN

Hello, everyone! (especially to Ms Eliza who will definitely read my post every week until the end of my programme at UNITEN, any mistakes so far Ms Eliza?) Ms Eliza is my IELTS teacher so she will be checking my English and grammar.(ha...ha...) She is really very friendly. Before I write about my topic today, I guess I should try to introduce myself.

My name is Joseph Lau Chih Hin. I am 18 years old and I am currently taking the Preparatory Program for Overseas Universities(PPOU) at Tenaga National University(UNITEN in short) under the scholarship from the Ministry of Education(MOE). Am I using to many brackets Ms Eliza? So, I am going to be a teacher! Hurray! Under the scholarship, I am to be a physics teacher and after one year and a half at UNITEN I will be flying, hopefully, unless I fail my exams and IELTS to Australia or New Zealand! I am aiming for the Melbourne University because my girlfriends(plural) are there...ha...ha... No, just friends actually. Therefore, I pledge to work hard and pass my PPOU with flying colours with the help from my lecturers, parents and my friends around me.
I will write more about that later and concentrate on my topic before Ms Eliza scold me for going out of topic. :) I arrived at UNITEN on Monday, the 16th of July, 2007. (Remember to write in past tense!) The registration was quite packed like in a sardine can and there were many students reporting for the UNITEN's second intake. I was the the second batch under the PPOU programme. Everything when fine until suddenly my father called and told that the taxi carrying my stuff had vanished! I cannot describe what my mother and I felt when we heard that! We franctically called the taxi for the next few minutes but there was no answer! The next half an hour was the most agonising moment of my life! I had brought so many things from Bintulu, Sarawak and the next second it was gone. My father resorted to call the police. Luckily, Mr. Charles and Puan Fatimah was there to console my mother and I. Mr. Charles called the taxi driver and he answered! He agreed to bring our things back. Praise the Lord! Only afterwards we realised that he parked his taxi somewhere else without informing us and my dad could not find him. Luckily again, my father had not called the police and everything was better after that. What a shocking experience to arrive at UNITEN!
The next day, the lectures started already because we were late two weeks behind the first batch. It was difficult for me to adjust to my new surroundings. The lecturers were good but I could not exactly pay attention in class because I had many other things to ponder like what is a student ID and how to do my student ID, how to catch the bus, where on earth is the foodcourt and what to eat, how to fax and send letters to Bintulu, where to do register for my cocuriculum activity(is there a debate club, Ms Eliza?), how to do my medical checkup etc. Life was hard but God was kind to me and I manage to cope with the different environment around me. Praise the Lord! I miss the bus 5 times already this week...ha...ha... I hope that next week will be much better. (Catching the bus and not breaking the record!)
UNITEN is very big and the buildings are big as well. What I like to compliment about UNITEN is that the hostels are very good and the university is very clean! I like my room very much. I just hope that UNITEN tries to improve its bus service so that students like me and my housemates, who do not own a car or motorcycle can travel within the campus easily because not every site is a stone throw away. Thank you very much. Speaking(or writing) about housemates, I have two housemates who are Izzat and Uzair. They are easy to get along with and are good friends.
My lectures for my first week was just average as I am still trying to fit in. I flunked my first physics experiment about momentum in Mr Liaw Hock Sangs's class about momentum. According to the Law of Conservation of Momentum, momentum is suppose to be conserved but my experiment broke that law...haha...My difference for the iniatial momentum and the final momentum was over 100%. That means momentum will go haywire after collision! OOPS! My physic test was not so good either. Haha..More like scramble eggs if you know what I mean. Very messy! I got piles of homework to be done and feeling a bit homesick. I called back home more than 3 times everyday! It looks like my phone bills is going to rocket up. I love the sound of rain and thunder because it makes me feel like to hearing home. The sound of rain and thunder here is just like home. :) I would not want it rain so often or then, I will not have any dry clothes to wear.
I love weekends when there are no lectures. Then, I can just relax and do some reading or surfing the net and keeping contact with old friends. That ends my first week at UNITEN. Hopefully next week will be better. Sorry, if my English is not so good because I know I still have to improve on my vocabulary and many other things but that is why I am here blogging and in UNITEN's PPOU. Thank you to all my lecturers and the government for giving me this opportunity. I pledge to do my best and reach for the stars!