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Wednesday, October 25, 2017


2017 marks my fifth year in the teaching world. Indeed, so many things had happened, be it stressful, happy, relaxed, anxious, disappointing or sad. I can no longer count the total number of students I have met, nor even recall the teaching methods that I have came across and applied, alongside the news and happenings of my best pals elsewhere. There aren’t much time to reflect at all of them too.

Therefore, the 2017 batch – the first millennial graduates - is the first batch of students whom I have seen their growth from Form One. I see them grow up from kids to young men and women. It seems as they were in Form One five weeks ago, yet they have changed a lot for the better today. Seeing them growing up is like a parent observing his child evolving from a baby to a small kid, I can see the difference in their mindsets and thoughts. Hence, this is what is what makes them special, to begin with.

I did not know them well in the beginning way back in 2013. I could even recall the moments when their parents grabbed their hands, took them to the foyer of the school with their bags attached on their backs. Of course, in one of the first classes with them, I saw angels, and at the same time, naughty students who were uncooperative. Nevertheless, I did not have the opportunity to teach them, as I was given a Form 2 class and 2 Form 5 classes. 

Beginning Moments

(The moment I first met Lim King Syen in the 2013 BSMM Camp.

"Me: (looking at his nametag 'LIM K.S', which gave me a thought on DAP leader Lim Kit Siang.)

What is your name?

King: I am Lim King Syen. You can call me King.

Me: Don't you know that your initials sound like a leader in Malaysia?)
How I first know them? It began with a South Korean named Kim Young Jun during sports day training in January. Even when he was in Form 1, he had shown passion in everything he did, and he was resilient in his achievements. Even it was raining lightly during sports training, he insisted to train himself better. The 13 year old kid who was determined in learning how to hurl the javelin further would soon be a nice friend to meet with everyday, and slowly I met Lim Dao Kae who was a fast runner for the Red House. Those who were in the same sports house were Leong Zhi Yie, Chaw Xin Ning (fast runner), Ho Jie Er, and some other athletes from another batch.

There were also the polite bunch, whom they referred as “the interior scholarship students” – Andy Raymond, Eva Sarah, Huldah Frances, Corriesna Harry, Chrisonie Jenoil and Avelyn Lo. I always confused myself between Corriesna and Chrisonie as their names start with a capital “C”. 

During a spotcheck in June 2013.  
While lining up in front of 1 Plato, Jordan Liew was the only anxious-looking boy who was waiting with his classmates in a line until the checking was done. 
Me: Yes, Jordan? Why do you looked so gan cheong? If you did nothing wrong, chill la. (That time, I only wanted to create a light atmosphere despite the seriousness around). 
His 1P classmates laughed at him (in a friendly way). He, too, eventually smiled. Now, they have grown up bigger. However, the way they interacted with each other never changed much. Today, they are still in the same group of friends. 

Then came 2014, the year I led them in 2 Plato.

(While doing a compliance check with 2 Plato.)

Low Chin Sheng: Sir, I know I couldn’t complete those notes on time. Can I go to the canteen earlier this recess? There is fried chicken today, it’s so delicious.
Me (with a stern look): Please complete the work first, then you can go and eat.
Low: Please, sir, the chicken is delicious. 

But Chin Sheng is more disciplined than before. Never did I expect that he became an Add Maths star in Form 4. 

My colleague, Ms. Florence heaped a lot of praises for this batch of students when they were in Form 1, complimenting how active they were in class and how responsive they were in learning. That gave me a nod to approve their behavior – until the second class with them. They became different – noisier than I expected, and some even misbehaved in a tremendous way. Lim Dao Kae spread his high-pitch laughter to Jordan, Nocholas, Ian Pang and a number of used-to-be quiet boys and they all laughed the same way like he is to this present day. Not to mention there were new people joining in the batch - Edward Chong, (acted very carefully in his actions in the beginning, but later on showed his loud and naughty colours), Yap Zun Jie, Lee Zhen Yang (studious, but sociable), Chong Sau Khang (has neat handwriting like computer font), Wong Wen Ni, and Kelvin Dee Young (silent, but will crack jokes suddenly). 

2 Plato would be the loudest among the three classes, followed by 2 Socrates and then, 2 Aristotle. All three classes were noisy, and everyday, one of these classes would be bashed for either being loud or lazy. Almost everyday, they would be shot for making too much noises, and the “hangman” method could only last a few months because eventually, they allowed themselves to be punished.

Nevertheless, they continued to grow. I began seeing their teamwork values since then, that even in organizing BSMM work, Cheryl, Leong Zhi Yie, Maegenta, Ho Jie Er, Kim Young Jun, Fung Ying Yan and Ivy Liew began showing their worth.

The best performers there were Jonathan Sim, Chia Sheng, Ian Yong and Eva Sarah. Jonathan then went on and became one of the best English users of his batch.

In this year too, Marvin Simon began his transformation in becoming a bodybuilder.

I should also mentioned the strict days in preparing them for the Inter-District English Choral Speaking competition.

Speaking of sports, I am grateful for the achievement in training these two athletes in the javelin event – Nui Pek Tee and Nicole Sai. 2014 and 2015 were their glorious years – the moment when they were discovered. Since then, they became the mainstay in representing the Red House in javelin throwing. It’s going to be hard to find replacements for these two legends.

I no longer taught them in 2015, but somehow, I felt that greater things would take place among them. What I only knew was Andy Raymond and Huldah Frances left after their PT3 results. To add more salt to the wound, Eva Sarah decided to move on elsewhere after I trained her as emcee for Vision Night. 

2016 4 Adam Smith era.

When they were in Form 4, little did I expect I would be the class teacher of the former 2 Plato whom I usually reprimanded in class. The same behaviours were seen as they took their impurities from the past. Still, I felt thankful to the most helpful bunch of friends there, namely Leong Zhi Yie, Leong Weng Tung, Maegenta, Lim King Syen and Jonathan Sim.

There were also a surge of new students from Lahad Datu and elsewhere coming into the mixture - something that the school did not expect. We welcomed 2 Eunices (Eunice Lo – cheerful girl from Labuan, Eunice Tai – friendly girl from LD), Shan Yi (quiet yet jovial girl from LD), Vicky Yap (beautiful yet quiet girl from LD), Joyce Seng (aspiring writer from Tawau), Rinachelle (ambitious athlete beauty queen from LD), Siau Ying (quiet but progressive girl from LD), Siau Ning (sociable and outgoing girl from LD, sister to Siau Ying), Koh Yuen Shen (talented and confident emcee from LD), Chung Siau Fui (javelin coach –she did taught my junior athlete in throwing the javelin further), Hong Ze Yee (a hardworking Tawauian), and Ken Lim (handsome nice guy from LD), Hong Wei Liang (shy Tawauian but eventually, he became more confident) and Goh Tong Shen (the quiet boy from Tawau who can shock you with his Mathematics results in 4AS). I hope I did not miss out anyone else here.

I remembered it well, this class was the biggest class with 29 students for the first three months, and it was a little difficult in ensuring them to learn seriously – I referred to them as “KLIA2” in office because that AirAsia airport has to manage more than 100 aircraft everyday. However, after 7 people left for Tolkien, the entire 4AS became silent – they were no longer the 2 Plato that I used to know. Nevertheless, from that time onwards, I realized I would be training one of the most successful classes ever, alongside 5N (2015) that achieve 100% A in SPM English. There were at least 4 failures in the early test, but then, I achieved my action plans by making all of them to score more than 50 marks each, with Jonathan, Eunice Lo and Wong Guan Jie competing for the top spot. It was them who confirmed that my subliminal-mind training methods works on my students. Slowly, Joey Soon, Marvin Simon and Maegenta came in and challenged for the top three spots.

Competition is one thing - when they challenged each other, they took them lightly and after the contest of marks, they remain friends.

Apart from that, I continued to know them more when I was travelling with them to Tuaran in July 2016. Being part of the Habitat for Humanity team had opened some insights about them. One of the aspects that opened my eyes towards them was the fast pace that they achieved in their collaborative efforts in building the houses, regardless the sites they were in – to the point that people like Chia Sheng, Cheryl Chin, Nui Pek Tee, Peggy Fung, Kong Pui Kei and Jordan Liew could even complete the walls of the outer kitchen within one day. Nocholas, Kelvin Dee Young and Ferdinand Chin alone were able to complete a 7 feet hole for the toilet construction process within those 5 days. All of these happened in Kg. Kawakaan, Inanam. Terrysia and I witnessed their pace in awe. Besides, that was the moment when quiet people like Hong Wei Liang and Goh Tong Shen became more lively.

(Thinking back on how they sang Rihanna’s “This is What You Came For” like EURO 2016 football fans and how Edward and Marvin sang Drake’s “One Dance” in Tuaran).

I also reminisced how Marvin became Luke Skywalker on the way back to Tawau after the Habitat event.

During the Intelligence Camp nights, I worked with my Photography Club chairpersons, Kim Young Jun, Lim King Syen and Tracey Chan as the media crew of the camp. On the second day, due to the wrong selection of sleeping place where I slept directly under the air-cond, I caught a flu. Nevertheless, they helped me to cover whatever events the camp had planned for the children.

Tracey: Hahahahahahaha! Serve you right! Who asked you to sleep under the air-cond? And now, you got into this mess. 

She punished me well with her words. I didn’t retaliate against her because I knew I made a mistake.

Tolerance is also something that I had with them. We planned to have some drone shots and first-person GoPro shots in our video. When we realised that the action camera we used had tricked us when we thought it was recording footages from a participant’s point of view, we laughed in disappointment and just moved on in covering the camp.

Their learning attitude continued up to Form 5, and they continued to push themselves as the SPM storm gathers to test their skills. They remained as one of the most progressive classes that I have ever entered.

Best memories during lesson – During a revision, when the entire class were answering past year SPM questions, Edward, Bryan and Kelvin took the standing fan and blew some wind on their sleeping classmates. Every “victim” who was targeted by them woke up to their classmates’ laughter.

That was in 5AS. In 5N, I will remember how humble-looking girls like Peggy Fung, Kong Pui Kei, Ho Jie Er, Kong Pui Kei and Fung Ying Yan would go aggressively against tougher-looking boys like Low Chin Sheng and the Wushu-practitioner, Chia Sheng.

[Copying sample essays and highlighting features of a good writing – though it’s old school, but it helps one to write better by empowering his subliminal mind.]


In the staff room, Lim King Syen and I had a conversation after he helped me to pass up some homework.
Me: Honestly, tell me, even though you can be disappointed with your classmates, when you have a reunion with them 10 years later, will you still attend the event and meet your friends?  
King: Yes, I will still attend. They are my classmates anyway.  
After a lengthy reflection on them throughout these five years, I humbly leave this message to everyone of you.

4 Adam Smith 2016/ 5AS 2017 – It has been a great two years teaching you, with some under me in 2014 in 2 Plato. Thank you for everything that made my day and the great performance you have shown to me, especially in 2016. I am really very grateful for your hard work.

5 Newton, I know one year with you isn’t enough to leave a spot onto your writing strategies, but somehow, I am thankful for the nice people I have met there (almost all of them). #NgShengZong’s loud laughter.

Avelyn Lo, I will miss that sweet smile that you always show to me, even in random times.

The committee members of BSMM – from Chrisonie to Nui Pek Tee (alphabetically), I truly appreciate your absolute ability in organizing the uniform body activities.

Hey, Andy Raymond, Huldah Frances, Eva Sarah, Corriesna Irna Harry, Ivy Liew, Chen Yu Jing, I miss you.

My top guns of the batch are more than the yesteryears. I have Isaac Fong, Chyi, Ryan Chee, Cheryl Tiong and Elfhieana in my hall of fame. This year, there are Jonathan Sim, Eunice Lo, Lee Zhen Yang, Chrisonie, Joyce Seng and Kim Young Jun joining in the ranks. Kong Ai Wei is worth the mention here, but I never taught her in class.

To add more praises, I am glad to highlight the ones who have improved a lot ever since I first taught them. Chau Siau Ying and Rinachelle, you have soared so far since you first came in Form 4.

When I took over 5N this year, I also realise that Low Chin Sheng and Nui Pek Tee are far stronger English users compared to their performances in 2P 2014.
Wong Guan Jie, you deserve a mention here. You are far better than who you were in Form One. You slowly become a better person in Form 4, to an extent that you were willing to outdo yourself and gave a strong challenge against the No.1 in class, and being No.1, you did.

*Best quote from them is from Ferdinand Chin.

"Boys who are not hamsap will not have a future”.
Celeste Chang, Lu Xing Yee, Hong Wei Liang and Kate Yong – I miss entering your class after I left you in Year 10. I hope you do well in your IGCSE exams. Celeste and Xing Yee, do you still quarrel and laugh with each other like in 2016?

#Shoutout to Lee Joo Chan! Annyeonghaseyo! 

Best people to chat with in this batch: Eunice Lo, Avelyn, Lee Zhen Yang, Kenneth Lim, Ferdinand, Ng Sheng Zong, Sheldon, Marvin Simon, Lee Chee Yao, Jon Sim, Guan Jie, Chong Sau Khang, Bryan Shim, Maegenta, Ian Pang, Low Chin Sheng, Chia Sheng, Goh Tong Shen, Jie Er, Esther Thien, Branda Lim, Kim Young Jun, Kenneth Lim.

Finally, I know this batch had gone through many harsh rebuking by me. Before you leave your high school life, if you think that I had treated you too harshly, I sincerely apologize. Please forget the rudeness from me in times of discipline.

Too many people coming in and out of my life within these five years, hence the saying, "the twenties are when you will see a lot of people coming in and out of your life."

They truly have evolved a lot since I knew this batch in 2013. It reminds me of how much of change can happen within 5 years.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


It was April 2013, I was new. In fact, everything was new. I was blown into the wind of change. 

Two veteran teachers decided to call it a day after many years of hard work serving the young school. I was then told to take over some of their classes. One of them was a Form 2 class - the better one (in academics). I was given mixed feedbacks about this class (in which I already forgot), but they, to me, are the same until the present day. 

As I stepped into that class, I met a group of 5 close friends who would stick to each other close and tight (Yes, they were Alison, Chiaw Ying, Dennice, Joanne and Erica). I encountered this girl who would smile at me randomly (Crystal), and another girl who reminded me of an ex-classmate of mine who was my guardian angel (Wen Yee - they almost looked the same in fact, just 10 years apart in age). I even met a 15 year old boy who had fond knowledge of politics (Joel Chua), a Korean girl who speaks like a Malaysian (Esther Lee), and slowly, in the second semester, an Indian genius whose essays are almost in perfection (Agil Timothy). Altogether, they are like cartoons to me - this is a praise. 

I did have some bittersweet moments with them in 2013. It was the year when I was trying to figure out my type of personality in teaching. There were disappointments, heartbreaks and anger, but at the same time, they never failed to make my day. I remembered there was a day when they asked me to be friends in Instagram and Facebook. There was even a day when they planned an interesting  icebreaker before my textbook time began. During the second semester post-exam period, I remembered seeing them hitting each other with their exam papers while playing Musical Chairs in a class discussion. Their laughter were so hilarious that I couldn't help laughing when I got back to my office. 

I even enjoyed their Vision Night drama the most (In A Selfish World, The Selfish Rules). They were so adorable that they were like cartoon characters performing on the stage. 

In fact, this class is unique on its own (until today, which is why the PRESENT tense is used). Never did I know, 3 years after teaching them in Form 2, I would see them again in 5 Newton and 5 Adam Smith. We do have new faces such as Gabriel Bong and Yit Chung (do not forget about John Mark too) who have added up the uniqueness of this batch. 

Having them as your pals is a blessing. 

I won't mind if any of you do not manage to repeat what your seniors in 5 Newton did in SPM 2015, for that was a once-in-a-blue-moon achievement, but what I mind more is when you don't realise that your SPM examination is near and you are still pretending that the exam is 6 months away. 

Thank you, Ho Ming Xuan for the partnership we have in Photography Club. 

Ryan, Myra, Alison [5 Newton]
Crystal, Chiaw Ying, Nicholas Liew [5 Adam Smith] 

To Siaw Yen and Kuo Young, 
you, to me, are like Yap Bao Lin and Chung Yee Chen who both showed the best improvements in English. Enjoy your new level in English and keep it up! Same goes to Alison as well. 

Thank you, Crystal for that Graduation Night message. 

Last, but not least, 
I would like to apologize if I have accidentally left any harsh scars or wounds to you in a form of words. I am not perfect, as I am just like any other ordinary men. Once again, if you were once hurt by me, I extend my apologies as I might be quite rude in disciplining people. 

Believe it or not, I do scold myself when I screw myself up. 

I wish you all the best in your upcoming IGCSE or SPM examinations. Hopefully, we will see each other at a kopitiam and we can sit together as friends sipping coffee and tea. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Pride of Eating Alone

Hiatus by hiatus in the blogging world is somehow, choking. It reminds you of how much connected you are to your work and your own self - your really true self, especially when you come to the stage where you have to work the stamina out of yourself to survive - to earn a living.

Such is your workaholic days, indeed. And gosh, what am I going to do with the pictures of food that I took using my phone these days?

Forget about work- right now let's talk about life. Life outside work is somehow beautiful. It is liberating and refreshing. Despite being occupied by many books around me, there are some tiny whiny escapades that you can have - even if you do not have a chance to take a real vacation.

One of these tiny escapades is food. Of course, everybody likes to eat with his group of companions. I, myself, too enjoy the company of others who share the same table with me during my meals. We can have random topics under the sun and we can even discuss about them until the cows return home. Those are great moments well spent.

However, eating alone is always better. It is equivalent to those moments when you walk alone with nature accompanying you - just like when you wish to embrace the breeze at the beach, watching the sunset and listening to the waves. It reminds you of yourself and who you really are after a long day of work.

Eating alone is always refreshing, especially during the moments when your taste buds are entertained by the work of culinary arts.

More importantly, the looks of them - the seamless temptation in front of your own eyes invites you for a quiet meal, with yourself.

You need not to be occupied by anyone except for the rare moment when the waiter tells you that your favourite dish is unavailable. As you are eating, a terminal of thoughts opens as you begin to leave the present to reminisce the past and predict the future. A sea of opinions flow around you, as you chill yourself to the meal.

I know these are pictures of burgers and special breads that I have taken since January 2016. I do not always eat burger everyday, okay? This one is from a dinner with three persons when I was eating at Pavilion, Bukit Bintang. 

A plate of rice, with its presentable meat and vegetables - a combination that can symbolise life itself, as it is full of surprises and mysteries. Somehow, you wish that everything is presentable and predictable in life because you want to be safe and secured. It is natural for everyone, as all of us hope that tomorrow will be another day you will survive.

And that is the great thing about eating alone - one of the many ways of meditating yourself out from stress. It is a time where I do not wish to be disturbed by anything that is negative.

Yeah, call me an introvert, but everyone of us does the same - You do entertain your own thoughts in planning what you want to do the next morning when you are awake to sunlight, don't you.?

All pictures were taken using the Vivo X5.