Thursday, March 30, 2006

Phantom readers

I wonder if there are any phantom readers on my site? Why do you stay a ghost? Reveal yourself!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Closing my eyes

At my age- 68.. I should be enjoying the world on a whirlwind tour with my darling wife (though I would never dare to call her "darling" to her face - I am not going to be like the younger generation who carelessly toss around terms of endearments) who has been such a great supporter of my life, work and .... just being my great supporter. But sigh! I am stuck in a hospital in Melaka .. why? Pneumonia. Can you actually believe that you can contract pneumonia in an Equatorial country like Malaysia?

Enough said... one of my lungs collapsed last night. I find it hard to breathe and what is worse..hard to have coherent thoughts. My life flashes past me. I had the most beautiful glimpses of seeing my bride's radiant face beaming at me, our first child.. and the others that soon followed.. what a wonder to be able to hold them and have my heart almost bursting with joy of being a father. I hope that I had stood by all of them through their lives and shown a good example. *Pause*....I see my younger days when I was running bare foot in my kampung.. ah those were the days.

*Sharp pain* I am jolted from my memories to see my family crowding round me. Their heads were bent in silent prayers. I know that they are praying for my recovery. But I know better.... I know that it's time to go. I am just hanging on to see my youngest daughter who has yet to arrive from Hong Kong. I told Jesus that if He would allow me to see her, I would be ready to go home to Him. I wondered all the years that I never believed in God.... what wasted years.. I could have done so much more. But I have a feeling that actually my life's work is done. I raised a beautiful family, did my share in this world and at last am going home to the one who has rescued my soul from eternal separation with God. Though I am sad that I have to leave them but since knowing God, I am relieved to know that they are in His hands.. what a comfort, I cannot ask for more security than this.

Ah, Friday - my dearest child is finally by my side.. I see her hopeful face and felt strength returning to this tired body. I am happy.. finally able to see all of my precious children. Just for a few days, I am fed by the happy hormones that my body is producing. I know she will leave on Monday.. I will have enough to last until then. My thoughts are really fuzzy now. All the sedatives are keeping me really sleepy.

On Sunday evening, I awoke from my fuzzy slumber. Someone else was in the room. I see a white figure approaching my bed. He was smiling at me. A flash of recognition. This is the one whom I have surrendered my life to. I acknowledged him by raising my hand to welcome him. He raised his eyebrows in question. My heart responded, "Yes Lord.. it's time for me to follow you".

I felt a lightening sensation in my spirit as the hours passed. I floated above my physical body and my eyes roamed to see all my family, yet there was no more feeling of regret or loss. I closed my eyes.. feeling a surge upwards.. I am going home.

Written in memory of WS's father whose spirit left his physical body to be in eternal life on 27 March 2006

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Dear Dr Thornborrow

I think Malaysians do not quite like confrontations. That may in some way explain why people are not so keen on the Student Staff Consultative Committee. Perhaps also because they are so used to the lack of outcome after they complain (at the country level) and so they remain mute. However, this is really quite detrimental to the ‘image’ of the country or the organisation for that matter as we understand that if a customer is not an apostle for the organisation but instead become a ‘terrorist’ then it takes a lot of effort to quell this bad mouthing that is happening out there. Yes, I suppose we do need to be coaxed to attend these meetings and also reassured that our complaints will be heard and action taken. There is another thing- the whistle blowing policy. We should be also assured that when we do complain, we will not be “penalized” in any way.

I would like to highlight a few things that could be improved to help us students

1) Management of Change :
I believe that the way the assessment for the 60% heavy group assignment is not very fair. This is because the first group only has effectively 3 nights to prepare (Sun, Mon and Tuesday).. and out of this, perhaps they already have prior engagements on the weekend that cannot be avoided and worst, they have classes in the evening on Monday and Tuesday (Business Commercial Law) – so in reality the group only has perhaps only one night of work. [Please note that we are talking about part time students here who have to go to work in the day. You would also note that for the case of Timothy who has to fly to KK in the middle of the preparation time and presentation time, it would not be fair to that person if the group marks him down for participation when it really is out of his hands to control his ‘fate’ when it comes to obeying his boss (being an employee and all)]. In such a short time, there is no way the group is able to come up with superior work. If the group is graded on ‘equal’ scale compared to the other groups (2-5) which have different length of time to complete the assignment, it won’t be such a surprise that there will not be many students doing this course in the next semesters. The reason given that “this happens in the corporate world too” really does not reassure us of the kind of managers that we hope to become nor what Nottingham is molding us to be in the future.

It would seem that the ones who have plenty of weeks to finish the assignment would take their own sweet time and only rush at the end..but what if they are the Type A personalities who are really hardworking, have a chronic sense of urgency and etc.. don’t you think that they will be really looking into the subject matter and start reading and researching for all the materials? I am sure that they would have the time to pick and choose from the choicest morsels of information. I am also sure that they will see the lecturer to show what they planned to do, to get advice and have plenty of time to act on the advice. Of course the work will be so much better than the 1st group which only managed to scramble to gather their thoughts and put that little bit down on paper.

Assuming that there are 5 groups, then 10 topics are given. In the first week, the lecturer picks up a number out of the 10. That number is then put on one of the pieces of paper. The rest of the 4 pieces of papers are blank. All the groups draw lots. Therefore only one group gets the number (the rest do not have any numbers). The assignment is due in 10 days from the time that the lots were drawn. Then the next week, another group is chosen for a number (also chosen by the lecturer by drawing lots too). The last group (which is 5) will not be able to guess which number they will pick so they will not have much of a chance to prepare beforehand. I am trying to show a more ‘fair’ method for everyone.

2) Books
It is really amazing that our reference books eg Services Marketing only arrived in the University Bookstore when we are 80% finished with our module. How can this happen? Last semester we faced the same problem and this semester…. It’s really not a very productive use of the students’ time when they have go running around town grabbing the last book in the city book stores. It would be helpful if the books can be in the bookstore before the start of the semester.

3) Reading lists
Believe it or not, some students would like ALL the reading lists way ahead of time so that when they attend the classes, they would have already read the required chapters and so are able to ask ‘good’ questions that are beneficial. I know as I was one of those people who called Ashley 1 month before campus started in September last year so that I could catch up because I know that I would be competing with brilliant students and those with great working experience.

4) Toilet cleaners
I am not sure if I should be writing to you about this but the fact is that the cleaners (male) that sit next to the ladies’ toilet especially during the quiet (no one around) weekend classes are giving the women an uneasy feeling when they go to the toilet alone.

5) SEM and SETS (Lecturer accessments)
It would be better if this was carried out by someone else rather than the lecturer involved and the papers collected by that other someone too. It makes the lecturers and students rather uncomfortable when the above procedure is not carried out properly.

6) Weekend blocks
Having a 18 hour study weekend on top of many people’s schedule of 40-60 hour work week may be not be conducive or learning. This effectively gives no one any rest before the cycle begins again the next week. It would be best if the Sundays are left alone so that students can rest or catchup with study or even have time to meet up with group mates for the group assignments.

Well thanks for your listening ear and your openness to our feedback on the MBA and other things. Also, thanks for taking over the Directorship and I know that you will do a good job. In fact, I would like to thank you for listening to all our moanings and groanings earlier (we definitely feel at ease with you) and allowing us the chance to have an honest dialogue with you.

Your obedient and faithful student

Friday, March 24, 2006

Lenny's girl

Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

Now would you believe that she was born the same day as my sobrino? Seeing that she looks like her mummy Susan.. very nice.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mi Sobrino Elyon

Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

My nephew was born on the 21st March 2006. He looks healthy and well- kinda like a loaf of delicious bread. He was 3.35 kg and looked so wrinkled. Christened Elyon Gabriel (meaning Messenger of the Most High).. what an honour to be the messenger of the most high God. I think that we may call him El (it means “he” in Spanish). And we can call his sister Ella (means "She" in Spanish)Short for Elysia

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Kids say the darnedest things

Last night I was sitting with my niece (henceforth titled Sobrina) who is almost 4 years old. We were colouring using my new highlighter pens and doing her school homework together. When we finished, I turned to my own Services Marketing in Asia book and started using the highlighter to highlight some important sentences that I wanted to remember. Sobrina looked at me quizzically and asked “Why you colouring?”

“Tia is studying,” I smiled at her. (Tia is Spanish for Aunt)
“Tia go to school?” Sobrina queried
“Yes, Tia goes to school” I replied
Sobrina came closer to me, with a look of concern and asked earnestly “What happened?”

My family and friends who were gathered round the dinner table burst into laughter. Really, Sobrina must think that her aunt is such a nut to be studying when only little girls went to school while people like her mum and dad went to work.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Kissing Game

Today, I had a chat with an old friend. We ended up talking about how many people we had kissed on the lips (not the chaste kissing your lovely niece type). I was almost ashamed to say that I could count them on one hand and knowing that I only dated 3 men and married the last one.. it does not take much to figure out that I am definitely a katak di bawah tempurung in this aspect. My friend was equally bashful when he counted his too. At least he could count on both his hands. We were wondering why we had never kissed each other... big laugh!* Grin* That would have definitely been a disaster!

One wonders if I had had too sheltered a life.... But I just never met many people I wanna sink my lips onto. Ok ok.. so there were a few hunks that caught my eye.. but they were not catching mine... so those could not have possibly been my victims. Not to mention I was not exactly a delicious morsel to begin with. But I have to say that I have kissed so many animals (esp dogs) that it cannot be counted.. ;) *Smooch!* Come to mama you cute little and big doggies!

I wonder what is the average number of people you have snogged before getting married or even just a plain.. how many people have you snogged? Anyone wanna give me a snogfest count of your life? Humour me.. I am curious. If you are shy.. just be anonymous or create a fictitious name.

Because of You

Read Kelly Clarkson's Because of You lyrics for the first time today. It strangely reminded me of my mother... many bits of it.. altho not with the bitterness that Ms Clarkson screams...

I will not make the same mistakes that you did
I will not let myself
Cause my heart so much misery
I will not break the way you did,
You fell so hard
I've learned the hard way
To never let it get that far

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid

I lose my way
And it's not too long before you point it out
I cannot cry
Because I know that's weakness in your eyes
I'm forced to fake
A smile, a laugh everyday of my life
My heart can't possibly break
When it wasn't even whole to start with

I watched you die
I heard you cry every night in your sleep
I was so young
You should have known better than to lean on me
You never thought of anyone else
You just saw your pain
And now I cry in the middle of the night
For the same damn thing

Yeah.. so I watched her die.. in my arms... I guess that would qualify me to be able to see the winged horses called Thestrals. I wonder if people who witnessed death are able to see things other cannot.... maybe not in that physical way but perhaps we do.. as though a veil has been lifted from our eyes.

Yes Ma.. I will not make the same mistakes you did. I will not let my heart (like your unforgiving heart) cause me so much misery. I must not break the way you did. Yet.. I will not allow your mistakes to stop me from embracing joyful things nor welcoming needed pain.. it is in the depths of sorrow that we can experience wondrous joy...

I knew you had to go Ma... you've been waiting for a long time. I knew you finally found joy!