Friday, 28 December 2012

2012 Wrap up ...

In less than three days, 2012 will bow out and bid us farewell. Our beloved Mother Earth, once again was spared from the much touted Apocalypse!

On the very day the Mayans predicted doomsday, my family were frolicking on a mythical island. Thank you God for sparing the mankind and the place called Earth.

The pictures below say it all about our year-end holidays.

Goodbye 2012...

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Thursday, 13 December 2012

People Who Made Lasting Impression on Me ...

Lots of us people like the rich and famous. A large number of us adore the stylish. Many more go for the royalties. But, it isn't the like of me. That group of people fail to leave indelible marks on me. They seem to pass unnoticed. They are never on my mind. None of them ever succeeded to make their way into my dreams.

I never thought of being rich and famous. I had never wished to be stylish. I had never dreamed of being born into royalties. A weird person I might be. Don’t fall off your chair as I would divulge more oddities. I might be the only one in a thousand or a million, and it unmistakably spells out my weirdness.

Whenever I surf the Net, I would head for the sites that serve books and the likes. I would browse for good reads, and more importantly the ones with great deals. The sight of a house or room scattered with books had never failed to fascinate me.

Thus, who made the lasting impression on me? They are no doubt the people who read widely. People with a treasure trove of knowledge enthral me ceaselessly. In a nutshell, knowledgeable people earn a place in my heart. The knowledgeable, in my dictionary is an individual who reads widely and extensively; he or she devours books as though they are Italian-gourmet delicacies!

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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

When Errors in Language Become the Norm ...

Do you have a social media account? Are you constantly updating your profile? Do you have many friends or followers? I hear you say YES to most of the questions. I'm not surprise if more than half of your friends are using English as the medium of communication since the language has become increasingly popular on this side of the world. 

And, you may have noticed these on your friends' status update or their photos caption:
Congrates friend!
Colourful of ...... Festival
When the kids is sleeping...
ABC's 12'th Years Anniversary
Birthday MoMo
Our Branch - Delicious!
MuMu Birthday

In more severe cases, perhaps misspelt or misused words or phrases written or published by someone with credibility for all to see and perpetuate it as a proper norm.. This experience may have caused you brief annoyance, haven't they? To me, the errors have become an overpoweringly ubiquitous tick in the back of my mind.

Were they merely overlooked, or did some terribly misguided individuals produce those mistakes under the impression that they were correct? Does our student population of today have a lower literacy competence than we once assumed?

Social media are not to be blamed for all these mess. I strongly believe that the social media play zero role in the dissemination and preservation of common spelling and punctuation errors. As a matter of fact, the poorly written tweets and status updates are merely for the sake of conserving characters. In reality, it's a matter of people misusing punctuation or misspelling words in their status updates simply because they do not know the proper way. 

By rights, the importance of correctness in language is not to be shrugged off!

Image credit.
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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My Dad, My Hero ...

My dad turned 65 yesterday, December 10, and I would like to dedicate this great poem to my great dad.

He never looks for praises
He's never one to boast

He just goes on quietly working
For those he loves the most

His dreams are seldom spoken
His wants are very few
And most of the time his worries
Will go unspoken too

He's there.... A firm foundation
Through all our storms of life
A sturdy hand to hold to
In times of stress and strife

A true friend we can turn to
When times are good or bad
One of our greatest blessings,
The man that we call Dad.

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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Big B...

Watched an eye-opener programme few days back, The River Cottage! There’s nothing new to most of us, but it hit me hard. It’s about the Big B.’s not the legendary Bollywood heartthrob!

It’s BREAKFAST! Yes, you heard me right.

Breakfast to me (on a weekday) is a sip of warm plain water. Breakfast to my two teens is half a mug of warm choc drink. And, breakfast to my the other half is a mugful of oat drink.

In the programme, which featured largely English-style breakfast, the chef encouraged his viewer to “think outside the cereal box”! It’s not only catchy but inviting and challenging at the same time.

Cereal is no doubt the number one food on the breakfast table. Slothful moms would more often than not resort to the magic box, CEREAL when preparing for their kids’ breakfast. I used to be in this dreadful list. Believe it or not, cereal emerged the most popular food in the Brits kids’ breakfast list!

The industrious chef introduced the young school kids a very nutritious and super easy way to prepare food for breakfast. They were none other than pancakes and drop scones.

The show struck my innermost. It reminded me of my long-overdue motherly duty; of how I've shied away from preparing the most important meal of the day for my love ones. I’ve taken things for granted. I assumed that they would be fine of having breakfast at school and workplace; and they confirmed it. They (especially the kids) couldn't stomach any solid food before nine!

It’s never too late to start over, right? I've gathered a few simple yet nutritious recipes for breakfast. Let’s see...mmmm ....

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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Teacher, I no bring book!

I write this piece after reading the article “Learners need input and interaction” by Dr Tan Kok Eng (The Sunday Star,Nov.18). I strongly agree with Dr Tan that children need proper input in formal schooling. Her article makes me want to share the predicament faced by a friend of mine and he is facing it, still.

In his little town, most of the far-sighted parents enroll their kids in a one prestigious kindy. This kindy is being picked over a few others as its medium of instruction is English. However, sadly to say, the so-called experienced teachers there could hardly speak grammatically sound English, and the kids stuck with them for hours each day. Only God knows how much destruction have been done to the poor kids.

Dr Tan is absolutely right. Input and interaction are vital for young learners in the language learning process. Alas, in my friend’s case, the frequency and quality of comprehensible input are scarce. Thus, when the poor kids move on to formal education in school, almost all of them went to my friend (he’s an English teacher) with heaps of errors in their head. Since the errors were with the kids for a couple of years, they became fossilised.

Attempts to correct those fossilised errors are like trying to move a mountain. It’s tough! My friend did share some of the exchanges and responses that he had with his students.
“Teacher, I no bring book!”
“Do you got a pencil?”
“You no pencil? I borrow you my one.”
“I no take his book. It is my one.”
And, the list is endless.

Again, to reiterate Dr Tan, the kids have never achieve the target language but only reach a deviant form of the target language during the stints at the kindy. As their English teacher in the school, my diligent friend struggled hard to provide them with good models of spoken English. He avoided the use of his students’ mother tongue. He has never and would never resort to his students’ mother tongue to support teaching and learning.

After toiling in that little school for years, he begins to see the fruits of his labour. His students could comprehend him perfectly well. A handful could do it superbly well. They begin to sound more like Justin Bieber instead of Mr Phua, and of course with grammatically correct English!
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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Words that soothe my soul...

I'm easily pleased. No doubt. Just few little words could soothe me immensely.

I was quite upset over my girl's exam result yesterday.

 I was in a turmoil. I thought of it in the waking as well as in the dreaming states. I was mad with the system (education). I was furious with our fate. Why was ours being constantly played down? I kept asking myself the whole of yesterday. What did she do wrong? Why wasn't she be given a chance to prove her best? As a matter of fact, she was one of the best. She has the qualities. She beliefs in her thoughts. She holds strongly to good values.

Instead of letting her scored straight As in her exam, one of the paper was withheld; she obtained a B for that particular paper. To many others, this deems normal. But, to me it's a twist of fate. All these while, she did extremely well in that paper and why was she being adjudged a mediocre in the major exam?

However, early this morning, my wandering soul was appeased. One of my students' mom said these soothing words to me... and the important thing is her sincerity!

Student's mom: Your girl scored 6As! That's very very good! She's excellent! Anyway, what was the B for?
Me: Chinese Paper 2 (Writing).
Student's mom:'s Chinese! Even we Chinese couldn't do well in that paper!

I'm out of the turmoil. As mentioned earlier, my soul is easily soothed....

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Friday, 16 November 2012

My Girl ...

Time flies. It flies real fast. It was like 'yesterday' I enrolled my little girl in the kindy. She was ecstatic to be there. Thank God that she was persistent. She wasn't happy in the first kindy where harsh punishment was inflicted on tiny-tots for a mere baby cry and whine. She was real lucky to have such caring and loving teachers in the new kindy. Thank you very much Madam Lee and Madam Yu!

Six good years have passed. She had gone through tough tasks and challenges. It wasn't easy for a 'dragon' to compete with other fiery dragons. The brainy kids in her class were all the motivation that she needed to excel in her study. 
And to my girl, the only thing that always holds true is the value of life. She leads her way of life with the motto "Not to do evil, to do good, to purity one's mind"!

She was chosen to represent the whole 'dragon tribes' in her school to give a speech at the annual prize giving ceremony. Thank you Madam Ng.! You're the teacher behind her success.

Her 'pride and joy' is the dance that she performed with the girls in her class.

To quote the great Mahatma Gandhi,
"Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny."
And, the values led her to the Most Outstanding Student of the Year Award!

The Most Outstanding Student of the Year 2012, Jerry and Lin.
Yeok Chee teachers, thank you  very much! Your love and care meant a great deal to them.

With her beaming dad.

And...her mom.
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Monday, 12 November 2012

It's been 18 years...still going strong


When I first met you eighteen years ago,
I fell in love so fast, I knew right then,
You were the one and only one for me;
I'd never have to look for love again.

Each anniversary finds us happier;
You are my light, you are my sun.
You show me what real love is all about,
You fill my life with pleasure, joy and fun.

As time goes by, our love grows stronger still.
You're the most amazing man I ever knew.
I prize our anniversaries because
Each year I fall in love again with you.

Happy Anniversary dear hubby...
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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Training vs Lecturing ...Day 1

Hi there. I'm back. There are lots of things to write. There are also loads of things to be shared, but there aren't much opportunities and time to blog about them.

With Tein during the recent school trip to GH.

Last week it was Back to College kind of thing. I was one of the very fortunate ones to be selected to represent teachers in my state at a so-called 'innovations' compact course. In this post, I'd like to share about the tiring journey to the training centre.

The five-day course began a day after a long holiday, the Eid-ul Adha, and it was held in the heart of KL city. Just imagine the exhausting journey that we had gone through. Everyone rushed back to the city for work on the next day and no doubt the traffic jams were massive.

The PLUS Highway which used to boast the smoothest journey for Malaysian travellers couldn't cope with the number of vehicles. Traffic was inching bumper-to-bumper along North-South Expressway. The crawl through the highway from Taiping  stretched all the way to Sg. Buloh.

The trip which normally took about four to five hours stretched to eight hours. Yes! We're on the bus for the whole day. When we finally reached the training centre, it's already past dinner time.

To be continued.
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Sunday, 21 October 2012

His Birthday...

It's the special day again. Yes. Today, October 21 is his birthday. This year's celebration is the Dragon Celebration. Thus, Mr Dragon is having a fiery scorching birthday bash. 

As usual our birthday celebration began after dinner, which was hours ago.The must have thing is the fruity-tutty chocolate birthday cake brightened with some candles. After the numerous clicks of camera, the birthday song filled the air. The birthday boy made a wish, the candles were blown out and the yummy cake sliced and distributed. Plates smudged with creamy white icing washed and put away. 

It's a routine but it doesn't produce a routine result! With each celebration, our bond is strengthened. And, with each wish, our love is growing stronger.

Happy Birthday Darling! You're my heart and soul.
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Friday, 19 October 2012

Life at the Peak...

My last posting dated about three weeks ago. As a matter of factly, there's heaps of things to be written and loads to be shared, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It's like trying to move a mountain. Truthfully, in the past few months, lots of happening took place in my life.

Staying put at the Peak turns out to be the best decision we have ever made. If you could recall, I used to ramble about irritations and annoyances. Check it out here. Sleepless nights and sorcery-like-activities were things of the past. Blocked driveways and litters at the front yard were also problems of the yesteryear. We, could now live life to the fullest. Peace of heart and mind are no longer impossible. They are available all the time...literally.

The only obstacle over here, at the Peak is the not-so-good Internet connection. I could not update my blog as often as I fancy it. Nonetheless, it's a blessing in disguise. Most of wifely-duties and motherly-tasks are accomplished and taken care of well, as it was mentioned here. One of them is none other than the home cooked meal that my love ones get to enjoy every other day. More quality hours with kids are clocked each day, too.

Lots more things to be shared in the next entries. Till then, happy reading!

Image credit: Ong C Y
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Friday, 5 October 2012


In the last three weeks, I’ve deliberately ditched my blogging compulsions. I was literally cured of OBCD....the Obsessive-Compulsive Blogging least I was OBCD free for three good weeks.

Until today, that is.

The month of September is over, and this has been an especially gorgeous October; I don’t want to let it pass without leaving any marks on my blog.

Also? In the last three weeks, I have turned into a total flake and I’ve neglected to comment on friends’ postings.  This makes some of you wondering if I’m still alive and well.

I am indeed still alive and kicking and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying a blogging vacay.

It’s been marvellous.

This year, as usual I helped the state education department to run the curriculum course; and for sure teachers in my district were great lots.

More news on courses conducted and attended would be shared. Keep coming back, friends.
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Friday, 14 September 2012

Exam Fever...winding down

My girl's exams are over. It was wrapped up at about four in the afternoon yesterday. She is relieved, of course. Those who had worked hard all these while would feel the same. To them, half the battle is won. Nonetheless, I believe, there are scores out there who merely 'live on charity alone'.

They are neither the poor nor the hungry! They have everything you want in life. 
"But, they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulders, and stopped their ears, that they might not hear."

They are said to live on charity as they depended on 'others' for the correct solution. These poor kids were trained in two very high order skills, i.e. to memorise and to be able to regurgitate. Yes! You heard me right. No doubt, they are spoilt by their parents, and worst still by their teachers. These youngsters exhibit behavioural problems from overindulgence by their affluent parents and unethical teachers. 

These kids have very little consideration for other people. They couldn't handle the delay of gratification. They always demand for having their own way.

My heart goes out to them. I pray that they will be spared from problems in later life. I pray that they will not experience any problems with professionalism and personal relationships. 

I'm thankful to good Lord that none of my young charges were trained or moulded in such a way.

Pictures below are not post-exams celebration. They were snapped on Lyn's 12th birthday a few months ago. 

This giggle of adorable girls has worked extremely hard and they would be rewarded handsomely.

This bunch of boisterous boys has studied equally hard and they would be justly rewarded too.
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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Second Anniversary...

Two years ago today, I published my very first post, It's my dreamz ...! It was posted at 1.30pm and there's not a single comment left on that post. I bet none of you, my dear friends have ever come across the inaugural post of mine.

I'm not sure how many visitors paid Sophyta's Casita a visit on that day as I didn't have a counter until very much later.

You may check out the reasons why I blog here. The focus has expanded a little but that is still a huge reason why I do this.

Thank you for all your readership, interest and comments; I really appreciate it. I find it really exciting and encouraging that Sophyta's Casita has had over 15, 200 reads since its inception. These numbers, though small, are all trending up, which make me very happy and excited about continuing to write and share in the future.  graphic comments-Thanks  

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Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Battle ...Day 1

She was accompanied to the hall. She was showered with blessings.

Her teachers and her mother saw her off at the entrance of the brightly-lit hall.

Both teacher and mother went their separate way.

One and a half hours later, she emerged from the judgement chamber, unscathed!

Her sweet smile dismissed her mother's and teacher's fear.

She entered the hall for the second and third paper consecutively.

She smiled broadly again.

To a mom, one third of the battle was fought...and it was a battle well fought.

Terima kasih, Cikgu Amira!

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Monday, 10 September 2012

Exam Fever...

It seems like yesterday she set foot in this school, but it was long ago.

It seems like yesterday I tied her long lustrous black hair into a  ponytail, but it was long ago.

It seems like yesterday she learned her ABC, but it was long ago.

It seems like yesterday she sat for her first school test, but it was long ago.

And, tomorrow is her BIG day!

She would be sitting for the UPSR.

The four-letter word which turns out to be every parent's nightmare.

Her 6-year education would be adjudged tomorrow.

Good luck my girl. My prayers are always with you.
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Monday, 3 September 2012

School is where my heart is...

I love little children. I love their smiles. I love their chubby face. I love their innocence. I love their sincerity. I love the kids in them. Everything about them is seemed so pure and genuine.

These little students of mine welcome new information with open arms. They soak in new knowledge like a fluffy sponge. They show their unrelenting support for my every programme. They stand by me all the time. 

No doubt, at times, my little posses 'skidded'. They were not on the track of the system. In other words, they could not do well in the current trend of assessments. They were labeled a 'failure' by the system. However, to me and to many others who possess a sound mind, they are doing fine. 

They are in fact, doing perfectly well. They are well-equipped with soft and hard skills. They could communicate confidently and write perfectly well. If they were to be thrown out there...into the real world, they would emerge unscathed.

I pledge to do my very best, in whatever ways I'm capable of to help them. I would scout for new fresh ideas to be presented to my little posses. They deserve the best. Nevertheless, 'spoon-feeding' won't be in the list. These 'little cats' would be taught how to fish, as I always did. Giving them baskets full of fish is never my way of moulding kids. 

In short, my students are the main reason that make me stay put in school. Though there are vast opportunities for me to leave school, I've never thought of them. An offer came recently. I was offered a promising post at a district education office; and it was turned down within half an hour. The reason is ...................................................................................................................................................................
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