October 1st, 2012

Lasting impressions

Just as there are teachers who create an impact on their charges, there are students too who have touched their mentors in so many ways.

TWO YEARS ago when I was assigned to teach Art to a Form One class, I enjoyed some of the most hilarious moments of my career.

On my first day with them, I decided to break the ice by telling them a little about myself. My Plan was to illustrate my life story in the form of a Lat-styled cartoon on the board.

I started off by writing my name, BhulVindarKaur, in block letters on the board.

“Based on my name,” I asked, “who can tell me what race I am?”

A hand shot straight up at the back and flailed wildly for my attention.

He was a Malay boy. When I nodded at him, he stood up and proclaimed loudly, “Bollywood!”

The whole class laughed. After I had explained what Bollywood really meant, I asked them to try again.

This time, an Indian boy stood up and said confidently, “You are a Singh!”

Before I could even answer him, a scrawny, bespectacled Chinese boy who was a Harry Potter look-alike with his unruly, jet-black hair ridiculed him soundly by telling him, “She’s a teacher not a sing-er lah!”

To avoid further altercations, I told them about the Punjabi race.

I explained the gender differences in the usage of the suffix of Singh and Kaur.

I also drew the international symbol for men and women and we joked about what would happen if Harry Potter (this nick-name for him stuck in my mind!) mistakenly entered a toilet with a female symbol on it.

Of screams and giggles

“The girls would scream! Aaagghhh!” He happily parodied the scream for all to hear.

After getting some withering looks from the girls, he collapsed in giggles and sat down meekly.

As the days passed, the students and I became accustomed to each other. Harry Potter, in particular, grew particularly fond of me.

He would trail me in the classroom and on many an occasion, I would find him, right next to me, springing up like a Jack-in-the-box.

One habit he had was to hold on to my Punjabi suit, a trait I found quaint.

Some weeks after teaching him, I happened to meet his father.

After a few minutes of desultory conversation, the father gave me a BQL — a burning question look.

Prodded, he finally asked me, ‘Did you tell my son …?’

It turned out that my student Harry Potter had gone home and told his father that “if you touch a Punjabi woman, you must do so very gently.”

He also told his father that I was “hot”, “extremely funny” and told the class “a lot of sex jokes”. I laughed!

The explanation of course was very simple. Some of the students I taught liked to sprawl on the floor while doing their artwork. To avoid impropriety, I resorted to wearing Punjabi suits which came with flared pants.

Like I said, Harry Potter had the habit of not only holding on to my dress, but also tugging it to get my attention.

One day, I told him, “Be gentle when you tug my dress!”

“Why?” he asked.

I answered: “The material may tear, don’t break my heart okay,” I joked, “these suits aren’t cheap.”

Hot jokes

He laughed and told me gallantly that “my father can buy you a hundred more!”

As for being “hot”, it is true that I was suffering at the time from premenopausal heat flashes and I would often move towards the centre of the classroom so that I could get the full effect of the ceiling fan above me.

Harry Potter didn’t like this habit of mine.

He even told me, “Why do you always go there? I can’t see your face when you teach from there (the centre of the classroom)!”

I remembered telling him, “I’m feeling hot.”

“Hot! Hot! Hot!” he would scold me gently. “Always hot!”

The “sex joke” comment of course originated from the time I had told them about the male and female symbols.

The fact is I really liked these students. Knowing that they would soon lose their childish delight in things, I allowed them the harmless raucous fun they derived from my humorous comments about their art and life.

My students didn’t realise this, but at the time, I was going through a very difficult personal period — both my mother-in–law and my mother were deteriorating rapidly and would, in fact, pass away within months of each other.

My health too had taken a dive and I often suffered from chronic fatigue and emotional lassitude.

But, on the days I made it to school, I came to cherish the Art periods I had with my ‘kids’.

Teaching, I discovered, can be a healing experience. In giving to others, one can forget one’s own pain.

Speaking for myself, I found succor and comfort in the way these young students grew attached to me.

Due to my experience, I could teach them in a subtle, relaxed way, yet make sure they understood and translated concepts of tone, colour and mood into their art pieces.

I have always believed in the power of positive reinforcement. But, they were often surprised when I honestly picked out the strengths in their pieces.

Young artists

One boy, for instance, told me his artwork was “ugly” and wouldn’t show it to me at first.

When he finally did, I ignored the poor drawing but focused instead on how beautifully he had used an orange tint to signify a sun-rise.

Students like him improved tremendously under my tutelage and encouraging remarks.

During Picasso Week, these students really bowled me over with their creativity.

The beauty of the human mind and heart can unfold in many ways but none touched me more than these 13-year-olds who embraced me fully as their teacher.

They were very frank and open with me and I laughed often at their antics.

But, Harry Potter cried the day I told him that I had made the decision to retire.

Overcome with emotion, he passed me a note.

There was just one word on it. It was “Why????”

“You are not even old!” he chided me later. “My father says only old teachers retire!”

Under normal circumstances, I would have agreed with him but the year I taught him, I was actually barely holding up.

The decision to opt for early retirement was one of the most difficult choices I had to make in my life but I did it for the sake of my health.

He may not know this but I carry him in my heart everywhere I go.

(I was to discover later that Harry Potter’s mother passed away when he was just aged eight. One of his habits as a child was to hold on to his mother’s dress everywhere she went.)

Teacher Talk By NITHYA SIDHHU Source: The STAR Home Education Sunday September 30, 2012

Power of words will move people to action

SHAPING THE ABSTRACT: Writing articulates ideas and makes them clearer

.LAST week, while talking to someone in education, the subject of motivation cropped up. Motivation is the buzzword these days, we'd all like to motivate.

"What do you want them to do?" I asked.

"Well," he said. "We'll have to motivate them to want to do things."

"Why don't you teach them something?" I asked.

"What do you mean?"

"Maybe if they can express themselves better they will find a way to tell you what they want," I said.

"I'd like them to see things clearly," said the man.

"First clear their minds?" I ventured tentatively. "Teach them to write, perhaps."

"But these are scientists, budding accountants, how would learning to write benefit them?"

"Everyone is empowered by the ability to write," I said, mindful of empowerment, another one that buzzes. "It makes you a better person if you can appreciate the power and beauty of words."

I think I saw doubt writ large in his face.

"By your words are your thoughts expressed. They have ideas in their heads and they express them in words. Words will connect ideas to the world, make them more substantive."

"You are beginning to sound like a book," he said.

"Oh, I must have read that somewhere," I said. "Some people recommend that you should write down the problems that are nagging you. You'll be able to see them clearer."

"Yes, capture a problem in words and you have it within your sight," he said.

"I must write that down..."


"What you've just said. Someday I'd like to quote that."

"But how do we motivate?"

"Teach them to write," I said. "Once a person is pushed enough to want to write what he feels, or express his thoughts in a journal or want to read a book, then that will motivate..."

"I want action, not words," he protested.

"Words," I pointed out, "will lead to action better than motivation in the abstract. In this digital age people are into more words. They blog, they text, they express likes and dislikes in social networks."

"A friend asked this of me recently," I said. "How many schools nowadays teach them what a powerful tool is the word? Words can be unwieldy, they can move. They are powerful and they are weak, they encourage and they upset."

"Yet we do not teach them enough about it. Precis writing is a forgotten subject, a lost art. We do not spend enough time to sit and stare at words," he offered.

"Nowadays they blog and they text and they chat yet our children

are not in touch with words. They read Wikipedia and read miles of text, they shake the Google tree and words fall down on their heads."

"And they cut and paste," he said, looking dejected.

"No," I said, "I wasn't trying to be cynical. They should be learning how to sieve words and how to write themselves. But you've raised a very interesting point: they cut and paste because they have not been taught the value of self-expression, how to think through the maze and how to put ideas in your own words."

"You're going into deep water now," he says, looking at his watch.

"We think when we write and the deed is there for you to look at."

"Yes, and then you'll tell me that writers speak better than those who do not write," he comes back.

"No, I wouldn't go that far because the oral tradition is a wonderful thing. Pawang Ana, the man who spun words in our old Hikayats never wrote, but he painted with words."

"So what basically is your point?" he looked at me.

"My point is that generally writers speak better than non-writers because people who write as a habit and think about what they write tend to choose their words, and they recognise that words have imports."

"Many of our university students now do not know how to express their thoughts, they do not punctuate well and are muddled in thought," he observed.

"Then we should not just teach them bare motivation. Motivation to do what? Go back to basics and teach them to write and in next to no time they will be thinking thoughts."

"Maybe you're right."

"Maybe writers do speak better than those who do not write," I said.

"You're generalising now," he said.

"OK, maybe it's time to teach our children that they can text, chat, insert better comments on the Internet. If they think they will have a better audience for that, then maybe they'll want to learn to write," I said.

"Maybe, maybe not."

"Well, maybe they'll think better too. Remember the teacher who made them write in requests?"

"Yes, I rather like that," he admitted.

"Yes, maybe writers think and speak better because they paint with words."

Wan A Hulaimi is author of the bestseller ’A Map of Trengganu’  Wan A. Hulaimi  | elsewhere@columnist.com Source : New Straits Times Columnist 30 September 2012 

Tradisi berkongsi isteri - Poliandri

DUNIA Tersembunyi hampir ke penghujungnya bulan ini. Menghampiri ke garisan penamat, proses untuk menyiapkan suntingan dan pascaproduksi setiap episod amat mencabar lantaran mencari paparan terbaik untuk penonton TV3.

Ketika memulakan suntingan episod malam ini dua minggu lalu, pengalaman ‘menarik’ dan ‘serik’ menggamit emosi dan fikiran ketika proses penggambaran di Kaza, wilayah Himachal Pradesh.

Kembara kami ke kawasan paling utara di India itu sekitar Julai tahun lalu untuk mengenali salah satu budaya silam yang masih diamalkan sehingga kini iaitu Poliandri.

Tidak seperti poligami, Poliandri membenarkan wanita untuk memiliki lebih daripada seorang suami. Lebih unik, suaminya pula mempunyai pertalian persaudaraan atau adik-beradik.

Sungguhpun ia dilarang pihak berkuasa, namun bukan mudah menghalang tradisi yang sudah bercambah sejak ratusan tahun itu.

Apakah alasan kewujudannya dan kenapa ia masih diamalkan meskipun sedar mengenai larangan? Untuk mengetahui lebih lanjut mengenai Poliandri, jangan lupa menyaksikannya jam 9 malam ini.

Lokasi Kaza yang terletak di banjaran Himalaya dan bersempadan Tibet turut dikenali kawasan gurun tanah tinggi. Lantaran kedudukan geografinya di pergunungan, bukan mudah untuk menjejakinya.

Sepanjang pengalaman enam tahun sebagai wartawan penyiaran, saya mengakui ia pengalaman paling berharga yang banyak mengajar erti sabar dan sentiasa teguh memberi semangat kepada rakan sekerja yang lain.

Kembara kami bermula di New Delhi menuju ke Manali, ‘pintu masuk’ Himachal Pradesh. Perjalanan dijadual selama 16 jam berakhir 20 jam lantaran bas persiaran yang kami naiki mengalami kerosakan.

Tiba di Manali, kami terpaksa bermalam untuk meneruskan perjalanan panjang ke Kaza yang memakan masa 10 jam sejauh lebih 200 kilometer menaiki kenderaan pacuan empat roda.

Kami diduga lagi sewaktu memulakan kembara pada keesokan hari.Kenderaan yang kami naiki rosak di tebing curam Lembah Kullu dalam suasana teramat dingin.

Menanti selama dua jam untuk proses baik pulih, kami meneruskan perjalanan dan terpaksa melalui Rohtang, kawasan cerun curam dan diklasifikasikan sebagai jalan paling berbahaya di dunia. 

Cerun setinggi 7,000 kaki seakan-akan ‘menanti’ mangsa lantaran tiada tebing keselamatan. Bahkan, merentasinya dalam suasana berkabus dan hujan gerimis mendedahkan kami kepada risiko gelongsoran tanah tinggi.

Lebih memburukkan keadaan apabila kami terperang–kap dalam kesesakan lalu lintas di tebing curam selama tiga jam ekoran jalan sempit dengan deretan lori muatan besar.

Disangkakan dugaan sudah berakhir, rupanya apa yang kami khuatiri benar-benar terjadi. Tanah dan batuan runtuh berpunca daripada glasier mencair dan menyekat laluan utama amat menguji emosi kami.

Proses membaik pulih jalan mengambil masa lama, hari semakin kelam dan perjalanan masih di pertengahan menyebabkan kami hampir hilang arah serta semangat makin merudum.

Mujur, saya bekerjasama dengan tenaga mahir yang amat berpengalaman dalam produksi kembara iaitu jurukamera Abdul Rahman Salim dan penyunting Mohamad Azlan Mohamed Nor secara langsung menjadi kekuatan produksi ini bagi meneruskan misi ke lokasi yang dituju.

Akhirnya selepas menempuh perjalanan selama 22 jam, kami tiba juga di Kaza. 

Menyaksikan pemandangan luar biasa yang tersembunyi di kawasan terpencil ini sedikit mengubat lara kami sepanjang menempuh dugaan. Malah, timbul perasaan bangga kerana berjaya mengenali dan mendekati tradisi ‘berkongsi isteri’ yang diamalkan etnik Spiti.

Oleh Mohd Raziff Zulkafli am@hmetro.com.my Sumber: myMetro Rap Isnin, 01 Oktober 2012

Wanita lebih terjamin - Poliandri

SEWAKTU Tashi Sangmo berusia 17 tahun, dia mengahwini jirannya yang berusia 14 tahun di sebuah perkampungan terpencil kawasan pergunungan Himalaya di Nepal.

Sebagai sebahagian daripada pakej perkahwinan itu, dia juga bersetuju untuk mengahwini adik lelaki suaminya itu. 

Di zaman dahulu, anak lelaki hampir semua keluarga di rantau Upper Dolpa sama-sama mengahwini seorang wanita, tetapi amalan poliandri (mempunyai lebih daripada seorang suami pada satu-satu masa) kian pupus apabila rantau terbabit mulai menempuh kehidupan moden. 

“Lebih mudah dengan cara ini kerana semua perkara yang kami miliki berada dalam satu keluarga.

“Ia tak perlu dibahagi-bahagikan kepada isteri yang ramai dan sayalah yang menguruskannya. Dua adik-beradik lelaki membawa balik wang dan sayalah yang menentukan apa yang mahu dilakukan dengan wang itu,” kata Sangmo yang bercakap dalam dialek Tibet dan berkomunikasi menerusi seorang penterjemah.

Apabila Sangmo mengahwini Mingmar Lama 14 tahun lalu, difahami bahawa adik suaminya, Pasang yang ketika itu berusia 11 tahun, akan menyertai perkahwinan itu di kemudian hari. 

Amalan berkurun lamanya ini hanya wujud di beberapa perkampungan terpencil di Himalaya. 

Menerusi perkahwinan terbabit, mereka kini mempunyai tiga anak lelaki berusia lapan, enam dan empat tahun. 

“Saya mahu berkongsi ikatan ini dengan abang saya kerana hidup ini lebih mudah untuk kami berdua,” kata Pasang, 25, yang berbual di rumah keluarganya di kampung Simen, kira-kira 4,000 meter (13,000 kaki) di atas paras laut dan mengambil masa lima hari berjalan kaki dari pekan berhampiran. 

Secara tradisionalnya, sebahagian daripada kelompok peniaga memenuhi laluan di antara Nepal dan Tibet. Masyarakat Upper Dolpa juga masih mengikuti laluan dagangan terbabit yang mana kelompok haiwan yang mereka gunakan mengangkut garam dari Tibet dan beras dari selatan dataran Terai. 

Di kawasan tinggi berkenaan, tanahnya berhadapan dengan kekurangan bekalan dan ladang pula kecil. 

Namun poliandri menghalang amalan setiap generasi daripada membahagikan harta milik mereka dan bekalan makanan pula hanya mencukupi untuk memenuhi keperluan asas penduduk setempat. 

Lazimnya, urusan perkahwinan diatur dengan sebuah keluarga memilih isteri untuk anak lelaki sulung mereka dan memberi peluang kepada adik lelaki untuk mengahwini si isteri itu kelak. 

Dalam kebanyakan kes, isteri membantu untuk memelihara bakal suaminya dengan melakukan hubungan seksual apabila mereka dianggap sudah cukup matang. 

Tidak seperti kebanyakan lelaki dalam keluarga konservatif Nepal, golongan lelaki dalam perkahwinan poliandri mengendalikan kerja rumah iaitu dengan membantu kerja di dapur dan menjaga anak manakala wanita menguruskan wang. 

Pengamal poliandri biasanya tidak menentukan suami yang mana satu sebagai bapa kandung. Anak-anak pula memanggil bapa dan bapa saudara sebagai “ayah”. 

Poliandri turut dianggap memecahkan banyak tabu seksual Barat dan sering mencuri perhatian orang asing, tetapi bagi masyarakat tempatan, ia dilihat sesuatu yang semula jadi dan memberi manfaat. 

Shitar Dorje, 30, mengahwini suaminya yang berumur 37 tahun, Karma, kira-kira sedekad lalu. 

Adik lelaki Karma, Pema menyertai perkahwinan mereka beberapa tahun kemudian selepas menamatkan pengajian dalam bidang falsafah Buddha. 

“Sekiranya kami semua berada dalam rumah pada masa yang sama, abang saya akan tidur dengan isteri saya,” kata Pema, 30. 

“Dalam kes saya, tiada sebarang rasa cemburu. Saya tak rasa kecewa apabila abang saya bersama isteri saya dalam rumah yang saya. Jika saya cemburu, saya akan keluar dan berkahwin dengan orang lain,” kata Pema. 

Kehidupan begitu ringkas, tetapi sukar di Upper Dolpa, kira-kira 500 kilometer (300 batu) daripada kesibukan ibu kota, Kathmandu. 

Sanitasi begitu buruk, penjagaan kesihatan moden hampir tiada dan wanita bekerja sepanjang hari dengan memecahkan batu atau bertani di bawah terik matahari. 

Poliandri berjalan lancar apabila ada pembahagian kerja di kalangan adik-beradik lelaki, seorang menjaga ternakan, seorang membantu isteri di ladang dan seorang lagi menyertai kelompok peniaga. 

Ramai juga melihatnya sebagai satu bentuk jaminan hidup iaitu wanita tidak akan ditinggalkan sendirian sekiranya suami meninggal dunia. 

Menurut pertubuhan amal Belanda, SNV yang mempunyai kaitan kukuh dengan perkembangan lokasi terbabit, jangka hayat untuk lelaki hanya kira-kira 48 tahun dan wanita pula 46 tahun. 

Thajom Gurung, 60, dari kampung terpencil Saldang, kematian suaminya, Choldung akibat kanser kira-kira 30 tahun lalu. 

Tetapi dia sudah pun mengahwini dua abang suaminya dan kini tinggal bersama seorang abang yang masih hidup, Choyocap, 67. 

“Apabila kami semua bersama di rumah, kami bergilir-gilir tidur bersama isteri saya. Tiada siapa yang bimbang mengenai perkara ini,” kata Choyocap. 

Sehinggalah baru-baru ini, cara hidup Upper Dolpa yang mulai pupus di tempat lain itu mula mencambah minat di bidang pelancongan di kawasan yang dulu langsung tidak dipedulikan. 

Di bahagian bumbung rumah batu yang dulu hanya tergantung bendera untuk sembahyang, kini piring satelit kian banyak. Ini sekali gus membolehkan masyarakat Dolpa mengintai kehidupan dunia moden yang mana gambaran hidup yang romantik begitu jauh berbeza daripada kehidupan yang mereka lalui. 

Menurut SNV, meskipun 80 peratus isi rumah mengamalkan poliandri satu generasi lalu, angkanya kini dalam nisbah satu kepada lima. Ia dijangka akan pupus mungkin dalam tempoh dua generasi lagi. 

Namun buat masa ini, amalan itu terus utuh di kalangan generasi yang menyifatkan perkahwinan sebagai sesuatu yang pragmatik dan satu kelangsungan hidup di salah satu bahagian dunia yang paling mencabar persekitarannya itu. 

“Poliandri sebenarnya menghimpunkan keluarga bersama apabila kehidupan begitu sukar. Dengan ramai adik-beradik lelaki, isi rumah bertambah kuat dan anak-anak mempunyai masa depan yang lebih baik,” kata Choyocap Gurung - AFP

Sumber: myMetro Hati Isnin, 01 Oktober 2012

Nirwana Band - Sudah Cukup Sudah

Intro F#m D E A 2x


F#m D E A
inikah caramu membalas cintaku
Bm C#
kau nodai cinta yang ku beri
F#m D E A
inikah caramu membalas sayangku
Bm C#
kau lukai sayangku untukmu..


teganya kau menari diatas tangisanku
Bm C#
kau permainkanku sesuka hatimu..

Chorus (1)
F#m Bm
sudah cukup cukup sudah..
cukup sampai disini saja..
F#m Bm
daripada hati gelisah
cintaku kau balas dengan dusta..

Chorus (2)
F#m Bm
sudah cukup cukup sudah
cukup sampai disini saja..
F#m Bm
daripada batin tersiksa..
lebih baik ku pergi saja..

F#m D E A
t'lah berulangkali kucoba mengalah
Bm C#
ternyata sabarku tak berarti untukmu..

ulang -> Bridge - Chorus (1) & (2)

F#m D E A
F#m D E C#

Ulang -> Bridge - Chorus (2)

A#m C#
sudah cukup cukup sudah..
F#m B
cukup sampai disini saja..
A#m C#
daripada hati gelisah
cintaku kau balas dengan dusta..

A#m C#
sudah cukup cukup sudah
F#m B
cukup sampai disini saja..
A#m C#
daripada batin tersiksa..
lebih baik ku pergi saja..

F#m : 2 4 4 2 2 2
D : x x 0 2 3 2
E : 0 2 2 1 0 0
A : x 0 2 2 2 0
C# : x 4 6 6 6 4
Bm : x 2 4 4 3 2
A# : 4 6 6 4 4 4
C#m : x 4 6 6 5 4
B : x 2 4 4 4 2
Eb : x 6 8 8 8 6