Dec 30, 2006

Mathematics Year 5 workbook - can you detect the errors?

In my previous post Buying Workbooks For Your Kids, I've mentioned about a publisher who published poor quality Mathematics workbook.

I was at a bookshop in Petaling Jaya few weeks ago. As I was browsing through some new workbooks, I came across a new series of books published under an unfamiliar name.

Since we are in our 5th year of using Maths and Science in English, I chose their Mathematics Year 5 workbook under the series Infomik UPSR (is there such word as Infomik?). I was completely shocked! I knew the new Year 5 syllabus well because I've just completed writing two new Maths workbooks.

Click on these pictures (including the front cover) and see if you can spot the errors. These are just three pages (yes, there are more mistakes and I'm not talking about typo errors alone). I don't mind if these are just some minor typo errors but incorrect sentences with grammatical errors that pupils might not be able to understand is simply unacceptable.

The most surprising thing is, according to the bookshop owner, this publisher's books got into school list. I hope it's not their Maths workbooks.
At the beginning, I was reluctant to comment about this book, well, since I have to fork out about RM9 (very pricey!) to get hold of this book. But for the sake of the pupils, I couldn't tutup sebelah mata (close one eye).

Dec 27, 2006

Fund-raising to build Sakya Institute and kesa sponsorship

Recently, Guru Phurla Rinpoche was here in Malaysia. He has been coming back regularly especially since the setup of his Sakya centre here in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur. In his visit, I've only managed to attend Guru Phurla Rinpoche's teaching of Medicine Buddha and Vajra Kilaya.

If you are trying to look for any English website about Guru Phurla Rinpoche, you won't be able to find one (yes, there's none). I think this is simply because he is a Tibetan/Mandarin-speaker and spreads his dhamma teaching mainly in Taiwan, China, Malaysia and Singapore. I'll try to communicate with Guru Phurla Rinpoche or the committee members at his centres to see if it's possible to have a website for people to access into.

In this visit, Guru Phurla Rinpoche told us that there will be a puja ceremony in August 2007 to raise fund to complete a Sakya Institute (*look at the brochure on the left) for Buddhist Studies located in Ching Hai. Construction couldn't be continued because of insufficient fund. RM230k is needed to complete the building alone.

This Sakya Institute provide a decent environment for lamas (buddhist monks) to study Buddhism. Sponsorships will also enable the institute to provide teaching materials as well as to cover the basic expenses for lamas such as kesa (tibetan robes for monks) and food.
For further enquiry, please contact the following person-in-charge at these Sakya centres:

Taipei, Taiwan:
Taiwan Tibetan Vajrayana Sakya Sherabling Foundation
5F, No.289 Chengde Rd., Sec. 4 Taipei, Taiwan, Ro.O.C.
Tel: 886-2-28822475
Fax: 886-2-28822476
Hp: 0933-879548

Kaohsiung, Taiwan:
7F, No.175 Foren Rd., Kaohsiung, Taiwan, R.O.C.
Tel: 886-7-7245489

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 012-638 5051 (Ms Choon Lan)
Singapore: 9617 8018 (Ms Phang)
*Please note that my translation of the brochure is not complete simply because I'm not Chinese-educated. So, for more information, drop me a message or contact the Sakya centres above.

Dec 22, 2006

emphasize on reading skill and keep teaching Maths and Science in English


In these four years, we have seen so much effort being contributed by teachers to adapt to the current policy of teaching Maths and Science in English. Officers from the Education Ministry travelled the whole country to train and provide support to these Maths and Science teachers to ensure the effectiveness of the policy. Publishers, too, worked diligently with the Ministry who spends millions of ringgit to publish new textbooks to compliment with the new syllabus.


All parties including decision makers and parents each played their roles to realize the policy because we all believe students must have strong command in English language to acquire knowledge.

Hence, the idea of reversing the policy to tackle current concern of disparities in achievement between urban and rural schools is not a positive suggestion. Instead, we should evaluate the programme development and find effective ways to raise the level of English language proficiency among students and teachers.

By expanding the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) or importing teachers from overseas are good strategies to enhance learning. However, improving students reading skill in English is far more practical in achieving our main objective.
Many students particularly in the rural area are struggling to learn Maths and Science without having mastered reading, the most basic and essential skill. Hence, they will encounter great difficulty in understanding mathematical and scientific concepts conducted in English language, which are using real life problems.

For example, in teaching Maths, a teacher or the textbook presents many problems that must be read, instead of just equations. The same use of language is present in the Science subject when students are reading from the textbook, making hypotheses or draw conclusions. Hence, reading deficit will eventually lead to lose of interest in learning and inability to express their answers verbally and in written form.


Reading skill is highly emphasized even in the most developed countries. Hence, our Education Ministry should conduct research to assess students reading skill to determine if this is the main reason students not able to cope with Maths and Science in English.

If the result of this research is positive, the Ministry must provide professional development in reading instruction for teachers, implement reading curricula and adopt diagnostic reading assessments for students particularly in the primary level to determine where they need assistance. The Education Ministry must also re-evaluate and reinforce the current 3M (Membaca, Menulis, Mengira) programmes to improve students' literacy levels with priority to the rural area.

To improve students' proficiency in English language requires huge effort and time. As they said, Rome is not built in one day. If we are determine to take remedial action against the lack of the language proficiency among students, we must start focusing on emphasizing the development of reading skills in parallel with the policy of teaching Maths and Science in English.

Dec 16, 2006

buying workbooks for your kids

Schools will reopen in two weeks. Parents will be busy buying textbooks and workbooks for their kids. And this means it's going to burn holes in their pockets. Hence, buying the right books (meaning good quality of books) are important. You don't want to spend your money buying books with lotsa typo errors, incorporating the outdated syllabus and have poor quality of questions.

As a professional (not that I'm good but this is one of my main source of income) educational writer and a private tutor for many years, I'm going to share with you parents on buying workbooks from certain publishers for cetain subjects.

1. Most importantly, get the past years questions (soalan-soalan tahun lepas) from Cerdik Publications. The publisher has the rights to publish the real past years exam papers from UPSR to SPM. Go to your nearest bookshops and they will assist you.

2. Bahasa Melayu - Sasbadi books (both KOMSAS, Tatabahasa and Pemahaman) are the most realiable. You can also use Oxford Fajar Bakti.

3. English - Pearson Longman used to be very good but in recent years Penerbit Mega Setia Emas is doing a good job. If you intend to buy English Literature books for your kids, you can look out for Setia Emas' Baby Steps series.

4. Science - Oxford Fajar Bakti is good. Their reference books is highly recommended compare to Sasbadi. Note: becarefully if you are buying Year 5 or Form 5 Science books. Some publisher did not follow the latest syllabus because it was the consequence of a rushed production. Choose your books carefuly.

5. Mathematics - Pelangi is the expert in this subject. So get their Math books. Note: becareful if you are buying Year 5 or Form 5 Math books. Some publishers did not follow the latest syllabus. For example a workbook published by Oxford Fajar Bakti made mistake in their last couple of chapters. Then there's another publisher called B* Publisher. The writer from this publisher couldn't even form proper sentences and the editor did nothing to correct the mistake. I complained to the owner of Bookway, PJ, and I don't see the book the next day. The bookshop owner told me a school (in PJ i think) actually chose B* Publisher's series to be used in 2007.

6. For arts subjects like Sejarah and Geografi, you can consider to buy reference books from Sasbadi or Oxford Fajar Bakti. As for workbooks, you can trust the books published by the above publishers.

7. As fo science subjects like Chemistry, Physics, etc, you can also rely on Oxford Fajar Bakti's reference books. You can also trust the workbooks published by the above publishers. Marshall Cavendish is okay as well.

How come I didn't mention publishers like Preston, Info Didik, etc? Well, it's not because their books are no good but the publishers mentioned above are more reliable.

Hopefully this simple guideline will help you in getting good quality workbooks for you kids and of course have your money well spent.

Dec 14, 2006

7 changes I would like to see on the amazing race

Be it the US or the Asian edition, there are a few changes I would like to see on the show.

  1. There's a lack of transparency in the non-elimination leg. The producers can eliminate or not eliminate whoever they want. For example, if I'm not wrong, BJ & Tyler from season 9 survived twice from being eliminated and eventually won. In the Asian edition, it's very clear that the producers would like to keep "favourites" Sandy & Francesca from being eliminated in the first round.
  2. I wonder why must there be models on The Amazing Race (TAR) and The Amazing Race Asia (TARA)? There are a lot of beautiful people out there and they are not necessary models.
  3. Choosing Allan Wu as the host of TARA is obviously a mistake. This guy is so stiff and fake. If you watch AXN Xtreme Macau, the host Alex Niu, in my humble opinion, did a better job than Allan. Well, there's no way to regret now. Looking at the success of TARA probably we just have to accept him and see some improvement over time.
  4. I'm glad that season 10 omitted the "strip all cash" from contestants who survived the non-elimination leg. TARA should stop stripping cash too in the future season because I think begging people for money isn't very nice.
  5. The contestants rely too much on the locals and taxi drivers to bring them to places instead of self-navigation. Perhaps the producers should implement new rule to disallow locals to ride or join the contestants in their car. I prefer to watch contestants display their navigation skill rather than paying taxi drivers to bring them to places.
  6. There are too many advertisement and product placement in the recent TAR. As for TARA, we can see them every week from Ford to Sony Walkman MP3 and MSN. During the last leg on TARA, contestant need to take a picture of their partner while performing the jump at Sky Tower with Sony Ericsson Cybershot camera. And the week before, teams have to record a video with Sony HD Cam.
  7. I hope to see alliance being formed in TARA. I'm not sure why no teams form alliance to oust the others. It will be more fun than seeing teams minding their own business. The Six Packs alliance (Cho bros, Kentucky and Alabama) of season 10 did a great job and went really far.

Dec 13, 2006

Rain World Tour in KL

This should be the most anticipated concert of the year.

Date and Time: 27 JAN 2007 SAT 8PM
Venue: Stadium Merdeka, K.L.
Ticket Prices:
VIP RM750, Numbered Seating RM500, RM400, RM300, Free Seating RM200, RM130, RM80

Most of my friends thought Rain's concert is for muimui chai (young girls). There is also a friend who doesn't even know who Rain is. And luckily my sister (who's just two years younger than me) is interested (so are her friends). In fact, she's the one who suggest us to go.

There's no way I'm going to miss Rain's concert! If you see him often on TVBS Entertainment News or on MTV's TRL earlier this year, you know he's a charismatic performer. And oh yeah, he definitely can sing too! Unless you have been living under the shell or ignorant about the Korean pop culture, you know this is the concert that you don't want to miss this year.

So far there's no confirmation about the seating plan or where to get the tickets. Hopefully, there'll be more information soon.

Dec 7, 2006

project runway 3 - where's the good fashion and integrity?

I've been watching Project Runway (PR) since the first season. I love the show just like what I love about the Amazing Race. PR is a serious competition where real talent wins and you don't see drama like other reality tv shows.

However, PR begins to change its direction this season. I'm fed up with all the arguments and the fact that the producers are eliminating the 'good' people and keeping the 'bad' ones. I'm so mad when Alison was kicked off from the show in the "Waste Not, Want Not" challenge. Vincent was supposed to be eliminated. His model could barely walk in that long dress (it doesn't look like one). Perhaps the producers loved his antique with Angela. And I have no idea how come Angela is still in this competition despite her hideous talent.

PR, please cut the drama and focus more on how the designers do their sketches, pattern drafting, pinning, cutting, sewing, fitting, etc.

Dec 1, 2006

the amazing race crossword puzzle

I was thinking of coming up with crossword puzzles on my blog once in awhile. So for the first time, I'm putting up a crossword puzzle based on The Amazing Race theme here. For this first puzzle, I'm going to put up something simple, easy clues but definitely not for those who never watch the earlier seasons.

*please come back again if you are not able to download because there is limitation for downloading per day.

Across
1. New twist in TAR Season 10.
4. Two teams from this country participated in TARA.
6. First family.
7. Team Joe & Bill (life partners) from the TAR Season 1 is also known as team ___.
10. New element in TAR Season 5. Time matters.
13. How many participants from TARA are not Asians?
14. In TAR Season 3, participants received their clues from this popular actor in Singapore.
15. "Romber" team finished ___ in TAR Season 7.


Down
2. Which South East Asian country did the participants race to in TAR Season 2?
3. Spoiler. Finish line. (You know this is about TAR Season 10)
5. B.J. & Tyler (winner of TAR Season 9) are also known as The ___.
8. ___ themed challenges - track and field, swimming, water polo, archery. Athens 2004.
9. ___ & Chip (winner TAR Season 4). Long-term relationship with Lance Bass (N Sync).
11. TARA Season 1 has ___ participating teams.
12. ___ hours penalty - "Who Digs the Beach?".

Nov 29, 2006

project runway 3 - 5 days a week

Can you believe it that Channel 11 Discovery Travel & Living is showing Project Runway (PR) 3 every weekday since Monday @ 9.00 p.m.? How I wish I don't need to wait every week for The Amazing Race (both US and Asia version) and America's Next Top Model.

I don't know much about fashion but at least after watching the show for two seasons I learn how to differentiate between a couture and a bad dress. PR is very realistic because you see real designers working very hard to create real dresses eventhough I'm not sure if it's possible for a designer to come up with a high fashion dress in two days.

So far, my favourite designers on PR3 has to be Jeffery and Alison. Although Jeffery was bottom two last night, almost got eliminated, the judges loved him because they could see 'Santino' in him. During his audition on Monday's show, I thought his design was great, very rock 'n' roll and over-the-top. And Alison, the pretty blond girl, she has an impressive and detailed portfolio but I can't remember what's her design last night.

Looking forward to tonight's show.

Nov 23, 2006

mckenna can make me thin?

Most people might not have heard about Paul McKenna. Well, he might not be as popular as motivational gurus like Tony Robbins or Zig Ziglar, but I've read two of his books (on the left) already. There are also mind-programming CDs which comes in free along with the books.

Unlike Tony Robbins and others, McKenna's writing is simple and practical. If you are a reader like me who wants to be motivated but in a short and simple way, McKenna is the man.
I don't think any book ever motivated me to do something drastic but McKenna did. After reading his book Change Your Life in 7 Days and listened to his CD for two weeks, I actually took part in the Amazing Mall Challenge organized by AXN channel. I'm always a quiet and shy person. So taking part in competition is too huge for me to handle. And not enough of that, I participated in a treasure hunt early this month.
In work, I've started to do sales and presentations. Now that I publish my own books and create my own educational programme, I need to make cold calls and meet people to create sales. Small steps but a huge different in my life.
And a couple of days ago, I managed to grabbed McKenna weight-loss book I Can Make You Thin at the Big Bookshop sale in Atria shopping complex, PJ. Books are quite cheap at this book-sale, way cheaper than in MPH. Imagine you can get this book at RM19.90 compared to RM62.90 at MPH. Unlike other thick weight-loss book, McKenna's book is 'thin' and yet practical and I think rather applicable for overweight people like me who doesn't eat consciously. After listened to the CD for a couple of days, I seem to began to change the way I eat, slower. According to McKenna, his system will work in at least 2 weeks time. I just make sure I listen to the CD every day and see some changes soon.
You can get the two books at the Big Bookshop sale. Warning: don't expect too much from the book sale. You don't find a lot of popular titles there.

Nov 19, 2006

tennis, reality shows and school holiday

Tennis...
It's quite disappointing because Nadal lost to Federer for the second time and yesterday match is definitely a painful one. Why not, it's a sad ending to year 2006.

After losing to Federer in Wimbledon final, Nadal is not on his top performance like what he did earlier this year. Nadal is not 100% fit and he made too many unforced errors. However, I must give credit to Nadal for creating some great, risky shots.

On the other hand, Federer is like always classy but boring. I don't know why, I have great respect for him but at the same time I hate watching him play especially on hard courts when most of the time you don't see much from him except great serve.

Hopefully Nadal will come back next year and give Federer a better challenge.

Reality shows...
The Amazing Race Asia (TARA) is not bad at all! There's nothing better than looking forward to Monday and Thursday catching up on TAR (US) and TARA. And oh, on Monday, there's America's Next Top Model (ANTM) Cycle 6 which is a must-see show. As a fan of reality shows, these two shows cannot be missed. Even though after so many seasons, there's always something new you can look forward to.

Unlike The Apprentice, which I give two thumbs down, ANTM and TAR offers you diverse reality stars, lotsa unpredictable twists and tonnes of dramas. All I can say about The Apprentice is it's pathetic, boring and old just like Donald Trump.

School holiday...
Finally it's school holiday and I can totally concentrate on my writing and publishing work. I still owe my publisher the Science manuscripts. Better get it all done today!

Oct 4, 2006

switching to blogger beta

I've just switched to blogger beta and I'm not sure what's going on because my blog is down at the moment. The dashboard is pretty cool and user friendly and not to mention that the posting is fast. Now I can even label/tag my post. I've read that there's more template in this beta version, but I still can't view them.

Perhaps my blog is still in the middle of transferring to the beta version. Hopefully things will be back to normal when I login tomorrow.

Oct 3, 2006

The Amazing Race Asia - model teams only need to apply?

So the Amazing Race Asia (TARA) has revealed its teams. And I'm not impressed. The reason why I'm so into the Amazing Race show is because of the diversity of its team members. You get to see old couples, handicapped people who overcome their inability to compete just like everyone else, people from various backgrounds, etc. However, TARA gives me a different impression.

Looking at the participants in TARA, I almost thought it is a model-searching / beauty pagent kind of contest. And not to mention there are many gwai-lou looking people in this show. Come on, Asia is so big and this is the best teams that you can come up with? By the way, how come so many people from the entertainment industry?

I really hope to see more seasons of TARA in the future (because I'm interested to join one but now I'm not sure if I should send my audition tape because I don't have a model look). TARA must come up with better ways to promote the show and reach out to more people.

By the way, TAR 10 is such a great show. So far my favourite team is Peter and Sarah. I admire Peter the most because he has been so supportive to Sarah who is an amputee. I love to watch David and Mary (especially her) as well because they are small town people but get along so well with Tom and Terry, whom they said the first gay people they ever know. Too bad for Duke and Lauren, the father and daugther team who's out so fast from TAR last night. I wanted to badly for the single moms, Lyn and Karlyn to be out from this show. I don't have good impression on them ever since they refused to help Tyler and James when their jeep broke down in Mongolia last week. My bet for who to win? Definitely Tyler and James because of their consistency.

Sep 14, 2006

bye bye Supernova

Supernova chose Lukas instead of Dilana. So the rumour is true.

Based on last night performance (and all the performance before) we all knew who is the best in this competition. We simply knew that even how good or great she is, a female rocker is just not good enough to cut it as their lead singer. Come on, you don't always get a great rock singer like Dilana. If Dilana doesn't cut it, I don't think any female rockers will ever get it.

Dilana gave the best performance with Roxanne by the Police (with Magni, Lukas and Toby backing her up). I must say that is the most touching song I've heard so far in Rockstar both season 1 and 2. And she did great last night by being the only rocker who was not in the bottom 3.

Hope Gilby keeps his word to produce an album for Dilana because I'm going to wait and buy that album. I've already downloaded all her music and going to listen to them on my way back to my hometown.

And sorry Supernova, I'm not interested in your music and your new frontman. I simply watch the show because of Dilana.

Sep 8, 2006

just 3 reasons why I hate "One In A Million"

I must say that of all the reality singing show I've ever seen, "One In A Million" is the show that you don't feel like watching. I watched the first few weeks and then I stopped. I only kept myself updated with the show results and gossips. Here's are just 3 reasons enough to make me stop watching:

1. The show is a rojak show. I don't mean the language (although it is) but because the show is a mix of Akademi Fantasia (the diary part and the comments by Shafinaz which is very similar to what she always said in AF) and Malaysian/American Idol (Paul 'Simon Cowell wannabe' Moss and the small stage).

2. Recording artists are allowed to participate but this is not my reason. I mean artist like Dayang Nurfaizah is exempted from the show's promotional tours? 8tv double standard or what? If I'm the sponsor, I'll kick her out! I thought participants must sign a commitment letter. So Dayang has a different agreement? No doubt she is a good singer, but what is the point when you just want to take the RM1 mil but not participating in all the promotional tours like everyone else. I hate to say this, but is she doing her own promotional tour because I've been seeing advertisement that she was performing in Planet Hollywood few months back and even on the TV (not OIAM though).

3. The participants are boring and doesn't have charisma. I don't think anyone really deserve the RM1 mil. In fact, I think AF is more successful. Seriously that was the only Malay show that I followed although I don't vote. Perhaps I like the show because of Aznil. And the quality of sound and transmission are clearer too.

I think 8tv should go back to Malaysian Idol instead. One In A Million is a total failure. It's true.

Rockstar Supernova: final 4

Dilana is back! Last night elimination night was the right time for Dilana to make a come back after weeks of bashing on Rockstar. She killed the song "I Want You To Want Me" by Cheap Trick. The ending was a bomb! I don't purposely say this because I'm a fan but because now I'm relieve and believe that she finally proved that she's worth to be in the final. After all she is the best singer among all the rockers in the show.

Eventhough we have seen so much humiliating moments about Dilana, after last night show, now I believe Dilana still have a chance to win. In fact, I believe she is Supernova first choice. Let me tell you why:

1. Dilana is the first choice to sing Supernova original song "Leave the Lights On". Jason Newsted kept reminding the audience and rockers that they haven't decided on the winner yet and there are still lotsa chance for the rockers to prove themselves. Actually Supernova already knew who they want.

2. This is not an audition for a front man for a heavy metal band. Let us remember that the genius behind this show is Mark Burnett, the king of reality shows. If you look at The Apprentice, Survivor and The Contender, you see lotsa manipulation and drama. Rockstar is no less.

3. Throughout this show we have seen the best and the worst in Dilana which we don't see in other rockers. In short, she is the main focus of the show.

4. If you look closely at the Rockstar logo, it shows the shadow of a woman! A resemblance of Dilana, perhaps?

5. JD Fortune didn't received good response from the audience too and had been criticized by INXS because of his attitude on stage and off stage and yet he was chosen to front INXS. If you remember, JD was commented by his band mates even in the first week for crossing the line when he was performing on stage. But why he was chosen? Simply because he is the man and the voice for the band. Only the people who cares and wants you to improve will criticize you. If you compare Dilana and Lukas, Dilana was criticized by the house band leader (???) for changing the arrangement of the song "Behind Blue Eyes" which sounds ok to me but there was no similar comment for Lukas who did a horrible rendition of Living On a Prayer and Lithium and yet still got praised by Supernova? It didn't make sense to me at all. If you are living in the Bon Jovi era, you knew Lukas sucked!

In the end, nobody is heavy metal enough to front Supernova except Dilana. She has come a long way and go through ups and downs. Speedy recovery for Dilana. I guess, she'll still be jumping with one foot throughout the show. Seriously, if I'm her, I would be giving up after all the embarassment and tore my muscle. Man, she is one tough lady. Now, I'm hoping that the best remedy for you by winning this competition! As for Toby, people might think he's going to win this, but he just got a car and he's only shines in this couple of weeks. So, Toby is not likely going to win this.

Sep 6, 2006

who is the real Suri Cruise?

I'm not a big of Tom Cruise and never interested to blog about him. But his baby with Katie Holmes, Suri, which was just revealed to the public made me curious. There is one big question in my head, "Is this Suri Cruise?" Looking at her picture just made me want to know the truth.

1. Why does Suri look so Asian?

2. Why does she look older than her age? I'm pretty sure that I know how to differentiate between a 4-month old baby and a 2-year old.

3. How come a 4-month old baby has so much hair?

4. Why did Tom and Katie take so long to reveal their baby? Tom loves attention but why this time he is so secretive?

5. I always thought that Tom can't have a baby and that's why he opted for adoption when he was married to his ex-wives. Perhaps technology can create miracles now and I'm too ignorant to know that.

Anyway, the baby is cute and she will definitely have a good life having Tom and Katie's as her parents.

Sep 5, 2006

Discovery Channel: The Boy With Divine Powers(?)

Last Sunday I spent time watching two documentaries about Buddhism on Discovery Channel; first it was The Boy With Divine Powers and followed by Born Again Buddhists.

We read before in the newspaper regarding about a meditating teenage boy in Nepal who drew huge crowds and earned himself the name Buddha-reincarnate. As a Buddhist, of course I'm curious to know if this is the truth or just a scam. Sad to say, Discovery Channel did not provide the answer. Throughout the show, you realized that the place where the boy meditate had turned into a tourist spot. It turned into a lucrative business because the boy's brother who ran the place and supported by a group of committee members collected thousands and thousands of dollars.

In the documentary, Discovery Channel interviewed Lama Lekshey whom I met again recently on his visit to Malaysia. As I do not understand about the message of the documentary particularly about the "sweat" and the fact that there is no conclusion whether the boy is for real, I wrote an email to Lama Lekshey himself. It turns out that Discovery Channel interpreted Lama Lekshey's message wrongly and edited some important points. According to Lama Lekshey, the "sweat" is not because of the boy's power but because of Lama's meditation. From my understanding, I believe the boy only started to sweat when Lama meditated (like a spiritual battle between them) and not because of the boy's so-called power.

Lama Lekshey did not want to elaborate further. I agree because I believe there is no need to seek an answer as the boy and his brother had since disappeared as told by the documentary. The place which was once a tourist spot is now quiet again.

Currently, Lama Lekshey is in Spain and he is preparing the visit of my guru, His Holiness Sakya Trizin. Lama will be very busy because HH will be in Spain from 26 September to 20 October.

Sep 4, 2006

the amazing race 10: fever is on

Again, The Amazing Race proves that they are still the best reality competition by winning again at the Emmy Award last week.

And the new The Amazing Race season 10 will be shown on AXN starting from 18 September! It feels like ages waiting for the show (and I felt just the same way for Lost season 3!) eventhough we just saw BJ and Tyler won season 9 few months ago.

I've just log on to the AXN website that offers to win The Amazing Race goodies by simply giving one amazing reason to watch the show. I've submitted mine. I would loved to win the waist pouch and torch!

"I can give hundreds of reasons to watch the Amazing Race and talk about this show from season 1 to season 9. But above all the good reasons, there is one particular reason why I loved so much about the show. The diversity of the culture in each country the contestants have been to show me how small the world we lived in and yet time is often limited for us to see the entire world. While contestants rushed from one check point to another, they get to explore different countries and continents of the world. Some of the contestants spared time to admire and appreciate the beauty of the places along the race while some just concentrate on their tasks or relationships or even complained about the inconvenience they faced particularly when they were in the third world countries or East Asia whereby English is not a popular language. Therefore, I'm really excited and looking forward to season 10 because this time around we are not only going to see the most amazing and diverse culture in the most challenging cities in countries like China, Mongolia and Kuwait but we will also have the opportunity to watch the most diverse casts (there are Asian-American, Indian-American, Muslims, an amputee and an out-lesbian) ever shown on the Amazing Race."

For more info about The Amazing Race 10, go to:
CBS: The Amazing Race 10
Wikipedia: The Amazing Race 10

And by the way, The Amazing Race Asia promotional tour is coming to Malaysia this Saturday at Berjaya Times Square. They are looking for 10 teams of 2 to participate in some of the challenges and win great prizes. I wish I can join but I gotta work.

Sep 1, 2006

Supernova: top 5

Finally Ryan is out! I've waited so long to see him being eliminated. He did improved a lot but he'd tried too hard especially in these couple of weeks to prove his showmanship from thrashing the guitar (after Dave told the rockers that he wanted to see something broken by the end of the season) last week to sliding and standing on the piano and jumping of the amp. And he did screamed a lot when he can't reach some high notes.

Dilana, my favourite rocker, hit rock bottom this week. Poor mama. She made a huge mistake last week with the media. She couldn't handle the pressure after being blasted by Dave and Supernova on her catty behaviour. Things got even worse when she smashed a glass and pieces of it hit Magni on his head. It wasn't intentional but things happened. Although she killed the song "Mother, Mother" (it was a perfect song for her!), she had to bear the consequences of her behaviour by ended up in the bottom 3.

I don't have much comment about the other rockers: Magni is great but I don't really like his "lazy" performance on stage. I mean, Supernova are formed by the guys from Guns n' Roses, Metallica and Motley Crue! They are heavy metal bands! Toby on the other hand is kind of a joker among the rockers. Let's get serious, he doesn't suit the band. Lukas, this guy looked more of a punk rocker than a heavy metal rocker. And he can't hold the notes. When he sang "Lithium" this week, I thought it was awful! I wonder why Dave said it was awesome when the arrangement sucked and Lukas' performance was simply disorganised. I've never heard of such a bad version of Nirvana song. Lastly, there was Storm singing Evanescence rendition of "Bring Me to Life". It was definitely not the right song for her but she did her best. Anyway, Storm is too pretty for a band like Supernova.

After last week and this week's show, I started to get bored of the show. Maybe I'm just being sensitive but the show seems like trying very hard to show the evil side of her. After all, she had been doing extremely well throughout the show. In one of the episode on the America's Next Top Model 1, one of the contestant Elise won one of the task when she talked openly (in another word bad-mouth) about other contestants to the media. The reason she won was because the media loved her for sharing so much info while the other contestants kept their good image. Coming back to Rockstar, come on, this is a rock show not idol show! Rockers should be wild and crazy and full of controversy. We don't need pretenders in this show. We don't want to see nice guys in this show! Even Tommy Lee tries to act like one now. Gimme a break. Seriously, now I don't mind if Dilana doesn't get chosen anymore (rumour said Supernova chose Lukas). I think Dilana would be better off being a solo artist. But of course winning this competition is great.

Aug 23, 2006

I got tagged: aku anak Malaysia

I've never been tagged before so thanks to Renee whom I just met at last week AXN challenge. And this is certainly not an easy one but I'll try to come up with 10 reasons.

Aku anak Malaysia

1. ... because by the time I was born, my country was no longer known as Tanah Melayu but Malaysia.

2. ... because I grow up having a lot of Malay and Indian friends (besides Chinese). When I was in secondary school, I was especially close to a Malay friend, Norzana, and an Indian friend, Neela, and the three of us represented the unity of the three main races in our class.

3. ... because my favourite language is Malay language and that's my best spoken and written language. I especially loved Malay literature. When I was in form 5, one of my sajak were published in Dewan Siswa. Today I still teach Malay language to my private students.

4. ... because my favourite foods are nasi lemak, penang curry mee and cendol. I hate western food.

5. ...because I love the history of my country. If you dropped me in the museum in Malacca, I can spend hours reading the history of Parameswara turning Malacca into an entrepot, the invasion of Portuguese, British, etc. The purpose of studying History (according to the Ministry of Education) is to intil patriotism among students. So, I'm the product of our education system.

6. ...because off and on I still watch RTM1, RTM2 and TV3 especially on the local news.

7. ...because despite all the criticism about our local higher institutions, I'm still paying my fees to them. Local universities might not be "world class" enough compare to the universities in UK, US, Japan or even Singapore, but there are a lot of experienced lecturers here. These lecturers are a lot better than the lecturers in local colleges (or university college). Education in local universities are the cheapest in the world, and not to mention you can easily get study loans. I totally support local higher institutions unless you have deep pockets to go overseas.

8. ... because although I have never joined the Merdeka celebration in Dataran Merdeka or Putrajaya, I always switched on to RTM1 to watch the countdown or parade in the morning (although it was only for a few minutes).

9. ... because I go to the pasar malam in SS2 almost every week. Although I don't really like to walk among the crowd, but you just can't resist going.

10. ... because I always pray for the stability of economy and politics of this country. I don't intend to go anywhere. I hope to finish my studies soon so that I can contribute back to the society.

Aug 20, 2006

AXN Amazing Mall Challenge @1Utama

When I woke up this morning, my body was still aching and there were bruises on my legs. My Sis asked me why I didn't sleep longer. I told her I'm still excited about the challenge and wanted to blog about it.

Yesterday, SY (my team partner) and I arrived early @1U. We walked around so that we can be sure that we were ready for the challenge. We registered at one of the booth, got our tshirts and a gel (by one of the sponsors) and we were asked to style our hair. No prizes for the best hairdo though. Right after we had changed into our t-shirts, we went back to the booth and sealed all our stuff (wallets, handphones, etc).

The Amazing Mall Challenge (AMC) started slightly later than the schedule which was supposed to be at 1 p.m. sharp. During the briefing, each team was given an envelop containing three checkpoint (CP) clues inside. We were told that we can do the first three CPs at random but at CP4 onwards until CP13, we need to perform the tasks in sequence.So we read our clues and off we went!

CP1 - 3: My team (Team 21) decided to go for CP3 because we (and most teams) thought it was better for us to go to the upper floor first as that was where the the cinema was. It turned out that the cinema wasn't the right place. Then, we tried at MPH to see if there's this "Big Fish" DVD there but again we failed. We tried the second clue at CP2 which we thought were at Starship Galactica. Again we were at the wrong place.

Then we decided to go to the lower ground floor and we were lucky to see other teams at Movie Magic! So we knew we were at CP3. The marshall was standing way inside the store and we saw everyone looking at Nelly Furtado's poster. We went to the marshall and read our task. We were asked to find a highlighted letter. They did not specify any particular poster or dvd but since everyone was looking at the poster, we looked out for the "highlighted letter" on the poster. Straight away we saw the letter "A" which was highlighted with a red-coloured tape. It was amazing because there were other teams who can't see it. Since it was a tight challenge at the beginning of this stage, we decided to only help Azlan's team (he was the husband of SY's colleague). Then we proceed to CP1, a golf shop which was a few shops away. We were required to perform golf putting and hit a ball into the hole each. It was an easy task. So now we needed to proceed to find CP2.

Almost all teams were clueless and struggled to find CP2. We went to Celebrity Fitness because we thought it could be the right place as the clue said "..play among the stars". There were marshalls there but turned out that it was CP4. We walked to the escalator and we were lucky enough to see a team and a couple of marshalls at a shop that sells travelling bags. We quickly dashed to the shop and perform our task which was to find an AXN tag. At the back of the tag, there's a clue saying "Superstar". We knew our CP4 was at Celebrity Fitness.

CP4: SY and I were the first team to arrive. First we had to run 1km each on the treadmill. That was completely exhausting as we rarely jog. Not to mention that we had never been to a fitness centre before. Another team (the guys from Explorace) arrived and in no time they beat us at this challenge. More teams came in. Then SY had to do 20 pull-ups and finally both of us had to perform 1km cross trainer each. No doubt this was the worst physical challenge of all. Once completed our challenge at CP4, we were given a baseball as our next clue.

CP5: On the baseball, there was the word "Hitachi" and a web address "www.hit.com.my". There was an electrical shop nearby and we tried our luck there. Since there were no marshalls around, we knew we were at the wrong place. So we decided to go to Starbucks or the nearest computer shop to borrow a computer to check out the website. We went to a computer shop and the owner was kind enough to let us use one of their laptops. We were surprised to find out that there's a batting cage at the rooftop of 1 Utama! Newly opened in mid 2006, it is the first automated batting cage in Malaysia. We headed to the rooftop and we saw a few teams there. We were required to hit 6 balls. After a few tries, we managed to complete the task and head on for the next CP.

CP6: We sucked at this CP. We spent so much time looking for the wrong places. At first we thought we are going to Nando's to have a feast (coz we were too hungry!). Finally we were lucky enough to met up with one of the member from Team 6 (sorry I couldn't recalled your name) and her team member Renee already left for Berjaya Times Square. She told us that CP6 was at the bowling centre (for god sake, we had no clue that "turkey" is a term used in bowling which means three strikes bowled consecutively). She on the other hand, had been looking for CP8 and we told her it could be rock climbing. Then, we rushed to the bowling centre. Thank god we didn't have to strike a turkey but only need to complete two frames (a combination of 10 pins for a team). We quickily finished the task and headed to CP7.

CP7: The clue for CP7 was easy to understand. It said something like "Tarzan's hometown" and we knew it was at the Rainforest. We were asked to get 2 members of the public to drink 2 bottles of mineral water. We went to the nearby restaurant and get two brothers (many thanks to Nicholas and his little brother) to perform the task. Once completed, the marshall told us that our team had to be separated; one of us will perform an extreme challenge and two other tasks while another team member had to go to Berjaya Times Square. So we decided that SY stayed in 1U and I went to Times Square.

CP7b - c: Many of us had to wait for the bikers to bring us to Times Square. After waited for like 15-20 minutes, it was finally my turn. It was a terror ride! Never in my whole life I was on a bike riding at 120km/hour on a highway to the congested KL city! I kept praying that all of us going to Times Square would be safe. Once arrived at Times Square, I quickily formed an alliance with Team 1 and we headed for our first task there. We knew we had to go to the theme park. Our task was to ride the DNA Mixer (it rotates in different directions 360 degrees) while solving a mathematical sum. My strategy was to get on the ride and quickily did the calculation in my head before the ride started. It was a helluva ride! The girls were screaming away while Azlan who was sitting next to me, and on his second ride, felt really uncomfortable. We managed to give the correct answer and head on the next CP, which was the IMAX theatre. We were given a torchlight and inside the cinema, we had to look for an AXN sticker each. Luckily the cinema wasn't really big and all of us managed to find the stickers in a couple of minutes or lesser. Now, we had to go back to our drop off point. On the way down, I saw Azlan sitting on the floor near the escalator. He said he had a cramp. Since there's no marshall, I stayed on and helped him push his legs. After a couple of tries, he seemed a lot better and we continued running back to the drop off point. There, all of us had to wait for the bikers to pick us up. I had to wait for about 15 minutes again. It was wasting time and there was nothing we can do to go back to 1U. We had no $ and the traffic was bad. So, we chitchat while waiting. Coincidently and thank god, I had the same biker who brought me to Times Square earlier on.

CP8: Earlier on, @1U, while I was waiting for my turn to go to Times Square, SY had to go to CP8 and perform the rock climbing task. She had an experience at the Outward Bound School (OBS) but it wasn't a good one. She always told me that it wasn't an easy task but insisted that she would do this task if it's one of the challenge. She also told me that at OBS, she only managed to climbed half way before giving up. However, her perception towards rock climbing completely changed right after the challenge at CP8 because it wasn't as tough as it seemed to be. She completed the challenge and head on to the next CP. Well, SY, I am proud of you because you managed to overcome this obstacle because this is the challenge that made us worried even before we decided to join this AMC.


CP9: While I was still waiting for my biker at the taxi stand, I saw SY heading to the central park opposite 1U. It turned out it wasn't the right CP. She knew that CP9 was either at the central park or at Giant. It was indeed at Giant supermarket. There she had to buy a list of 15 items. Some of the shoppers were very helpful. The problem with this CP was there were a few items which were out of stock and some of the teams had to wait for it to be replenished. Once the task was completed, SY had to go to CP10 to perform more task.

CP10: At first, SY thought that CP10 couldn't be the rainforest because she had already been there in our previous task. However, she followed her instinct and went there anyway. At the rainforest, she had to perform a task whereby she had to transport 5 eggs from the fourth floor onto the ground using a string. She had to wait for some time because only two teams were allowed to perform the task at a time. They had to transport the eggs one by one, touching the ground without breaking it. SY broke one egg and she had to eat an egg which turned out to be a half boiled egg (supposed to be hard-boiled).

CP 11: I was back @1U and saw a few teams solving jigsaw puzzles. SY was nowhere to be seen. So I had to wait for her. I chatted with other teams and found out that there were only 7 bikers during the entire race. We found out that there was one particular team who had to wait for 1 hour for her biker to bring her to Times Square. We also knew that the team who won was from the Explorace Challenge (shown on TV3). SY finally arrived and in a couple of minutes we completed the task and moved on the the next CP.

CP12: We only had about two minutes to solve this clue. We tried a few places including Travelmart. However, the bell was rang and time was up. We finally knew that CP12 was at Kluang Station. We were just one CP away from the finishing line but we had tried our best.

We went back to the finishing line. My Sis and our friend, CC, were there waiting for us. We didn't really know what was our position or how well we performed. I think only the first three places matters. After all, this was just a fun race. After the prize presentation, we had a buffet dinner. We said goodbye to some of the teams before knocked off at about 8 p.m. We brought home a goodies bag and a certificate of participation each.

SY and I really had a splendid time meeting new people and doing things that we never or seldom do before. It was our first experience participating in such race and we are looking forward to more competition like this in the future.

Aug 17, 2006

Rockstar Supernova: Dilana rocks!

The Rockstar show is great not only because they have Tommy Lee, but because I'm looking forward to see Dilana perform every week! She is a hell of a rocker! I've never been so excited about the show.

Yesterday the rockers went unplugged again. Dilana belted out the song Cats In The Cradle a classic by Harry Chapin but I only knew the song which was sang by Ugly Kid Joe back in the 90s. Her charisma shines and her vocal simply rocks!

This morning I got up and watch the results show. Gilby (or was it Jason) said they have been sitting too long on their a**es and they decided to perform for the first time. And guess what? They have been in the studio with the rockers to sing a new Supernova song. This morning they chose Dilana to front the band and sang Leave The Lights On! Dilana proves to us that Supernova had made the right choice! There was no gimmick and Dilana is just Dilana.

What's amazing about Dilana is her professionalism. She can be crazier performing with the band but she remain humble. She is definitely a true friend with the other rockers. When Magni was voted the bottom 3, his rendition of Creep made Dilana wept. The lyrics did said it all, when Magni sang, "What the hell I'm doing here... I don't belong here...". Hell yeah, Magni doesn't belong to the bottom 3. It should be Storm who sucks with the song "I Will Survive" popularised by Gloria Gaynor. She survived this time but I would like to see her go after Patrice and Toby.

Another great week for Rockstar Supernova. Can't wait for next week.

Aug 13, 2006

AXN Amazing Mall Challenge

My team is acccepted to the Amazing Mall Challenge this coming Saturday. The event is going to be held in 1 Utama and I think my team, the OutREACH team is ready. We are quite familiar with the new and old wings.

So far the only thing that bothers me is the possibility of rock climbing as one of the challenge. We are going for at least one training session one of this week day to see if we are able to do it. Well, my partner, SY tried rock climbing before and managed to climb half way before she gave up. But the thing is that was many years ago when she was studying in uni. We put on a lot of weight since then.

We have no prior experience like treasure hunt or extreme challenge so we have to depend on our good navigation skills and dare to try attitude. I'll use whatever knowledge I have and experience in watching reality tv and game shows to help us pull through this. On the other hand, SY is not really a fan of reality shows but she is one tough lady (she was a PALAPES).


We are not really there to win the $ but more of challenging ourselves and win some new friends. So, our strategy is to struck up with an alliance (like what we usually in on reality tv shows) and enjoy the game!

Aug 12, 2006

@ MasKargo

For my good friend, SY who is in the logistics business for six years, it was a chance of a lifetime for her to be at the MasKargo and watch the loading of her shipment real time. Because it was quite early for a lady, she invited me to join her and her colleague. We were there at 4 a.m.!










As I had been working in a similar business before and had arranged many airfreight shipments, I thought it was a good opportunity to go and take a look.

The security was tight and after given the approval by the guys at the Korean Air, I was allowed to go in with my friend SY and her colleague. We took some pictures while waiting for unloading. By 5 a.m. it was time to load our machine onto the plane.

It was a great experience to watch the whole process. The last time when I was at MasKargo, I didn't had the opportunity to go in and was only at the loading bay.

We had our breakfast at Puchong before heading back to PJ. My poor friend still need to go to work while I take a nap before having classes later on in the afternoon.

Aug 11, 2006

crazy about reality tv shows

It's been ages since I last post message here. Have been spending so much time working on educational book projects, organizing and marketing my CRT (crossword-based revision technique) programme as well as planning and writing proposal for team building activity which I called Experience-based Learning Programme (ELP).

Anyway I still spend a lot of time at night watching tv especially reality shows. Currently, I've been following up closely with America's Next Top Model Cycle 5, The Apprentice 5, The Contender 2 and last but not least Rockstar 2: Supernova. From my own point of view, I gotta say that my favourites are Rockstar and ANTM.

I'm not sure but after the second episode of The Apprentice, I kinda feel that the show is slowly losing its appeal. It's almost the same types of people who create problems to the teams and they have to perform similar kinda tasks. And yeah, there's also the same old boring Donald Trump giving the same old comments. The show started out strong; with the Project Managers (one is a Mensa member and another a Harvard grad) chosing their team members without knowing their backgrounds. By the end of the first episode, you knew who were the troublemakers and that being a Mensa member doesn't help.

The Contender 2 is great too but I keep on comparing them to the participants from the last season. Having lesser latin boxers this season perhaps is the reason why I'm not so into this show.

I must give credit to Tyra Bank for the success of ANTM. Every season, you can expect new things from her. I think Cycle 5 is perhaps one of the best because of the diversity of the contestants. The challenges are so difficult this season and not to mention the embarassment. The most interesting part of this show so far is the relationship between two of the contestants, Kim and Sarah. However, this is also the lowest point of the show because the relationship was cut short after one of them was eliminated from the show after having several bad weeks. Another thing is, Janice Dickinson is no longer the permanent judge on ANTM (booo!) but we will be seeing her in the show as photographer.

Perhaps the best singing reality show right now is Rockstar Supernova. If you are a rock fan like me, you don't want to miss the show every Wednesday and Thursday. These guys singing on the show are real singers/rockers! Compared to INXS, I find Supernova more appealing. Yeah, especially when you have the forever charismatic Tommy Lee (ex-Motley Crue), Gilby Clarke (Guns N' Roses) and Jason Newsted (Metallica). I think the contestants this time around is far better compare to the JD Fortune's batch. After watching the show for many weeks, I gotta say that my favourite is Dilana (she rocks!). She is by far the only female on the Rockstar (both season 1 and 2) who has the chance to front those guys. She is not only a rockstar but a performer. Each week, I can't wait to sit in front of the tv and see her performance. And not to mention her vocal! I think her best performance so far is singing Time After Time, the unplugged version. I swear I would buy her album! Besides Dilana, I think Magni is also a hot favourite to front Supernova.

Well, there you are my current favourite reality shows on tv. Now I can't wait for The Amazing Race 10 (the mother of all reality shows) which will be shown on tv this September. And talking about the word "Amazing", I've submitted my team to the AXN Amazing Mall Challenge held next Saturday at 1 Utama. Not sure if my team will be chosen. But it'll be good to take part and get to know more people as well as to see if we have got what it takes to complete the challenges.

Jul 5, 2006

Putrajaya

These photos were shot almost a month ago when my Sis and I went to Putrajaya. It is embarassing but yes, that was my first time there. It was really a beautiful place (nevermind the government spent billions of ringgit building the town).

WWF rowing competition for charity

I was at the WWF rowing competition last Sunday as a spectator. My Sis was there to participate in the competition as she was in the Astro Rowing Team. Her team tried hard to chase the HSBC's second team to get a third place but their competitor was just too strong (maklumlah they had put in lotsa money and effort to came up with the result). I must tabik all the guys because most of them had to row many so rounds (each organization had to row about 40 rounds altogether from 9am to 4 pm).

Taman Tasik Titiwangsa is not a bad place at all to organize such an event. It's very clean and totally above my expectation (I always have this bad image about the place). It's also the right place to bring your children to and as for the adults it is the right place to find some peace and inspiration.

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