RSS Feed

  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Stumble

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Visual Eclipse

Eclipses were once believed to be caused by a demon eating up the Sun.

The Chinese, Indians and Indonesians believed that a dragon was responsible for the phenomena.

And the Argentinians, a jaguar.

Some predict war or natural disasters after the event of an eclipse.

So they all scream at the Sun-eater.

You would probably do this in India or China.

But don't waste your effort on that. Take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the Sun's features like prominences and solar flares in full detail.

However, you must be unfortunate if the weather sucked.

Especially when it blocked a partial eclipse and you can't really tell.

Yup, Malaysians missed this rare opportunity to hungry clouds.

Oh well, celebrate Gheek's birthday on Easter Island next year. =)

But wait! The entire island has been sabotaged by scientists from all over the world!!

NOW you can scream.



Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mighty Or Mini?

I actually went to Mighty Minds eventhough I wasn't feeling well, mostly for the part that I was the captain of the team. You can actually stop reading right here, right now, because we did not make it to the hands-on task, although we could have, if not for certain reasons.

Well, let's get things straight first. We actually got 16/20 questions right for the Blue Team questions, which would allow us to automatically qualify for the next round, but due to reasons unknown, our points were recorded as 14/20 only (we were VERY sure we pressed the correct answers, as every team member checked the keypad device). One of BU4's team also had an error in their marks, which, like ours, should be 16/20 but was recorded as 15/20.

Secondly, if our school's name was SMK SRI Damansara Jaya, we would be in the Red Team, as the teams were determined by alphabetical order. If we were in the Red Team, we would have got 20/20 (we know this because we were doing their questions as well). Now, if we had 20/20, not only will we be one of the few teams to be able to obtain a perfect score in the entire nation (the record was broken here in Selangor by some other lucky Red people), but we would also have advanced to the hands-on task. If we just made qualified for that, we could've come up with something very solid, since we had a clear idea on what to do to "build a ceiling fan powered by air movement".

BU4's 2 teams were complaining with our team. Eventhough I really wanted to participate in our "united" debate against Mr Siva, I could not do so, no thanks to a worsening headache and a rising temperature. Shu Wen and Adrian Loke (a form 2 from BU4(B)) did most of the talking. Man, I wished I could've said something more, but my fever was getting worse and dizziness started to settle in. BU4 agreed with us that the questions for both teams should be the same, as it was not a very good factor to determine which team was "smarter", especially since the questions were different. I mean, even the BU4 people agreed that the Red team's questions were so much easier. Aaron's team also tried out their quesitons and came out with 20/20 as well.

Melissa and Shu Wen were really disappointed with the results, as they felt we could have done much better if we were in the second round. According to many of the Blue Team's observation, the Red Team wasn't even as competitive as our round. Most of their results were so far apart eventhough their questions were so much easier. Unfortunately, my fuzzy brain just couldn't care anymore. After all, what's done is done. We're alway so near, yet so far. It has just come to a point where I'm starting to accept "the truth". From choir, to Robotics, to cheerleading, etc., we achieved everything except the top spot.

Moving back, before the Red team started their round, I was trying to avoid the 2 Seafielders I knew from Scrabble. Unfortunately, Vinnith and Scott spotted me as I was trying to hide behind my Sausage McMuffin. Oh dear. Han Wey was there too, and I finally learnt that he's a Form 3. I always thought he was a year my senior. We saw Emily Neoh as well, Aaron, Ryan and the 2 BU3 people from the previous month's competition. Apparently, Michelle Peh and her other teammate (I don't know his name) didn't win the Selangor level. This time, both of them weren't in the same team as each other and I nearly mistook one of Michelle's teammates as Ke Ming, until I remembered that Ke Ming is a Form 4.

When the teams were doing the hands-on task, I was trying desperately to "recover" from my state of health in Harvey Norman. I initially wanted to watch the groups outside, but after Melissa and Shu Wen said that the teams were "crapping", I just lost interest. Pn Cheah said that these people were going to set the benchmark for the competition in Selangor, and as implied by her and my teammates, the benchmark wasn't very high. Damansara Utama, the team I was going for, collapsed at the very end, literally. Their project just died on the spot when the bottom half of their fan dropped off. I suspect that the tall dude in their team is Qi Lin or Qilin (or something like that), because Alexandria told me something of him being extremely smart when she showed me her school magazine. Apart from their's and Jacie's team (Shu Wen's church friend), the masterpieces of other schools appeared as "rather interesting", in the sense that "being-weird-catches-attention" sort of way.

And the best part is this : when the top five were announced, there were THREE Blue teams that made it up there. And of the 3 teams, the last two to qualify for this hands-on task made it. Now, what does that prove?

I went home slightly earlier than the rest of my gang, who stayed back to hear the results. Most of the participants already went back, so the emcee was like talking to an empty hall in Sunway. If it weren't for busybody onlookers, he'd be like talking to the wall.

I went to see my doctor immediately and found out that my fever nearly touched 39 degrees Celsius! This obviously explains why my doctor was paranoid and told me not to cough in the clinic, in case I've got the international H1N1 flu. I'm probably going to be quarantined until Wednesday, if I don't get better. If teachers ask, you know what to say.

Last but not least, to all the Blue teams out there to get to the next round, I salute you! You're really deserving to get to the next round and you could've shown more might if you were in the Red team. As for the Red're lucky you're in Selangor and got the easier of the 2 teams' questions. Though it's easy to think that you would die if you answered our Blue team's questions, congratulations to you guys!



Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mr Nonsense

I just went to Dr M's blog to "busybody around" and if possible, write a comment there. After seeing 595 responses for his blog post on the teaching of Science and Maths in English, I decided it would be a waste of time to comment. Dr M is not going to read 596 comments!

After some browsing around on his webpage, I discovered something which I find ridiculous, or should I say, "nonsense". Here's what I found:

By hisham1 on July 9, 2009 3:05 PM
firstly I thought that it wise to teach math and science in english. but after the minister, who is a nonsense guy, form a committee, discussed, and decide about it I changed my mind. I go with the government. So, I vote:

Hmmm, so what you're trying to say here is that you're a nonsense guy as well?

Eh brother, wake up-lah! Do you really really think Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is rasional in making his decision? (Note that I'm trying to make his status sound like an insult.) For heaven's sake, even a normal kid is able to explain why Maths and Science should be taught in English. What about all those scientific terms? Not like they'll be the same in Bahasa Malaysia! "Monocular vision", "astigmatism", "heart attack", etc. are only accurately described in English mainly because there is no existing word for those terms in BM. Thus, the closest that "heart attack" can be translated into is "penyakit jantung", which literally means "heart sickness". At this point, it is grammatically correct to say I have "penyakit jantung" because of the government's decision, yet scientifically wrong to do so.

And the Education Minister still wants to revert the subjects back to BM. Oh dear, it's back to the Stoneage.

Muhyiddin Yassin claims that the grades of students are gradually deteriorating every year since the teaching of those subjects in English was implemented. What sort of excuse is this? Lower grades don't show that we're getting dumber, neither does it show that the English language is the main cause of deterioration in grades. Firstly, the papers are marked very strictly and we students know that the examiners only follow a guideline when marking. You would only be considered correct if the words you used are found in the marking scheme, regardless of whether your answer should be rightfully correct or not. Secondly, maybe students do not understand certain things like the aim of the experiment, or are not well-read in a certain topic. These are not because they do not understand the terms, but because they don't prepare themelves well. Thirdly, have you noticed that students' characters are changing by the day?! More and more people are slacking and that may also be the cause of declination in grades.

EdMin, don't you want us to continue improving so that we can rise to the standards of other countries? Maybe not. Maybe you just want all your citizens to grow up stupid at the same rate. Maybe that's your concept of 1Malaysia, where rural and urban students learn at the same, slow rate, never being able to grasp the actual terms used in the scientific fields. Maybe they want students to have a tough time keeping up in universities. And all the potential scientists can suffer forever, for the sake of learning at the same rate as kampung people. Sweet, sweet 1Malaysia.

But NO! That's not what students want! Urban students want to keep up with the rat race, while rural students just want to have proper education where they learn proper terms. Honestly, how many countries in the world use Bahasa Malaysia as a medium to study science? So, do you think that learning these subjects in BM will be of much help to us? If all we care about is our examination results and the SPM certificate, how on earth are we supposed to improve ourselves?! How are we supposed to be accepted into overseas universities?

The whole point here is not that the English standard will drop, but that the understanding of mathematics and the sciences will implode into a complicated heap of BM words which cannot be converted into english fast enough.

If we cannot understand English terms, how then can we learn about more complex researches and findings? How can we grasp the knowledge which we ran away from? How are students supposed to convert back to english in their higher education, and what about those who wish to be future scientists? All the answers are simple and they point to a certain phenomenon Malaysia hates : Brain Drain.

People say that knowledge is power. At the rate this is going, it is almost a prophecy to say that the forthcoming generation will be intellectual weaklings.

I pity aspiring scientists.

Najib, Najib, your deputy prime minister has tarnished your name within your first 100 days as PM, eventhough "some" people are happy and you came out in the headlines with showers of praises from an 11-year old gifted kid. Your senseless party Barisan Nonsense have absent-mindedly agreed to his decision and you have not opened your mouth on this matter. Mr Prime Minister, you have earned my lifelong contempt for killing my compatriots' futures.



Friday, July 3, 2009

You Can Say That Again

Earlier this week, Anwar Ibrahim, our politically-challenged (literally) Opposition Leader came up with this horrendous statement that he would like the teaching of Maths and Science in English to be abolished and replaced with BM as the medium of instruction in the 2 subjects.

I've always heard that if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything. Ergo, I'll cut/censor this part away from public.

To put it frankly, "Die, Opposition leader, DIE!!" But after putting some thought into the matter, I realised that his statement was just great!! No, don't get me wrong. Nobody put any funny liquid into my head while I wasn't thinking. In fact, if you look at another perspective, you would find that:

1. BN is the Federal Government.
2. BN hates Anwar.
3. BN ALWAYS opposes EVERYTHING that Anwar says.

Therefore, we can safely deduce that if Anwar makes that statement, BN would readily oppose it. And because BN is the Federal Government, it would mean that Maths and Science would continue to be taught in English. *Grins*

See the irony of the situation? The Star newspaper probably put it up there as one of its "provoking" articles so as to make the public hate Pakatan (and its plan is to be foiled by me!!). But then again, Anwar could have very well made a ploy to shift BN's mind...

Oh, speaking of articles, (this is to Cas and Zi Ying), I DID send the amateur article to Star already. (If you're clicking on the link, note that you would have to scroll down a bit once you're at the post). But just as I had predicted, they wouldn't publish it. Instead, if you looked at some of the previous articles, they put up MORE articles about people going against the teaching of Maths and Science in English (exactly why I believe Star is "sabotaged").

As for school, results and positions are out. This time, its my KH teacher to be shocked into congratulating me for the stunted position of mine. All this while I've been cursing the exams because I was, to put it casually, both unable and not in the mood to study. I was more intent on other non-academic stuffs. But when the papers came out and I got the same position as last term (which was 2nd last from the back =D geddit?), I was just purely freaked. I thought it was possible for me to drastically cascade out of top 10, seeing how people were studying. Most stayed up to 4 am to prepare. Me? Err....let's not focus on that matter now, shall we?

Anyway, Pn Soo was surprised when she knew I got 2nd, since she didn't exactly ask for our positions during 1st term. Pn Nomi had a similar reaction, but far more exaggerated.

Oh, Pn Nomi didn't come on Open Day, which is clearly the most important day along this time, as it's the last school exam before trials. A few parents speculated that she was "afraid to see the parents". =D That's what my mother said too!

*Ahem* I do not wish to dwell on matters related somehow to Pn Nomi. Now, take a little time to study the post title. Honestly, what can you make of the title? (Yes, it also refers to Anwar's statement because I like the paradox of it). Apart form that, what I intend to write about today is something I found in a book about leadership, which I promptly picked up for fun in the bookstore just the other day. This was a famous statement made by a famous Japanese swordsman Musashi in the 16th century.

For a little background information before I reveal the adage of the day, I will now introduce Miyamoto Musashi. He was also known as Shinmen Takezo, Miyamoto Bennosuke or by his Buddhist name, Niten Doraku. He was a Japanese swordsman famed for his duels and distinctive styles. Musashi, as he was often simply known, became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age. He was the founder of the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū or Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship and the author of The Book of Five Rings (五輪書, Go Rin No Sho), a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today.

I have trained in the way of strategy since my youth, and at the age of thirteen I fought a duel for the first time. My opponent was called Arima Kihei, a sword adept of the Shinto ryu, and I defeated him. At the age of sixteen I defeated a powerful adept by the name of Akiyama, who came from Tajima Province. At the age of twenty-one I went up to Kyoto and fought duels with several adepts of the sword from famous schools, but I never lost.

—Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho-

According to the introduction of The Book of Five Rings, Musashi states that his first successful duel was at the age of thirteen, against a samurai named Arima Kihei who fought using the Kashima Shintō-ryū style, founded by Tsukahara Bokuden (b. 1489, d. 1571). The main source of the duel is the Hyoho senshi denki ("Anecdotes about the Deceased Master"). Summarized, its account goes as follows:

In 1596, Musashi was 13, and Arima Kihei, who was traveling to hone his art, posted a public challenge in Hirafuku-mura. Musashi wrote his name on the challenge. A messenger came to Dorin's temple, where Musashi was staying, to inform Musashi that his duel had been accepted by Kihei. Dorin, Musashi's uncle, was shocked by this, and tried to beg off the duel in Musashi's name, based on his nephew's age. Kihei was adamant that the only way his honor could be cleared was if Musashi apologized to him when the duel was scheduled. So when the time set for the duel arrived, Dorin began apologizing for Musashi, who merely charged at Kihei with a six-foot quarterstaff, shouting a challenge to Kihei. Kihei attacked with a wakizashi, but Musashi threw Kihei on the floor, and while Kihei tried to get up, Musashi struck Arima between the eyes and then beat him to death. Arima was said to have been arrogant, overly eager to fight, and not a terribly talented swordsman.

—William Scott Wilson, The Lone Samurai[10]-

The duel is odd for a number of reasons, not least of which is why Musashi was permitted to duel Arima, whether the apology was a ruse, and why Arima was there in the first place.

In April 13, 1612, Musashi (aged about 30) fought his most famous duel, with Sasaki Kojirō, who wielded a nodachi (some weapon which is not as effective as the naginata or nagamaki. It is not a cutting sword, instead used to fold the opponent under its rapidly moving weight). Musashi came late and unkempt to the appointed place — the remote island of Funajima, north of Kokura. The duel was short. Musashi killed his opponent with a bokken that he had carved from an oar while traveling to the island. Musashi fashioned it to be longer than the nodachi, making it closer to a modern suburito.

I'm impressed you came up to this point without exiting my blog due to boredom. After all that useful information (or crappy rubbish) about his status, you may now prepare yourself for the juicy bit, that one-sentence adage from Musashi I will use to avoid doing homework in the future.....

*Drum rolls*

Do nothing
which is of no use.

Yes, sensei Musashi. I will carry on your legacy like a fervent worshipper. The students of the 21st century will uphold your belief and spread it like wildfire. No student shall ever waste anymore paper to complete useless, time-consuming projects which most students can read and plagiarise from the Internet. Our efforts will never again be spent focusing on baseless homeworks given just for the sake of completing it, which bind us to stress and chain our necks to adamant walls of academic policy. No longer will we accept stupid examination marking schemes, which make the dumb seem smarter or the smart seem dumber.

Go on, Musashi. You can say that again.



Related Posts with Thumbnails
Down Back to Top