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Awesomeness in plain text
Be Strong and Courageous
Monday, April 7, 2014 @ 4/07/2014 05:14:00 PM


I have now reached another milestone in my Foundation. Just completed the last paper of my finals this morning, and now we are close to the end of the course, 11 days more, to be exact. I wonder if the days are dreadful or precious - a part of me wants it to end so badly, but another does not. I might have repeated this numerous times, that I am really grateful to have enrolled in ASASIpintar. It has been and still is a journey that I would never forget throughout my life. As I am counting the last days on campus, I strive to cherish every moment being here, and appreciate the things that I would lose after I leave. I now have the sudden urge to write on my life in ASASI, but I would keep it until after C.I.N.T.A. Eximius Graduation Dinner, and will then share everything once and for all.

Days nearing the finals were burying. From projects, to assignments, to reports, to more reports, to research, to tutorials, to revision... Everything seems to swamp in under an extremely brief time frame, and we were enslaved by the overloading burden. Nevertheless, we were able to carry through what comes in our way, and finally able to triumph over our worst enemy - the finals. Well, to say that we are triumphant might be a bag of wind, as we have merely finished it, not knowing how our results would be like. However, it is truly a liberation to say then we have at least got over it, because I am certain that many of us have had sleepless nights with the hopes of acing through the final semester. If we were to leave, we would leave in pride, without any regrets. I came, I see, I conquered, I won. 

We were always reminded to not be too contented of our accomplishments, as we are barely halfway through our lives. Greater and tougher challenges awaits. It is never wrong to be proud of ourselves, but more importantly is to be humble in pride. As we are basking in the thought that we are capable to overcome many things, lets not forget the people who stand by us, those who comfort, encourage and strengthen us along the way. Let us not forget our family, friends and relatives who never forget to pray for our success, and remember Him who makes all things possible. We are weak, but with Him, we are unbeatable. He is the ultimate Enabler. Thus, I am thankful the I have reached this far, and am even more thankful that I have the opportunity to attain more in the future. In the course of life, there will be limitless obstacles and trials. In times of struggle, just be strong and courageous, be fearless  and persevere, be calm and thankful. 

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9 


One Down, Another To Go
Sunday, November 10, 2013 @ 11/10/2013 09:52:00 PM


As I am writing this, seconds and minutes tick by, drawing a closure to the week long semester break that had passed. Reality creeps in and snap me out from the carefree environment which I've just got used to, reminding me to buckle up for the rip=roaring ride of semester 2 in another couple of hours. True enough, good times do always come to an end, and my time is running out much quicker than I had thought. Apparently there are only a few pinches of sand left in my hourglass before it is turned over, marking the beginning of the countdown of the days towards the end of pre-university.


The past week was a much needed break for me. it had been the most relaxing week since the start of my foundation, I must say. There is nothing more liberating than to be at home with my family and friends. The reunions I have had with my friends enabled me to catch up with their lives, and at the same time assured me that I am not the only one having a hard time in my pre-U studies as well. We exchanged stories besides reminiscing the good old times we have had and gossiping about other friends, offering advice and encouragement for each other in this transition from high school to university. Being t home made me feel loved, the troubles and misery of living alone abroad, especially the worries of what to eat for every meal faded. The emptiness in me after the first finals was refilled and overflowing with care, concern and love from my family. I am rejuvenated, replenished with a heightened spirit. I am ready for the second semester.


The holidays also provided me time to reflect over the past few months. The thought of the upcoming release of results bugged me constantly, and I tremble at the thought of those terrifying (and disappointing) grades on my slip. The more I tried to shove them behind my head, the more they emerged after each failed attempt of doing so. Now as I enter the commencement of the second semester, these wild thoughts haunt me all the more. Admittedly, I have slacked a little in the first semester, and am rather insecure of my performance in the exam. Knowing that there is a possibility of me under-performing mu acquaintances, I shudder while keeping my fingers crossed that even if it is so, let the difference be as minor as possible. Nevertheless, there is nothing to be done but to keep my head (and hopes) held high and ray for the best. I had resolved to straddle myself for the final semester, to strive to be outstanding in order to secure my newly attained scholarship.

Our programme's group on Facebook was quiet and peaceful for the past few days, and now reminders to complete our research assignments are starting to pop up. That intimidating and demoralizing stress had returned, but I am ready to sprint towards the finishing line once the gun is fired. I am back, and am never more ready to take down whatever obstacles that stand in my way to success.

Nearing the End
Thursday, October 24, 2013 @ 10/24/2013 09:32:00 PM


This is a reflection for my Language course, but since it seems to reflect my overall feelings of the semester, I've decided to share it in my long outdated blog.


In a glimpse of an eye, we have reached the end of our first semester in ASASIpintar. Time sure flies when we are having fun. Truly, the past few months studying in Pusat PERMATApintar Negara had been enjoyable because of the complete facilities and the conducive learning environment, thrilling as the variety of courses attempts to develop different rationales of the mind and challenging at the same time because these tough subjects are structured in a way that it probes the reasoning ability and true understanding of students toward a topic. One of the most exciting feature of the course for me is the manifestation of independent learning. Students were sundered from the norm where educators tend to conform to the spoon-feeding approach, and instead were required to self-study, where the importance of initiative comes to view.  

If you’d ask me, I would say that my favourite subject in the course would definitely be Language and Literary Appreciation. I for one am a keen English learner who loves to read and would always strive to improve my language skills. This subject certainly aided me to comprehend and appreciate the language more. By studying poems, stories and novels of different genre, I was exposed to more mature topics such as patriotism, crimes, traditions and religions, war, social pressure and love. I was able to adopt the different styles of writing – the fun, chick-lit and liberating style of Love in a Headscarf, the stern and harsh way of Independence Day, the random but clever style of The Tell-Tale Heart…. It is obvious that these had molded me into a better writer and a wider reader.

Another fulfilling experience obtained from the subject would be the production of our Creative Project. I now understand the hardship, stress and struggle behind every movie produced, as the process is not as leisurely as it seems. It is true that one would not be able to grasp its arduousness and complexity unless after a first-hand experience. All the sacrifice, toil and labour from actors, producers, and crew, be it on screen or behind-the-scenes, contribute to the perfection of the project. A movie is surely not a something that can be accomplished by a single person only because it needs a collaboration of many teams for various tasks, working as one along the way to completion.

Last but not least, I was able to equip myself with a handful new skills and tools in the language. An intriguing exposure was the training in academic writing, where we were taught on how to draft and finally produce a research proposal. As enthralling as it sounds, research is a world without bounds, where all sorts of questions are continually being generated, and answers unfold themselves to the researcher. Academic writing, which differs from freelance writing in every way, plays a crucial role in research, and through the help of the course, I have embarked on my journey as a young researcher, and believe that it will go on along the way to university and post-graduation, searching for and unveiling solutions and answers that will make the world a better place, and would assist in shaping mankind as a race that is most knowledgeable and capable. I have realized that research is the key to wisdom – the more we adventure, the more we will discover.

As a whole, the course had sculpted me as a more mature individual, and I have forged friendships which I am sure would last forever, while the subject had reinforced my foundation of the language and had elevate the height that I could reach as a user of the language. The casual and moderate delivery of the subject was what made me passionate and energetic about the language, and had caused me to look forward to every lesson to come. Despite the unwanted ending of this semester, I vow and resolve to be persistent in enriching myself with the command and competence of the language which is yet to be acquired.


Quatre Plat,

Josh

A Typical Blog Post
Sunday, August 18, 2013 @ 8/18/2013 01:03:00 PM


Signature, trademark, designation, copyright… These are all depictions of someone or something, which are special and unique, belonging to it and it only, where it serves as a sort of identity and intent. We have our own names, initials, character, nicknames and labels which have been given to us, distinguishing us from people around us, while others have their own for themselves. It is more or less like Lady Gaga – hands up a woman resembling a little bit of an alien look comes in to view every time her name is mentioned. Now THAT is her trademark.

A stereotype however differ in such a way that it is an assumption simply made by people who   does not know something or somebody very well, and has been widely accepted to become a common knowledge.

Stereotype – a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with a special meaning and held in common by members of a group.
-dictionary.com

Having read Love in a Headscarf by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed, it is relatively easy do identify that other than sharing her account of finding a potential husband, she also addressed the stereotypes which the world have given to her as a women, and a practicing Muslim. The element of stereotyping is so rich and powerful in this novel that it had made me realize that there are so many things in the world that are so much different than what we think they are. Stereotyping is so prevalent and habitual in the world we live in today, to the extent that it had developed into customary beliefs which we all hold on to. However, if we pause and ponder on these accustomed labels that have been ringing in our ears for such a long time, we would understand most of them are just plain ridiculous and have to truth value or whatsoever in them.

A typical MUSLIM WOMAN – a mysterious veiled victim of male oppression awaiting Western liberation, an uneducated foreigner, a slogan-shouting terrorist.

This is one of the stereotypes that have been centered in the novel, which obviously is untrue and absurd. As pointed by Shelina in the novel, Muslim women have their own rights, be it in  choosing Islam as a religion, engage activities which they are fond of, wearing the hijab or headscarf, get educated or most importantly in marriage.

A typical ASIAN – a nerdy, unexposed group of people who are only good at Maths, having weird cultures, illogical traditions and practices. Usually having an inapprehensible English slang.

Well, friends, waddaya think? Let’s just be thankful that at least there are people who acknowledges our intelligence and admires us for being so good in certain subjects. As for the other ‘qualities’ assigned, just shrug it off and put them at the back of our minds, shall we? We’re geniuses after all. ;)

A typical MAN – strong, but messy and unclean, irresponsible, insensitive, thickheaded, temper-driven, aggressive and brags about intimacy. Appears to have many interests, but it all comes down to women and football.

Come on, really?

A typical WOMAN – exactly the opposite of a man.

Now this is unfair. There are actually more stereotypes of a woman – not as smart as a man, obsessed with outward beauty, emotional, likes pink, thinks that they are right all the time and believes that the world revolves around them. Now girls, you do the evaluation. 



Meeting Again
Thursday, August 15, 2013 @ 8/15/2013 09:38:00 PM



It all started with a basketball game with friends. It was nothing much, just a simple initiative to keep ourselves healthy. Who would have thought that an accident will bring about a deeper understanding, a renewed view and perspective of life, and an experience of a whole new sentiment in me?

They could not recognize me, but I recognized them. She could not recognize me, but I too, recognized her.

Being a total dummy in basketball, I was amazed at my luck in scoring a few shots last Tuesday. I had never really enjoyed the sport until then, as I would never get past my previous friends in school. They were all too good at it. From time to time I would only get to touch the ball for less than a split of a second, and it would slip away, either due to my clumsiness and delayed actions in dribbling, or my friends’ swift reflexes in stealing the ball away from me. Getting a few shots in the basket got me sky-high, a temporary boost of self confidence, mounting aggression, and eventually an out-of-shape spectacles and a minor cut on the cheek, which comes with a bump near the corner of my left eye, free of charge.

I decided to get my glasses repaired today, because classes ended early. As I arrived at my destination, I was greeted by a few enthusiastic faces, of which belong to some who seemed like sales promoters. At the same time, they handed me a small envelope. “Take one, sir, and open it.” I politely rejected, leaving them behind, puzzled. Not again, I thought.

I have been through this before. Just a few weeks past, they had approached me with the same smile and the same gesture. Being nice, I opened my envelope for them, drawing out a piece of paper from inside. Before I could even take a look at it, a female promoter let out a high pitched squeal. A colleague of her ran over, peeked at the paper, gasped, and shook my hand forcefully. I was taken aback. They explained that I have won a prize, and in order to redeem it I would need to carry out a long list of procedures which include stopping by at their office two blocks away and take a photo with them. They also claim that they would receive a 20 percent commission if I do so. For a moment I believed them, but their over-enthusiasm and non-stop babbling irritated me. I never had the chance to say something, and as I listened to their explanation I came to realize that they were just beating around the bush, not making any sense at all. Suspiciously, I expressed that I was uninterested and walked away. They tried to stop me from letting go of this precious prize but failed when I casted them my indifferent look. Something MUST be behind it, somehow.

After having my glasses adjusted, I stopped by McDonalds to grab a quick dinner before I head back. As I was eating, I was interrupted by a familiar voice. “Excuse me sir, do you have a moment?” I tilted by head and saw a figure that could never be mistaken – a woman with cheeks hot pink, sweating, smiling, and a backpack carried behind her. Without hesitation I invited her for a seat, initiating to start a conversation with her, as we have met before. However, as soon as she sits she started briefing me about her volunteering career, gasping for air during intervals. “I’m not a beggar,” she assured me multiple times, then told me about the centre she works in, and about freewill donation. “Feel free to check my ID, license and browse through my log book as I explain.”Although I have heard all these before, I waited for her to finish and handed her a humble amount for donation. “We have met before,” I told her, but she didn’t seem to hear it, but handed me a sticker, thanked me and walked away. I couldn’t help but recall my encounter with her in Sunway Pyramid a few months ago, where she persuaded me into my first donation for charity.

As she was explaining with immense effort, wiping away trickles of sweat at her forehead, deep in my heart I admired her love and care towards the unfortunate and needy, her boundless love and her dedication as a volunteer. I never expected to see her again since the last time we met. I took a deep breath as her tone gentled down whenever she mentioned the poor children in her centre. Her love was infectious. Her care made me feel guilt. Her spirit had woken my underlying conscience. My misconception towards social workers had changed.

As I headed back home, I walked past the group of ‘promoters’, eyeing a few of them talking with passers-by , some in the middle of an enthusiastic handshake. I turned away quietly, leaving them to their business. I would never judge their job, as I myself was unsure that whether there was such a big catch. However, one thing I know for sure is that there would never be a free lunch in this realistic world…  These are all too good to be true.

Two separate meetings in a day, with two different comprehension and realizations. Would there be a third, I wonder? 




Awesome Stuff To Remember
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 @ 8/14/2013 07:47:00 PM


The holidays had just passed, it is high time to tune back to the usual routine. For a moment I had to refresh what time does our first lesson starts, I had to be reminded that jeans are not allowed in classes (because I wore it yesterday). Nevertheless, it had been an enjoyable week for everyone, as we get to chill and obtain all the rest that we need. Throughout the week, I have listed some of the awesome things to remember about the holiday. Sit back, relax, and reminisce the sweet memories that we had in the past week: 


  1. Staying up in bed everyday as long as you want 
  2. Waking up and realize you are on your own comfortable bed 
  3. Spending time with family members 
  4. Catching up with friends from previous school 
  5. Roaming around you hometown, reminiscing good old times 
  6. Enjoy a healthy home-cooked meal 
  7. Bathe in warm water! 
  8. Savoring your favourite delicacies of your hometown 
  9. Reading friend's statuses on how are they enjoying their raya break 
  10. Looking forward to resume classes 
  11. Enjoying completing all assignments for the week? 
  12. Sleeping with a smile everyday 

Well, now that all has ended, we have no choice but to let go of these memorable moments, pick up the momentum, work hard, play hard and prepare ourselves to the dreadful finals. However, a gentle reminder would be to embrace the moment of learning, and always see it as a proccess of basking ourselves in the rich, broad and boundless field of knowledge. Our education opportunity is a blessing, so cherish and value it, and most importantly, get the best out of it. 




Happy studying and Quatre Plat, 
Josh 

Tomato: to-MAE-to OR to-MAH-to?
Friday, July 5, 2013 @ 7/05/2013 02:17:00 PM
toamto

PRONOUNCIATION CONTROVERSY ALERT! 
It all started with "iambic pentameter". We were tested on poetic devices in our class quiz, and then told to mark our friends paper. 
Being a teacher is was tough, the vast variety of answers that you stumble upon will make you cry and laugh at the same time. Positioned in between right ad wrong, it is a teacher's duty to evaluate the accuracy of a student's answer and to allocate specific points based on thorough consideration and fair judgement. Questions arose when we reached the question asking a brief description of "iambic pentameter" - certainly something so foreign toward us, I believe, and we had to approach and consult Mr Salleh for further clarification. 
Iambic pentameter is the name given to a line of verse that consists of five iambs (an iamb being one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed, such as "before"). It has been a fundamental building block of poetry in English, used in many poems by many poets from the English Renaissance to the present day.
For further understanding, you can always refer to these sites below: 
http://iambicpentameter.net/
http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/glossaryItem.do?id=11938

This sparked our curiosity towards the syllable, where we learnt how some common words have all thee while been mispronounced. Take "lapel" and "lament" as as our example: How would you pronounce these two words? Hands up if you think they should be pronounced as "LAY-pel" and "LAY-ment". If you do, you are WRONG. They should be pronounced as "le-PELL" and "le-MEANT", both stressing the 2nd syllable. 
Many of us think that in language and literature, if you're good, then you're good. It is as if one is BORN with their strong language skills. However, it was until recently that I realized: Language CAN be improved. One might not be equipped with excellent grammar or unique writing skills and extraordinary grasp of vocabulary when they're little, but as time pases by, if effort were to be made by reading and writing, one's quality of work could be elevated significantly. It is just like how the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Kevin Rudd and our Student Representative Burhan from Asasipintar mastered the Chinese language (although we have to admit that Burhan has a lot more to do in order to catch up with Mr. Rudd). But that is not the point. The focus is on how deep were they attracted and drawn to the language, and how determined and dedicated their learning spirits are. 
Language can be a sector of knowledge which is without bounds. Despite many languages are depleting day by day, there are stil millions of languages uttered globally, all special in their own way, carrying essence and flavour which distinguishes them with other languages. Therefore, be proud of our languages and dialects, be it Malay, Mandarin or Hindi. Bear in mind that they represent our identity, remind us of our roots, and ultimately shape who we are today. Expand the horizons of our mother tongue, heighten our clinch in communicating in alternative languages, do our very best to preserve our languages. 

Quatre Plat, 
Josh


BIOGRAPHY
Joshua is my name
Awesomeness exist in simplicity
Like the red in the rose,
And the green in the grass.
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