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Showing posts from June, 2016

Posting Pictures of Children Online

I read an article in The Star recently about the risks of posting pictures of children online and it inspired me to write this blog post. I have talked about it before in one of my Youtube videos, but I wanted to add something to the whole discussion for my benefit and, hopefully, yours too.

Many people know that I purposefully don't post pictures of my son online. To be more specific, I don't post pictures that show his face. I would take pictures of him from the back, the top, or the side and post them instead.

The reason why I posted those pictures is because I want to share a story. So my focus is the story and not my son. Understanding that people respond best to pictures, I use this method to make the post more alive but without identifying my son.

A win-win situation in my perspective.

On top of that, to the best of my ability, I refuse to share humiliating pictures of my son even though he is "just a baby". I know he's cute but I think certain cuteness…

3 Hard Truths You Have to Swallow If You've Ever Been Teased

"I tried to speak in English, but my friends make fun of me. What should I do?"

Simple. You need new friends.

Relax, I'm kidding. Sort of.

Here's the hard truth: No matter how much you try, you can never control what people say about you. You can spend your whole life trying to impress people, but in the end you will only end up with more heartache. Because when you impress one person, there will be five people who aren't impressed.

If you continue running on this hamster wheel, then you will end up exactly where you started, but exhausted.

Here's the harder truth: Nobody said you *have to* continue running on the wheel. You can simply step off of it and walk away. Meaning, nobody said that you have to impress everyone and make everyone happy. That is something that you say to yourself and it is something that you have convinced to yourself that it can be achieved.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Here's the hardest truth: No matter what you do, good or bad, there…

Do You Have To Speak English All The Time? Nope.

I was in the bus with my friends and one of them asked me if I speak English at home. I told her, "No, not really." The truth is, I speak more Malay than I do English. She was shocked, because from her observation of my English speaking skills, she assumed that I must speak English all the time.

Nope, you don't have to. So, how did I do it?

A lot of people know me through the videos I uploaded on Youtube. Since 2011, I uploaded videos of me speaking on various topics and yes, I speak in English. I received emails and comments from people wondering how I polished my English speaking to become how it is today.

Without taking away my appreciation for people's good thoughts, I would like to emphasize one important point: Don’t be too mesmerised with what you see, thinking that it magically happened. What you see is a product of years of practise and patience.

Don’t expect to be an expert tomorrow when you only started today. Self-improvement is a process that takes time,…

4 English Skills Your Emotion is Overlooking

English, like any other languages, consists of four separate skills that are linked to each other in some way. These four skills are reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Any English proficiency tests such as MUET, IELTS, or TOEFL will test the students on each of these four skills.

So, when you say that your English is bad, are you seriously saying that you have no proficiency in any of the four skills? For a typical Malaysian student, I don't think that's the case. For those who went through the basic school curriculum, at the very least, you should be able to read in English, write in English, and listen to English.

Why? Because you have had years of practice in those three skills. In class, you read the texts given by your teacher in English, you listened to your teacher speaking in English, and you wrote your assignments or homework in English. You have been doing that for quite some time now, right? By right, you should be able to at least use those skills to unders…

Think Your English is Bad? Think Again.

"My English is bad."

That is a common thing I hear from many Malaysian students I have met. It is likely that they need some improvements in their English language, but to make a simple conclusion like "My English is bad" might be a bit of an overreaction.

But since it is a common expression among many people, we don't feel like it's out of place. I think we have created a culture around the idea that if you don't speak like a pro English speaker, that means that your English is by definition...bad. If many people believe it to be the case, then it must be true.

Right?

Wrong.

Try to examine what you say before you say it and see if it's true, not based on what other people say but based upon an objective standard. English is a language and the purpose of any language is to communicate meaning. If people understand what you mean, then that means you have fulfilled the purpose of language. Lets make that a standard.

Many students I've met actually…

Ramadan: Calm Before the Dawn

I woke up today before dawn for my suhoor (pre-dawn meal) before starting my fast. Unlike previous days, I took some time in between to reflect on the moment. This realization to reflect came to me when I remembered my friend's tweet:

Ramadan Thought: The quiet of the early morning is precious for reflection. Use suhoor to eat with focus, intention and appreciation. - Lee Weissman
Good advice. So I started reflecting. All it takes was for me to focus on the moment. It was quiet. Too quiet, but in a good way. There is a special sense of calm that descends at this moment. I push all away, deconstruct, and I take some of it all in again piece by piece - like a puzzle.

The picture became clearer.

At this moment, the senses are heightened. You could hear the whisper of the wind and the song of the crickets, as if your ears are granted a temporary opening to the slightest of sounds. When the worldly sounds diminish, natural sounds emerge.

In the quiet darkness of the early morning, your…

Is It Possible to Forgive and Forget?

To forgive, although it can be difficult, is not impossible. A person can forgive someone who has done something terrible to him.

But can he forget it?

The idea of forgive and forget sounds nice but is it doable? There are plenty of good-sounding sayings out there that don’t make sense. We shouldn’t be mesmerized by clever wordplay, and become oblivious of its less-than-clever content.

Are we taught to forgive and forget, or are we taught to forgive? Forgive and forget is obviously ideal, but many of us can recall countless examples of when forgetting is very difficult or just downright impossible.

For example, in the cases of trauma, a person can't forget the terrible things that have been done to him. To expect the person to simply forget is to expect the person to do something he is unable to do, and that is unjust.

To give a more specific example, can we realistically expect rape survivors to forget the horrible wrong that has been done to them? Forgiveness is still a possib…

Using Fear to Control Our Children

Please watch this video first: Intervention Program Exposes Kids to Jail, Raises Questions for Some - Crime Watch Daily

I have watched the video. Like what it is said at the beginning of the video, this program is controversial indeed. There are two sides of this story: the judge's side and the psychologist's side. Both of their opinions have merits.

For instance, from the judge's perspective, there need to be harsh reality check done on these kids because they are now "deaf" to anything their parents say (as evident from what the video described as the kids being disconnected from their parents). I can understand why the parents are on the judge's side, seeing that they are desperate and out of ideas.

At the same time, what the psychologist said has to be taken seriously. Understanding the emotional and psychological trauma of such a situation could help us make an educated guess as to the social trajectory that these kids might follow in the future.

Is it…