Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hari Kebangsaan~!

Selamat menyambut Hari Kebangsaan Malaysia! =)

Walaupun negara dah 'merdeka' dari tangan orang putih... tapi sayangnya, hati dan jiwa of the people masih belum 100% mencapai kemerdekaan. Jadi, not right lah... kalau hari ni I wishing you Hari Merdeka...

Bukan lah nak jadi cynic... tapi tu kan kebenaran?

Sekarang, hanya boleh tengok dan tunggu... mungkin suatu hari.. miracle boleh terjadi!

Heh.. bahasa memang dah koyak... Metaphor too for the country? =p

In Preparation for the 3rd and Final Lecture

One final lecture to go.. and I'm done! After Monday 1 Sept, no more stressing over lecture slides preparation.. no more having to be upset over people who nod off during my conversations to myself... and uh.. no more being paid 3x as much to show up on Mondays 12pm... lolz.. ah... the price I have to pay for peace of mind. =p

No doubt, lecturing/tutoring is a great way to earn extra pocket money, interact with humans regularly, and of course, learn new knowledge and skills. However, the whole experience has been incredibly taxing on my thesis progress. So unless I get roped in to teach again next year - something I don't particularly want to do - it's possible I won't be giving any more lectures until my thesis is finished.

To put my reluctance into perspective: I'm only one-third into semester, but already my thesis is suffering! So much so that I hadn't written more than 500 words in the last 5 weeks! At this rate... I'm not going to make my phd-completion deadline... =(

I know, I know... if I was so worried about my thesis I shouldn't have agreed to tutor in the first place. But one can say and do so many things in hindsight... so I'm just going to have to buck up once semester is over. =)

But anyways, a bit more about this coming lecture. In comparison to the last 2 lectures, Lect 3 looks to be the most info-heavy presentation. And indeed, the topic 'Regulating PR' is one that I had to work really, really hard at researching and then, work even hard to summarise my material into coherent bullet points.

Yea, I may have worked in PR.. but that doesn't mean I know the Code of Ethics like the back of my hand (do people reaaaally know the back of their hand well?!)... What's more, I'm not even a member of any of the professional accreditation bodies that I'll be lecturing about... so yes, this lecture is very much a uphill battle... and no.. I don't know either why I've been asked to give this lecture!

Of course.. seeing how I'm sick.. got a runny nose and bit of cough creeping up... I could always ring S (it's less than 20 hours till lecture!) and ask her to replace me...

=p

Yea right... as if that's going to happen. She'd probably make me give the lecture anyways (after some sympathetic words of encouragement of course)... and maybe even guilt me into feeling bad for asking her in the first place... seeing how she supposedly still sick.. =p

And besides, how can I possibly lecture the kids on 'Responsibility' and 'Accountability' when I don't even practice what I preach?

Yes, I seriously dug my own grave here... lolz.

Pre-Lect3-amble

2 down... 1 final lecture to go this coming Monday. Been working on my slides on and off (mostly on veeery long) since Friday and thankfully, it's (finally) coming really close to completion. =)

Keeping my fingers crossed that it'd be yet another good delivery!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Post-Lect.2

I did good.... ^^;;;

For several reasons:

1. I was able to pace myself this time around and fully used up my whole hour (55mins really)

2. I got a few laughs when I made my lame jokes - proving that people are actually paying attention

3. The same guy who nodded off last week was 'fishing' again - so I'm just going to make myself happy and assume he had a tired weekend... again. =p

4. WT says the lecture was good

5. SV says the lecture was good. And she didn't criticise me for using too many pics.. =p

6. I got applauded after I concluded the lecture; I didn't get any last week, so I'm really happy with the outcome!

So yea, congrats to me! Lolx~ =)

Of course, there is still room for improvement. For instance, SV says I should speak slower - but I was already speaking much slower than usual. If I went any slooooower.. I worry that I might put myself to sleep!

Secondly, for some reason SV keeps pointing out that I 'sounded' nervous, even though I wasn't! So I guess I need to work on sounding more confident?

Last chance to improve and impress next week. While lecturing has been an eye-opening experience, I'd be glad to go back to tutoring and devoting my weekends to catching up on my (currently) stalled thesis. For all the teaching experience that I'm gaining, it's still not going to help get my thesis written!

It Was Better. So Good!

I feel good... or at least, am feeling much better than I did last week..

In other words, I've learned from my mistakes and delivered a much better lecture! So good was it (relatively speaking to last week) that I received much applause after I concluded! =)

Hope I can keep the momentum up for my third and final lecture next week!

Lect. #2

Will be needing to present my 2nd lecture in less than 2.5hrs. Hopefully I won't butcher this one like last time.

Gotta go practice private speaking - in my head - but stay tune for updates!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pre-Lect. #2 Rant

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother... *insert rude explentive*

Disclaimer: This is horrible, horrible rant. And further proof of why this blog is (now) locked. I'm a genuinely nice person.. most of the time.. Really... but I absolutely, really do hate being patronised... it pisses me off and spoils my mood when people do that.

If you've got a point to make.. then you absolutely will need to impress me first. One of the few credos I live by is "not all geniuses have good points to make, and it's not necessarily the fools who sprout rubbish". Everyone's got a story to tell, and I plan on hearing them all. But I'll only take your advice if, and only if, you can impress upon me that you're better/really know your stuff. Otherwise, please don't bother.

有学习就有万万的可能。因为三个臭皮匠,赛过一个诸葛亮。所以谁有本事,就是我肯服从的老师!

The Chinese statement above probably sums up my feelings most, sorry that I can't describe it adequately in English. Anyways, onto the rest of the b*tchy rant!

My dear SV rang me up this morning to see how I was going with tomorrow's lecture slides... and I told her OK la.. I'm probably feeling a wee bit more confident than last week.. but (and I didn't tell her this) I've still got that 'will do then die' attitude.. which isn't really the best...

But anyways, I really don't know if SV was trying to boost my confidence or make it worse... cause her advice was absolutely duh.

She says, and I quote, "I noticed you had too many pics in your last presentation."

Hello! I only had 5 pics k... 1 for illustrative purpose... 4 for case study. Her reasoning for having less pics is cause it distracts students (wtfh?) and unless I was planning to get them to respond (ie tute-style) there wasn't much point in showing so many pics.

I really don't get this point. And what worries me is I'm going to have 5x as much images for tomorrow.

Now, before you say, aren't I being unfair to my lecturer? After all, she's only trying to help... let me give you my rationales:

1. I'm lecturing to a bunch of Y-Gen-ers.. or keyboard gen.. or people who have grown up only knowing colour TV and spend 20 hrs per day on the Net. They are bombarded with images 24/7 and typically have very, very short attention span. If it's not mentally stimulating, they turn off. Trust me, I know. I live with two Y-ers.

2. I'm talking case studies. Now unless my audiences have uber vivid imaginations, or can mind-read.. they would have 0 clues on what I'm talking about. No show (of pics).. = no can tell (what the heck I'm talking about)

3. PR is not my forte; I didn't even do well in the subject when I took it during my Honours year. Thus, if I had nothing to show.. I'd soon run out of things to talk (about).

4. I believe the only way to do good PR, is to learn from experiences. If you can't experience them first-hand, then other people's stories are the second-best way to go. After, there is only so much theory can do for you.

5. I am not one of those uber charismatic lecturer/leader who can pull off lengthy talks with 0 slides, to a room packed full of eager listeners. I do however, very much aspire to be one in the near future! =)

So in sum, yes, it's easy for SV to comment and say do this/do that... but until I've armed myself with years of experience and/or when my brain is overflowing with knowledge.. I think I've simply got to do whatever (I believe) I can to make the lecture memorable. If that involves heaps of graphics.. then so be it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Kitchen


Commemorating my 200th post with a lovely pic of crumbed barramundi on a bed of asparagus and mashed potato... drizzled in lemon-butter juice and a dash of chili flakes and lemon peel.

Yes, it tasted very, very good. =)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hindsight Evaluation of the Worst Lecture Ever

Pity that the worst lecture was given by me. Maybe it's karma since I'm always complaining that SV's lectures are boring... *cries cries*

Ok, in hindsight, I should have said 'no' to SV... should have spent more time researching and putting more slides.. should have talked slooooooooooowly.. should have... should have... mmm... removed this topic from the reader like 6mths ago then this problem wouldn't have happened.. should have slept less.. or something.. Really.. I should have just said 'no' when I had the chance.

T.T

As the lecture progressed, I could feel that I was going to be in deep, deep trouble: too little slides, too much time. I mean, who was I kidding? How could I have carried a 50min lecture on Race, Politics and the Role of Public Relations... I can't and I couldn't!

Man.. I'm in such an ultra low and shytty mood now.

I can only plea insanity lack of experience.. in view that this is my first ever lecture in my entire life.. not a presentation.. A LECTURE.... so due to the absolute dunno-how.. I totally ka-boomed my first lecture.

In hindsight.. I learned
- to NEVER ever present at a lecture that I know absolutely nothing about
- that I must allocate more time for feedback on my slides and of course.. spare more time for research..
- prepare a summary slide
- more slides.. more slides.. more slides
- no more YUM CHA

Now you might think that after today's shytty performance, that's it for me. But I'm a demn masochist... so meaning.. I'm not ready to give up just yet. I've definitely learnt some very important lessons today.. and I sincerely believe I can only do better in the coming future.

Of course.. the possibility that I'd be boring for the rest of my life has crossed my mind.. but I don't believe I'm thaaaat boring...

Right? And er Jeanette.. you don't have to answer.. =p

If I was really a pain to listen to, then how do you explain the fact that past students have honestly (I hope!) told me that they've enjoyed my tutes.. and that we still hang out even after the semester has ended..? I have documented emails in case you're a non-believer. lolx~

Also, if not for my eer.. non-boringness, how else can you explain this really, really unbelievable and mysterious incident of a student coming up after lecture to say she wants to swap over to my tute? She says, and I quote, "that I feel I can learn more from [Gin]!"

Yes, it's been a crazy, crazy day. I've yet to make up my mind whether to laugh or cry over all that has happened.. one thing I'm clear is that I'm really, really super glad and appreciative that Nat Nat is online to give me comfort!

Will be lecturing on Media Relations next week! Can't wait for Monday to arrive so I can make amends and prove that I'm a worthy lecturer!

It Was So, So Very Bad......

Lecture presented.. and I think my career as a lecturer has died even before it began. *sobs buckets*

Details at the other blog... because yea.. it would be pretty bad if anyone not-invited to read.. actually stumbled on this post.

1st Lecture Presentation

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Yours truly will be presenting her first ever lecture to a room (potentially) filled with 148 media&comm students.

So true. And it's all happening in less than 10 hours.

OMFG.

Only time will tell whether this marks the beginning of a budding (?) career in academia, or the end of a non-existence one.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

1st Lecture.. on Monday~!

I might have mentioned it somewhere here or on msn before.. but I've been 'scheduled' to present two lectures for the Asian Public Relations subject - for which I'm already facilitating three x 2hrs tutes.

Now the original plan was to guest lecture for Week 5: Managing Media Relations in Asia and Week 6: Regulating Public Relations. I've already gotten a very, very minimalist draft ppt ready - just need to spend the weekend fine-tuning and adding more details and stuff.

Then on Friday (yesterday) at 3tis in the afternoon - SV drops this bombshell: she's not feeling well so would I please be on standby to give Week 4's (this very coming Monday) lecture on Race, Politics and the Role of Public Relations.

OMFG..

Problem #1: New subject = No previous slides = So will need to start planning the lecture from scratch.

Problem #2: Technically, I have about 60 hours to prepare. Minus 21 hours of sleep, 15 hours to eat (and play?), 2 hours blogging (ok.. maybe I do with less here! lolx~).. 4 hours reading my PR notes.. at least 10 hours working on my thesis and readings.. and I have just that 8 hours to completely plan a lecture. Sounds like much.. but let me assure you IT IS NOT!

Problem #3: I could have just said no.. but aiyaa... if the lecturer is (going to be) too sick to present lecture... what can I say ar?

It really wouldn't be so bad if I was given more time to actually absorb the news.. and the most bugger of all is SV had originally planned on informing me on Sunday whether she needed me to take the lecture..

Can you imagine the panic I'd be in if that had actually happened? T.T

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hellooo Kitty!

If you're a girl.. chances are you own something produced by Sanrio. If you're a guy.. even more likely... NOT... but then again.. one really never knows... lolx~

Had planned on blogging about the global reach of Japanese popular culture.. then realised that the subject of global reach pales in comparison to the types of Hello Kitty products that actually exists on the market.

Case in point: Hello Kitty Candy Gel Lip Gloss

Isn't it great to know that not only do the glosses look good.. they taste sweet too!


Would have loved to post more Hello Kitty sightings.. but I wasn't allowed to take any pics where I bought this gel.. which ar.. was at a local sweet shop in case you were wondering.. What I will point out is the fact that despite being a soft jelly-like substance.. er.. yes.. gel.. there's a choking hazard warning. Go figure~

Urban Screens Melbourne 08

Yet another great conference is coming to Melbourne... =)

Here's the blurb.. which really doesn't say much so you might wanna click on the link.. or not.. =p

Urban Screens Melbourne 08 (USM08), hosted by Fed Square Pty Ltd, is the first international urban screens conference and exhibition to be staged in the Asia Pacific region, following successful events in Amsterdam in 2005 and Manchester in 2007. USM08 will present an integrated conference program of keynote lectures and panel sessions in the BMW Edge Theatre and an outdoor multimedia program of experimental poster sessions, curated screenings, workshops and screen-based projects.

Registration is now open. And while I would simply love to attend all talks - it's on from 3-5 Oct - unfortunately it's going to cost me a rather hefty $200 to do so.. Pity can't ask from the uni for funds since the conference has absolutely nothing to with my thesis..

As my bro puts it: waste of time AND money.... Oh well~

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Go Beijing!!

What can I say except... 中国万岁!

If you missed the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.. you should do your absolute best to track it down via YouTube or you can click here and here and here and here for the absolute best moments (assuming the videos still available)

London 2012? Pffft~~

Friday, August 08, 2008

Intercultural Communication

Remember how I had this grand scheme to attend four conferences in the next 12 months? Click here if you need a reminder. =D

Despite my *ahem* enthusiasm to present, realistically I can only aim to participate in two: Pacific & Asian Communication Association (PACA) Conference in Jan 2009 and the ICA Regional Conference in July 2009.

Abstract deadline for the former is due Aug 15. Here's the plan:

Conference Sub-Theme Addressed: Mediasation and Globalisation

Title: Living in Uncertain Times? (G)local Identities in a State of Flux

Abstract: For many individuals, the nation-state is widely perceived as the authority that constructs cultural meaning and ascribes feelings of belonging for its governed subjects. In recent times however, globalisation and the advert of new media are increasingly seen as viable challenges to the position of the nation-state as the primary force in influencing the mindset and actions of its governed subjects. Through an in-depth reading of key theoretical frameworks and models, and drawing upon Malaysia as a case study, this paper will investigate to what extent forces of globalisation and the media have impacted conventional understandings about the self, nation and state. Instead of embracing the notion that the nation-state is well and truly on "its last legs", this paper finds (or proposes?) that the nation-state still bears significant weight in framing inter- and intra-cultural relationships and communication. In this respect then, official discourses and policies that integrate multi-ethnic communities into the national fold are essential ingredients for designing and sustaining successful nation-building projects.

And the biodata I'm sending in goes like this:

Ms Tong Gin Chee is a PhD candidate in the Media and Communications Programme, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne, Australia. Her current research investigates the role of old and new media in the (re)construction of national identities, and focuses specifically on the Malaysian Chinese minority community as a case study.

Wish me luck that I'd get accepted to present!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

And I Survived the 1st Week of Tute... =)

Though it's only been the first week of tutorials, insofar my cubs are looking good. =D Not aesthetically la.. but more on a general humane-interactive-polite level... if that description actually makes any sense... =p

If I was to rank my classes, I would say Thurs 2pm is the most interesting, follow by Thurs 9am and finally Wed 11am. I'm not sure if it's because Wed's class is too big.. or that Thurs' kids are more attentive and intelligent. While I won't say any of my tutes are 'boring', the Thurs 2pm is shaping up to be the most controversial and critical.. and hence, most interesting tute of all three.

For sure, I've got some really intelligent kids in there.. and it's often the case that you only need one kid to rock the boat to generate some really cool ideas. Admittedly too however, that if the discussions aren't handled in a mature and calm manner, I could potentially have a verbal war on my hands.. so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I never have to witness such a day!

Likewise, I would say another worry, if not the biggest worry for many 'international' tutors, is having to meet/teach smart arses who dominate the discussions and/or bully the tutor and other tute members.. so I count myself really blessed that I've yet to come across any racist/sexist bigots~!

The operative word here is of course, 'yet'.. And since it's only been the first week.. my token bully might still show up.. but let's hope not!

Anyways, while my cubs aren't terribly talkative.. thankfully they aren't totally silent either. After facilitating three classes, I think I've (almost) perfected this really crazy formula to get them to respond and contribute during tute:

It usually starts with me throwing out an idea/topic/issue/problem and giving the class a nice warm and encouraging smile.. like this: =D If I'm lucky, the discussion will actually start flowing from there on.

Unfortunately, I don't always get what I want... and peoples don't always talk when they're supposed to.. So what usually happens is a couple of moments of awkward waiting and silences before someone eventually takes the plunge and open his/her mouth.

Thankfully, the discussion does last quite a fair bit before it dies a natural death and we move on to another topic. But every now and then someone will say something bad/stupid/nasty and the conversation spirals (once more) into awkward silences.

When such unhappy moments arrive, this is when I feel extremely, extremely grateful for my ability to sprout random nonsense.. =)

Ok, so maybe the transition from busy conversations to awkward silences back to noisy discussions isn't as smooth as silk.. and does take me a wee bit of time to think about what to say next.. but at least it's way better than total no-speaking!

So I guess... despite the few hiccups and dirty hands (from cleaning/writing on the whiteboard).. I think.. yea.. all in all I'm really looking forward to the rest of the 10 weeks~! ^^;;

Merdeka? Not Quite There Yet...

It just hit me several minutes ago that Malaysia's 51st Merdeka Day is just around the corner.. in three weeks to be exact.. And while there's nothing shocking about the news.. what frightened me personally is how, for the very first time in my life, I came so very, very close to forgetting about the significance of August 31...

Now for those who know me, and know me well.. I often associate August with my dad's bday.. and of course the nation's grand becoming. But while the former is not far from my mind, the latter has barely scrapped my consciousness at all..

Blasphemous? You bet it is!

I would like to blame the fact that I'm far away from home.. hence the forgetfulness.. but I'm almost always surrounded by Malaysians, so that excuse won't wash.

If there was any way to explain things.. it might be that I've fallen, without realising, into some distressed state of (self-)denial. So appalled am I at the current situation that I hadn't been able to find the will (and time and energy) to follow up on what's going on at home.

Which is.. quite needless to say... really, really bad.. and I fear that I might one day become so dejected that I'd even abandon my PhD!

*.*

No la.. I don't think that day will actually come... I'm too stubborn to give up on the path I've chosen.

Nevertheless, I think the question of who we are and what being Malaysian means will resurface as our nation's Independence Day draws close.. and it could very possibly resonant even more than in previous years. After all, the 50th mark was supposed to be a time where we 'found' ourselves.. but instead.. hell broke loose (and BN lost its 2/3 majority).. prompting even more questions.. and a whole bloody lot of confusion and nonsensical chaos.

I believe Malaysia can only gain Merdeka when her peoples are well and truly released from the shackles of race and prejudice. Until that moment arrives, I guess I can only keep on writing and hoping for Real Change to happen.

Come join me? =)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

1st Tute of 2008

Alright.. had my first tute which was absolutely packed to the brim.. so much so that one third of the chairs were *ahem* borrowed from neighbouring rooms. lolx.

I was already mentally prepared to facilitate a huge class.. what I didn't expect was the four students who tute-crashed (and the one absentee who missed the very important first tute!). So currently, the tute stands at 25 (or possibly 26) kids.. which is really, really big~!

While I personally am not worried about the huge number.. SV warns that other students might be less enthusiastic with the arrangement.. seeing how over-enrollment means they might not be getting the attention/time they paid for. Which of course puts me in the spot... Do I kick students back to where they belong.. or should I be a little lenient and let things be.. seeing how the class seems to have.. or is settling in nicely..

No doubt, there's also the other important side-effect to think about: the fact that my Wed class is big can only mean the other tutes are small-er.. which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it.

As I said.. while I'm not fussed with my big class.. I know the other tutor isn't happy with her class of 12 kids.. shockingly low I know.. And it seems her very thick Indian accent isn't helping to win her favours either...

Finally.. and probably most importantly, one simply can't ignore the dynamics of the class.. a talkative bunch could liven up a small class.. but in a big class.. they'd kill the chance for mutual exchange of knowledge..

So in sum... I suppose small tute = more personal attention.. but could also mean.. longer silences..

Whereas big tute = less personal attention.. ease for students to blend into crowd (which is bad for me!).. but fingers crossed.. it could mean great discussions and NO silences~!

While both cases have their pros and cons.. I guess I'll reserve judgment til the week is over. After all, there's still four more classes to go.. two of which are mine! so hopefully we'll have a better idea what to do next once we know how the students are (un)evenly distributed.

With all the craziness and mess that's created.. who knows but maybe.. just maybe.. the school will relent and give us back the two tutes we were initially promised!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Chocolates Oh-So Divine~~

Took a 3-hr crash course to learn more about the food of Gods on Saturday.

Came out with tips on how to make the world's best hot chocolate and ganache-filled chocolate truffle.. an absolutely satiated feeling of pure bliss thanks to a tummy-filled of the world's best hot chocolate... and a packet full of lovely, lovely, to die-for chocolate truffles to indulge in for the rest of the week. ^^;;;

They may not look like much.. but the truffles are simply divine~ Hard on the outside (due to a choco-shell).. the soft ganache inside will take your soul once they hit the warm center of your inner palette.


Chocolates: Absolute heaven on earth~