Monday, June 13, 2011

Finding Tranquility and found it in this place.

I went to Bukit Tinggi last year and stayed in Meranti apartment. We had a good time in Bukit Tinggi and we even went to Genting Highlands on the second day. Then, my husband's friend suggested that we go to Janda Baik some other time. Janda Baik? What is so special about this place. I knew about this many years ago when teaching the Literature novel Jungle of Hope. So, to me, Janda Baik is located in the middle of the jungle. The characters came to my mind; of Pak Kia-and the villagers' hardship when opening the settlement. That was what I knew about this place. After some time, I have read in the newspaper about a few pricey resorts in this place and came to think..why are they so expensive? Why would people pay thousands of ringgit for just one night stay?So I went googling during the March school holiday about the resorts Janda Baik can offer. True, the rates that the villas offer were faaaar beyond our budget. I didn't give up. I read blogs about the resort in Janda Baik and I finally fell in love with D Ark Resort. So far, the reviews were very helpful and attractive. We decided to make a call and requested them to provide us the room rates. (there's no website of this resort). We booked the place almost 2 months earlier as we were worried that the place will be fully-booked in the mid-year school holidays.

Finally, the day came. We departed from Johor around 11 a.m, stopped at Ar-Rawsha in Pandan, KL for lunch and reached D Ark Resort around 4 p.m. The kids were so excited when they saw the river flowing in front of the resort. They quickly performed their prayers; we did Jama' Ta'khir and around 5.30..they all took their first dip in the river at Janda Baik.

The room rates as for 2011:
Seroja (Junior Suite) (1Q) RM 232.00 Nett; Dahlia (Superior-1Q, 1S)RM 186.00 Nett, Melur (Deluxe-1Q,1S) RM209.00 Nett. Melati (Deluxe-3s) RM209.00 Nett. Mawar (Exec.suite 1K) 301.60 Nett.

Standard (air-conditioned)4s RM220.00 Nett.

I highly recommend this place as it offers peace and tranquility. TEl: 09-2330031.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Phew!!! Guess I've left my blog unattended for so many weeks. Well then, here's something for you. I came across these notes in one of the websites and felt that it would be very useful for my students. Just make sure you print it out and have them pasted in your essay book. It guides you to write a better essay. Remember, Continuous Essay is the heart of the SPM English Paper. It is 32% of the whole paper!!

Well, let's get straight to the point. These are the stages of writing that you should apply.


This stage is very important because this is where you write down all your ideas and work out whether the ideas are connected and where they are connected.

You can use any of the strategies below:

A Listing

Write down all your ideas on the topic given. Don’t worry if your ideas seem jumbled up and messy, or if your spelling is faulty at this point. Some ideas may duplicate other ideas, so the process of listing them all down will help you to pick these out and delete them if necessary.

B Clustering/Mind mapping

This is where you write down the topic in the middle, and draw ‘arms’ out from that middle. The arms will each have one separate idea. This method helps you to see the connections between ideas. You can link one idea to another and yet another.

C Using Wh-questions

Using Wh-questions about the topic is another useful way to get ideas on a topic.



This is when you organize your essay. Select usable/relevant ideas and discard those which are not relevant. Then pick out which point you consider most important, the second most important and the least important. Write down whatever extra points you can think of to support your main point.

Prepare the outline of your essay.


ii)Main Body - Paragraph 1 main idea 1 & supporting ideas, details
- Paragraph 2 main idea 2 & supporting ideas, details
- Paragraph 3 main idea 3 & supporting ideas, details


Start writing your essay. Organize your points into paragraphs.

i) Writing an Exciting Introduction
Grabbing a reader’s attention can be tricky, but here are some ideas on how to make an introductory paragraph more interesting.

a)Start with an interesting or little-known fact

b)Start with a question

c)Start with an amusing short story/real-life incident

d)Start with an exclamation, or a short dialogue

e)Start with a definition – definitions can be very important in helping you to stay focused on the topic. Commonly used in narrative or argumentative writing.

f)Start with a general statement

ii)Writing Good Paragraphs

A good paragraph must include a topic sentence. A topic sentence usually appears at the beginning of a paragraph. The topic sentence normally states the main point. This main point is then further elaborated by supporting details. Ensure that the supporting details support and strengthen, not overwhelm, the main point. Facts, examples or personal experiences are good supporting details.

iii)Cohesive devices

Cohesive devices are used to link sentences, paragraphs and ideas. They provide logical connections between ideas. Linking ideas in sentences and paragraphs is extremely important because it allows the essay to flow smoothly and is a highly important part of writing a good essay. Some common cohesive devices are as follows:

Function :To link ideas together and show that similarity in ideas
Cohesive Devices : similarly,furthermore, likewise, moreover

Function: To add information

Cohesive Devices:besides that, moreover, in addition, on top of that, …also…

Function:To give examples;for example, for instance, to illustrate

Cohesive Devices: To show differences in ideas/contrasting ideas;however, on the other hand, in contrast, on the contrary, in although, …but…, in spite of that

Function:To show result or consequence of the previous idea

Cohesive Devices:as a result, consequently, therefore, so, thus

Function:To show logical progression of ideas or time sequence
Cohesive Devices:firstly, secondly, lastly, first, second, next, then

Function:To summarize ideas
Cohesive Devices: in short, to sum up, overall, to summarize, briefly

Function:To conclude
Cohesive Devices:therefore, in conclusion, as a result

After you have written your essay, spend some time to check the following:
i) Spelling errors – make sure the words are in English, not Malay Language and that the plural forms are correct
ii)Grammatical errors – subject-verb agreement, tenses, punctuation, improper use of abbreviations and symbols (e.g. do not use the symbol ‘&’, SMS short forms like ‘u’ for you and so on)

Points to note:
Ensure you have answered the question or topic

Ensure the main ideas have been well supported

Ensure the paragraphs are logically presented and the ideas flow properly

Ensure the conclusion is linked to the points presented

Check to make sure ideas are clear

Use words from the correct subject register (e.g. ‘customer’ instead of ‘person’ etc.)

Delete unnecessary information

Now, rewrite your essay. Make sure your writing is neat and clear. If you have extra time, it is a good thing to read through it one last time. Your essay must be approximately 350 words.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


A glorious morning it is today as I am giving an English Proficiency course to 30 non-optionists teachers. The module aims at becoming an effective reader in which I have to help the teachers to develop an awareness that good readers have certain characteristics which help them to read more effectively.
What are the things I have accomplished this morning?
1.I carried out the first slot and here are some of their products for the 1st session. These presentations came from 3 activities. The first was to predict the reading passage entitled "The Good Reader". The Course Participants (CPs) have to write down their predictions beginning with the sentence "I think the article will say …".The CPs came out with predictions which led them to understand the test they were about to read.Mission accomplished. Objectives achieved.
2. The 2nd activity was where the CPs had to create a Questionnaire: "Am I A Good Reader?" after reading the text. They came up with relevant statements and managed to produce a simple questionnaire based on the text. Objectives achieved.
3. The 3rd activity was where the CPs had to design a Reading Superhero. This was fun. They had to present their superheroes with super reading powers. Objectives achieved. Mission accomplished.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Today is considered as the happiest day for all the SPM 2010 candidates.As a teacher, of course there will be butterflies in my stomach. I was so proud of the students' achievements. 18 perfect scorers, and one of my students emerged as the best student in the Johor state. He scored 10A+s.

Ho Zheng Han, amongst 39 best students in the Johor State.He received his award in Johor Bahru, presented by the Director of Johor State Education Department. COngratulations Zheng Han!!!!

What else made me proud of them? 3 students from my class(5B2010) were among the 18 perfect scorers; Najwa Athirah, Leong Hui Ling and Ho Zheng Han. Besides, 5 choir team members also soared as the perfect scorers; Hon Shu Tian, Chong Xin Jie, Wong Jiun Kai, Tai Jia Ling and Chee Xin Ying. Congratulations to all of them. And, I felt happy that my 5B class passed all the papers.It's a 100% achievement and I am happy for them. As for the English Language paper, I taught 3 classes last year. Hmmm...managed to analyse their results;

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Malay Chronicles: Bloodlines (Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa)

Based loosely on the 16th century historical document entitled ‘The Malay Annals’, ’The Chronicles of Merong Mahawangsa’ is an action-packed epic feature film, with mythical characters, magical moments and dazzling visual-effects sequences. Merong Mahawangsa was a descendant of Alexander the Great, a renowned naval captain and traveler who came to Asia several hundred years ago.

The year is 120 AD… a time when the Roman Empire is at the height of its power, during the reign of Hadrian – one of the Five Good Emperors. Meanwhile in China, the Han Dynasty is firmly cemented as the ruling empire and is expanding into Central Asia… one hundred years before the period of the Three Kingdoms. As the Roman fleet did their repairs and traded in Goa, they asked Merong Mahawangsa to escort a Roman prince to Southeast Asia, to wed a beautiful Chinese princess from the Han Dynasty. The Chinese princess and the Roman prince are supposed to meet halfway and be married on neutral grounds.

However, the pirate nation of Geruda had other plans. They decided to kidnap the Chinese princess and use her as ransom. En route to the Straits of Melaka, Merong Mahawangsa’s fleet was attacked by Geruda’s forces while stopping at a small island to replenish supplies.

Will Merong Mahawangsa be able to rescue the Princess and re-unite her with her betrothed in a marriage that is set to bring together two great civilizations from the East and West ?

Action / Epic
Coming Soon
Yusry Abdul Halim

Stephen Rahman-Hughes, Jing Lu,
Gavin Stenhouse, Craig Robert
Fong, Eric Karl Henrik Norman,
Keith Chong, Keith Chong,
W. Hanafi Su, Dato' Rahim Razali,
Khir Rahman, Ummi Nazeera,
Nell Ng, Jehan Miskin, Umi Aida,
Kuswadinata, Mano Maniam,
Ravi Sunderlingam


Sunday, February 27, 2011



Main character of the novel. Studies in England. Happy to be away from her village. Did not have good relationship with her parents especially her father due to her defiant behaviour and tomboyish outlook. An outspoken and independent girl. Envious of her adopted sister, Madhuri. A helpful friend especially when she claimed responsibility for letting the bull run loose in order to save Mohd. Asraf's skin. Caring for her sick mother and Old Lady. Intelligent as she managed to further her studies in the United Kingdom.



A beautiful and polite lady. A submissive wife and daughter. Religious and good at reciting Quranic verses. Conservative compared to her sister, Azreen. Protective of her sister when they were young. A polite and caring daughter. Concerned about her sick mother.



A dedicated and popular teacher in a local school on the island. Independent since young. Good friends with Azreen while they were in school together. A caring grandson who is concerned about his grandmother's well-being. Loves Madhuri and wanted to take her with him to Kuala Lumpur.



Madhuri and Azreen's father. Active and strong for his age. A stern father to Azreen since when she was young. Not on good terms with Azreen since the motorcycle accident which paralysed Azreen's mother. A manipulative father who let Madhuri become Haji Ghani's second wife in order to protect his interests. An egoistic person who could not accept Madhuri's love affair with Mohd. Asraf and in the end killed Madhuri in a fit of anger at the rubber plantation.



The village headman who fell for Madhuri and took her as his second wife. Neglects his first wife, Fathihah in the process. An influential man on the island. Hides the cause of his wife's death in order to protect his reputation. Knows of Madhuri's affair with Mohd. Asraf. A religious man.



An obedient daughter of Pn. Kamsiah. She helps Mohd. Asraf to look after his grandmother while he looks for the medicinal plants. She is also a responsible girl as she warns Azreen about the mob that is lead by Mohd. Asraf to the Old Lady's house. She is gullible as she likes to ponder over the gossips and rumours told by Normala, the village gossip.



The rumour monger of the village and her topic of interest is on Madhuri and how she died. She is sneaky and malicious when she coaxed Mohd. Asraf to confront the Old Lady, accusing her as the reason why his grandmother's health deteriorates and she finally dies. She is also superstitious when she blamed the Old Lady's visit to Mohd. Asraf's house as the reason for the continuous rain.



An educated woman as she has knowledge of herbal medicine to treat illnesses. Her house is always neat and situated by the hillside. She is a caring and concerned woman as she takes Azreen in and gives her food and shelter whenever she has fights and problems. She is also a resourceful person and she is a good cook and her recipes and secret ingredients are very much sought after.



Azreen's rich foster parents whom she stayed with for two months foster programme. Datuk and Datin helped her financially in her studies in the UK. Even though she only stayed with them for a short period of time, she still maintains a good relationship with them. Even though they are foster parents, they treat Azreen as their own child. Azreen calls her Mak Cik which signifies their close relationship.



The Bomoh is the person whom the villagers seek for traditional cure. It is through the Bomoh that the mysterious happenings that took place in the village are uncovered. The truth behind the death of Madhuri and the status of Azreen are also finally revealed by him.


She is Haji Ghani's first wife and appears to adore Madhuri. However, she secretly hold grudges against her husband's young wife. She feels that her husband favours the young wife more than herself. She tries her best to win her husband's heart after the death of Madhuri




Azreen visits her family's graves. She leaves a flower on each grave and leaves quietly. She leaves a flower at the hillside where the Old Lady was buried, too. As Azreen leaves, she sees a smiling figure which resembles Madhuri's smiles.



Azreen delves on the bomoh's words that Madhuri was not her real sister. She encounters a shadow of a woman from behind the wooden fence again that directs her to a woodpile a few feet away behind her house. Azreen and her father walk towards the woodpile and see a "parang" that Saleh used to chop wood. There is white and sticky stain at the edge of the parang. Azreen immediately recalls Normala's words "She had white blood" and she stares at her father in disbelief. Saleh recalls how fond was he with Madhuri and how he found her as a baby at the paddy field. He stumbles upon Madhuri and Mohd Asraf together at the rubber plantation. In his fury, he kills Madhuri and her body knocks over the latex-filled container. Upon hearing this revelation, Azreen runs away from her father.

Saleh suffers a heart attack and dies. Meanwhile in the village, a rumour spreads like a wildfire that a woman who looks suspiciously like his dead daughter had been wandering about at the time of his death.


Azreen awakes to a flurry of knocks on her door. She finds out that Nek has passed away and Mohd Asraf is heading towards Nek's house with a few men for revenge. Azreen tries to stop him and in a struggle, stabs him at the foot with a spade. The torch that he was holding fell onto the wall of the house and soon the house was on fire. Azreen finds Nek, barely alive lying beside the stove and she advises Azreen to learn to forgive before it is too late. Azreen's father saves her before the whole house crumbles.

Mohd Asraf confesses to Azreen that he loves Madhuri and they were planning to abscond from the island when he was offered a teaching course in Kuala Lumpur. Madhuri wanted to confess to her husband, parents and Azreeb about her affair with Mohd. Asraf. However, Madhuri was found dead at a rubber plantation. Azreen then meets Awang, the bomoh, who tells her that Madhuri was not her real sister. Awang also confesses that he was the one who left the gate open that led to the motorcycle accident that paralysed her mother. Awang also confirms that he had seen Madhuri and Mohd Asraf together several times in the rubber estate. The chapter ends with Haji Ghani, the headman thinking about his young wife meeting her lover on that fateful day when she was killed.



Siti keeps an eye on Mohd. Asraf's grandmother (Nek) while he goes out to get her medicine. Pn. Kamsiah and Normala are curious at the Old Lady's presence at Mohd. Asraf's house.

The Old Lady tries to cure Nek. Azreen is puzzled to discover a university prospectus that reveals Mohd. Asraf's intention to pursue his studies in Kuala Lumpur. When Azreen returns home, she sees the bomoh scampering behind the bushes. As she confronts the bomoh, he informs her about the mob incident at Mohd. Asraf's house.

She immediately runs to Asraf's house. Normala blames Azreen for bringing the Old Lady to Mohd. Asraf's house and causing heavy downpour to hit the village. An argument starts and Azreen's father intervenes to stop the commotion. Meanwhile, Nek is beginning to recover and Mohd. Asraf is extremely relieved. They thank the Old Lady for bravely coming over to cure Nek and the rain finally stops.



Azreen's mother dies. Meanwhile, Mohd. Asraf continues to worry over his sickly grandmother. Mohd Asraf goes to the market to look for medicinal plants for his grandmother but fails to find any. In desperation, he goes to the Old Lady's house for help. The Old Lady hesitates at first but after much persuasion from Azreen and Mohd. Asraf, she finally agrees to go over to Mohd Asraf's house to help his grandmother.


Asraf is concerned about his grandmother's deteriorating health. At the same time, Hj. Ghani, mourns at Madhuri's tombstone. While deep in thoughts, he almost saw someone, a woman in a flowing white dress, strolling past the trees. At home, Azreen's father reprimanded her for not latching up the chicken coop. A chicken carcass, with its neck broken, lies on the bottom step of the coop. The next morning, Azreen reads Julian's letter about the examination week in college. Then, she reads Madhuri's letter of her marriage and relationship with Kak Fatihah (Haji Ghani's first wife). The letter also hints that Madhuri has a secret to be revealed to Azreen when she returns home for her holidays.



The Old Lady relates to Azreen that she saw Madhuri's lifeless body and the wound on her. She suggests that Madhuri's murder was covered up as investigation into her death would reveal more secrets. Puan Fatihah, the village headman's wife recalls how her life changed forever when her husband, Haji Ghani, became attracted to Madhuri.

Azreen recaps how Madhuri tried to defend her from her father's wrath for stealing mangosteen and the good times she spent with Madhuri. In a flashback, Azreen admitted her folly for letting the bull go in order to save Asraf from Encik Mohan and his son's wrath. The escaped bull knocked into the motorcycle that her parents were on and caused her mother to be paralysed. The Old Lady reveals her past life with her abusive husband who drove her to kill him in self-defence. She made herself a home in a deserted house in the jungle.


Azreen meets Asraf. She enquires about Madhuri's death but is only given vague details of the incident. Normala, the rumour monger, spreads rumours about what had happened to Madhuri. Awang, the bomoh, makes an appearance as he dreams that a disaster is about to hit the village soon. Awang recalls the incident when he stole a chicken at Encik Mohan's farm causing a bull to escape. Asraf was blamed for the fiasco but Azreen bravely took the blame on his behalf. Back to the present, Azreen looks for the Old Lady in the jungle to catch up on old times. The Old Lady discloses that Madhuri was murdered.


Azreen reaches home but is unable to see her sister,Madhuri's body as it has already been taken away for burial. Meanwhile, there is an air of mystery over Madhuri's death. Village gossip, Normala keeps insisting that she saw Madhuri's blood being white in colour. Azreen takes her mother to the burial ground.There she sees her father, Saleh Abdullah and Madhuri's husband, Haji Ghani. Her father gets angry at her for bringing her mother there. Walking back from the cemetery, she meets her old friend and classmate, Mohd. Asraf. They exchange greetings and Azreen is upset whenever she sees him as she knows he likes Madhuri more than her.Back in her living room, Fatihah, haji Ghani's first wife tears up the curtains Madhuri had put up in their house with keris. She is angry with Madhuri for dominating her home and ruining her peaceful married life with her husband.

Friday, February 25, 2011


It has been a very tiring week for everyone, I guess. We had "inter-sports house" sports events for 3 consecutive days. Right after recess, the choir team had their training right until 4.30 p.m. I admire their perserverence, no matter how tired they were, when it comes to singing, they tried to do their best. Yesterday we had a rehearsal in Persada Johor. It went well,perhaps because the organiser had not prepared the hall the team managed to overcome their stage fright. I let them to familiarize themselves with the stage, making themselves comfortable. Today is the day, for the first time our team is invited to perform in a grand event. I prayed hard that they could perform all the songs really well.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Salam and greetings everyone. As promised, your teacher is here to give you homeworks for your Chinese New Year holiday. I know you must be bored to death, so I have something to keep you occupied, ya!

Since all of you have finished reading the novel, we'll discuss....characteristics. What you need to do is to find the evidence from the text, based on the characteristics of the characters.




(state the page number)


A student at a London university


Four years younger than her older sister


20 years old




Speaks her mind, fiery tempered, stubborn, close to her sister, Madhuri


Can be defiant when she chooses to


Filial daughter to her parents


Kind and accepting of others (i.e Old Lady)


Loyal and protective (over Asraf)


The Curse- Chapter 3

Azreen is greeted by her uncle, Datuk Zulkifli and his wife, Datin Sharifah at the airport. They are her adopted parents. They try not to talk about Madhuri's death. They take her home.
Back home, Azreen listens to rumours about Madhuri's death, spread by the village gossip, Normala. She spreads the news that Madhuri was murdered. She keeps on saying that she saw Madhuri's body before it was taken away. She saw that the blood was white in colour, which is a bad omen. She believes that they have all been 'cursed'.

The Curse -Chapter 2

When Azreen is on the plane, she recalls her childhood days with her sister, Madhuri. Madhuri was well-liked, prettier than Azreen. She was four years older than her and had been a filial daughter to her parents. On the contrary, Azreen is short, bespectacled, fiery-minded and always speaks her mind. She does not like to be compared to her sister, and rather envious of her sister's popularity. As blood is thicker than water, she also remembers the happier moments spent with Madhuri when they cycled past the paddy field and picked rambutans and fallen durians from the fruit plantations.

The Curse, Chapter 1

Azreen Saleh who is studying in London receives the news that her sister, Madhuri has died. She leaves quietly, without telling her friends. On the way to the subway station, she meets her classmate, Julian Ng. She tells him the reason of her return to Malaysia. She is reluctant to elaborate further. He tells her that he might visit her when he goes back to Malaysia.

New Novel -The Curse (Form 5)

Salam and hello everyone. It has been quite a while since I last dropped a few words in my blog. Due to this very short break, I would like to use this opportunity to disseminate some useful notes to help you understand the novel you are studying this year.

It took me a while to read the novel, and I could foresee certain drawbacks as the author uses a lot of flashbacks in the chapters. To help you understand the story better, you really have to use your imagination. Just imagine that you're watching a movie or drama on the television where they have flashbacks in black in white.

Alright, enough with my ramblings, let's start talking about the novel. I shall divide it according to chapters to avoid confusion.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


The poem is about a persona, a lady who fell for the wrong man. She was fascinated with his ‘quiet eyes’ and believed that his eyes showed his true emotion and feelings for her. The man’s eyes had the power to charm her and made her believe him and be nice to him.
However, the man was actually a ‘pleasure seeking man’, a flirt. As the lady was truly fascinated and charmed by the man, she did not listen or did not want to listen to any advice concerning the man’s true behaviour. In the end, she realized her error and was broken hearted.


Bibsy Soenharjo was born in Jakarta on 22 November 1928. Bibsy and her siblings were homeschooled and each was encouraged to pursue their own interests. She had a particular fondness for literature and, after returning home from a four-year stay in Japan, Bibsy began writing her first prose in 1957, and then poetry in the 60s. The Literary Review, an international quarterly published by Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, USA, published her first four literary pieces in their Autumn and Spring Editions in 1967 and 1968 respectively. In 1967 also, her poem, “Jakarta, March 1967” was published in the Australian magazine Hemisphere, while ”Setelah Gerhana Bulan” (After the Eclipse of the Moon) was published in Gelanggang, an Indonesian cultural magazine now defunct.
Her poems have appeared in bilingual anthologies, with her Indonesian works translated into English, Dutch and Japanese and her English poems into Indonesian and Dutch. She continued to write prose pieces in Indonesian that appeared in Jakarta dailies under the pen name Nuspati.
Bibsy Soenharjo now lives in Jakarta with the youngest of her three sons, Haryo, his wife Sutji and their children.

He had such quite eyes.

He had such quiet eyes
She did not realize
They were two pools of lies
Layered with thinnest ice
To her, those quiet eyes
Were breathing desolate sighs
Imploring her to be nice
And to render him paradise

If only she’d been wise
And had listened to the advice
Never to compromise
With pleasure-seeking guys
She would be free from ‘the hows and

Now here’s a bit of advice
Be sure that nice really means nice
Then you’ll never be losing at dice
Though you may lose your heart once or

Bibsy Soenharjo