Archives for category: Imperfect Education

Read my take at Seattle Mom Blogs!


Don’t ask me why they keep dropping the “Ling”.

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…to major in English (instead of Linguistics) after considering the online programs available from local unis mainly because there isn’t a distance ed option for Linguistics. Well, you know what they say about beggars.

At this point, I’m considering Washington State Uni instead of University of Washington because the former has a fully online degree program for Humanities (UW offers evening classes all the way in Seattle – don’t think I fancy driving all the way there – and back – with all that traffic!).

So this will drive how I choose my electives and the rest of my Humanities and Social Sciences option (I’m taking Astronomy as my Lab and Math for my Natural Science requirements). I’m taking mostly English and Anthropology classes for Humanities/Social Sciences. Any advice as to what NOT to take?

As for this quarter, algebra kinda sucks (the professor is just not working out for me but that’s the only PM class they have!). On Wednesday this week, he took almost 45 minutes looking for a solution to a system of LINEAR equations I think half the class solved in ten. It was NOT good for him. The man is, I think, breathing in too much whiteboard marker fumes. Such a shame since I was actually acquiring a genuine interest for algebra. Bah.

Chinese 103 is going ok and English 201 (Writing the Research Paper) is also turning out to be quite interesting. I just submitted my thesis proposal a few minutes ago to my English prof on Bill Gates’ recent proposal to Congress to increase the number of H1B visas to stop the “brain drain” of American-educated uni grads returning to their home countries because of immigration laws. It’s really not as ambitious as it sounds (although I might step on a few toes…) because most of the legwork has already been done by the man himself!

I chose it because I participated in the rather heated debate on CNet’s when the news broke. I think it’s a good thing because for one, this will force Americans to buck up academically. Truthfully, what is your defence against losing 60% of your top Ivy League spots to foreign grads? I say introduce competition to drive excellence. Off with them entitlement attitudes (which, apparently, plagues Americans as much as they plague privileged bumis)!

Before I go, let me leave you with this article by Texas congressman Ron Paul he wrote four years ago about the fed deficit (I had to read it for an assignment), if you haven’t read it already. Sends chills up my spine!

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Back in Malaysia, people think stay-at-home moms are a bunch of “tai-tais” who play mahjong all day at home while their Indonesian/Cambodian maids take care of the kids.

Here in the US, the popularly held stereotype is a minivan-driving, jogger-pushing, mommy-blogging, baby-carrots-popping, organic-buying, sweater-knitting, control freak who openly professes to love her job but secretly wishes that working moms all over the world will get their come uppance (sooner rather than later) so we can all look up smugly at our ceilings at night and say to ourselves, “All this misery is justified. I made the right choice!”

Anyway, my point is I’ve done both (well, I never played mahjong in the afternoons but I did have a maid, my mom, my in-laws AND husband to help out while I, ahem, worked), and I swear, time has never run away from me the way it’s done so the month of March (the snow threw me off). We’re now approaching Spring break and I don’t even know if I should box up all those sweaters and jackets seeing that Mr Weatherman (Rae thinks he’s the one who’s confused) is a little flaky these days.

My second quarter of classes has sprung as well. I’m taking Intermediate Algebra, Research Paper Writing and Advanced Beginner’s Chinese this quarter and it looks like I’m NOT breezing through this one. The teachers are somehow a little less…cooperative. For example, my math prof (who has to be the slowest talker in the world) seems to have a penchant for regaling us with personal stories and drawing analogies that he thinks parallels an algebraic expression but really do not make any sense.

Math, he says, is about phenomena. It’s like a moving target (his words). “You just have to follow it Through. The. Phenomena,” Mr M says, emphasizing with the last three words with his whiteboard marker. My brain, which had been suspended happily in the air waiting for the ready arms of Advanced Algebra Wisdom to send me soaring towards Higher Math, meets rudely instead with a solid wall of confusion. The result is a splitting headache.

Ah well. It still beats waking up to the smell of vomit on your child’s hair.

ps. Can someone show me how the hell a graphing calculator works?

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Phew, it’s all done.

My second English 101 thesis on persuasive writing was on redshirting (aha!).

What is redshirting? Read my thesis. Tell me what you think.

Do I make the “so what?” hurdle?

(don’t pull any punches. I can take it)

Integers, variables, constants, factoring, commutative equations, distributive properties, inverse properties, anything divided by 0 is undefined.

I don’t even remember the Malay translations for these words, much less the meanings (we learn Math in Malay in Malaysia. Rad, eh?)

And to top of it all off, I’d been too cheap to buy the required latest edition of Beginner’s Algebra, but had purchased, instead, its cheaper (by US$80) immediate predecessor, and as a result, found myself trying to squint at the text belonging to the boy seated next to me because I was literally not on the same page as the instructor. Looks like I’ll have to fork out $100 for the damn text after all.

Ni hao. Jin nian, wo kai shi xue pu tong hua.

No, this does not mean I will be blogging now in Chinese but one day, hopefully, I will be able to do so without referencing three dictionaries at once.

Today, my online classes have started and assignments are due in two days. What the hell have I gotten myself into? Tomorrow, my evening Math class commences as well. This is going to be interesting.

Where did the hols go??

Anyway, my sister and her boyfriend, the fabulous George, visited from Australia. Here’s a picture:

The sisters and Sky

Isn’t she beautiful?

And that’s Sky, taking her billionth picture for the week.

I miss my sis already. Hopefully it won’t be another three years before we see each other. The girls love her so much, especially Rae. I could tell when she was saying goodbye. She avoided looking at her or George, and distracted herself with the TV and her books, the sweet girl.

I’ve also submitted another story to another of MPH’s short story collections, this time entitled Urban Odyssey. They’ve extended submission deadlines to Jan 31st. Here’s the prompt that Janet Tay sent me a few months ago (yea I was keeping it all to myself!):

MPH GROUP PUBLISHING is pleased to announce an open call for submissions of short fiction and creative non-fiction for an anthology tentatively entitled Urban Odysseys: KL Stories. We aim to publish the anthology in 2008, depending on the number of submissions that we receive.

The theme of the anthology will focus on life in the city, specifically Kuala Lumpur, with writings that show images of the new juxtaposed against the old, urban living with contrasting bright lights and shadowy realities and other short fiction or creative non-fiction which best encapsulate the spirit of the national capital. This is not a travel book but an anthology of literary writings about the city.

Stories must be original, between 3,000 and 5,000 words, and must not have been previously published. We invite submissions from both emerging and established writers. Stories for children are not eligible for this compilation. Manuscripts must be edited, typed double-spaced with 12pt font and e-mailed to Please include your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address. You may submit as many stories as you wish. Faxed or handwritten submissions will not be entertained and manuscripts will not be returned. We will contact you only if your piece has been selected for inclusion in the compilation. Writers whose submissions are selected will be expected to work with the editors to fine tune their stories.

Deadline: 31 January 2008
Payment: A small flat fee and two copies of the anthology

Sorry Janet, I tend to be a tad dense sometimes.

Well, off to class again. Did I say I was doing English 101 as well? The instructor already sounds very promising (as far as one can tell from emails, discussion boards and online chatting). I can’t wait to see what she thinks of my written expression.

I leave you with a Raevenism, already two days old and retold several times around the block:

"Why is Daddy the Lord of the World? Why is he the Ruler of the Universe?" 
Rae’s sullen response to my remark that the decision to watch fireworks at midnight on New Year’s Eve was her daddy’s to make.

Ah, the naivete of five-year-olds. As long as Daddy knows who the REAL ruler of the universe is, I’m down with it.