Friday, January 28, 2011

voyages

While in the topic of Travel with my students today, I asked them

"Which is better - the journey or the destination?"

What say you..?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

grey

Sad songs are supposed to be accompanied by sad feelings.

How can a sad song make you happy then?

Even happy songs can in turn make you sad..

The thing is, life does not present itself in black and white most of the time.

There’s always that grey area in between..

If a person goes about life seeing only 2 spectrums, they’d be limiting their views.

But of course.. there’s wrong and right = sinful or not sinful..

If you can’t differentiate between those two, well.. then life may be screwed for you.. (pardon my `French’..)

Bottom line is there must always be guidance in one's life. Religion gives us that. But there’s also those other areas in life that fall between black and white.. – the greys..

And for that, thinking wisely before taking certain actions or reacting to a situation is vital. Being open and aware of those grey parts might be useful when the occasion arises..

So you can be happy till you feel like crying.

And you can also have your heart torn apart but still keep smiling.

=)

Friday, January 21, 2011

the very thought of you

the very thought of you..
and i forget to do..
the little ordinary things
that everyone ought to do

;)

- Nat King Cole-

also `featured' in Chp 10 - Tuesdays With Morrie..

Monday, January 17, 2011

the house with no curtains

I never fail to take a glance at this big white house I pass by on my way back home.
As the house comes into view, the obvious thing one can see is the enormous living room with big windows surrounding it and no curtains.
The first time I saw it all it had in the living room was a big TV and a couch. That's all.
No cupboards, no decorations. Nothing else.
Come to think of it, I have also never ever seen people in that house.. hmm..

Anyway, I don't know why this has fascinated me but I never fail to look at the house every time I pass it, often to check that it still has no curtains.. or sometimes expecting that it would one day. It bugs me actually that the person living there is not worried of people peering into his house and seeing what he does. Ok, maybe part of the wall surrounding the house obscures part of the view.. but still..

This is not far from how we lead our lives these days. Since the creation of a certain social networking site, millions of people own `windows with no curtains'.. including me I guess. We allow people to take a peep at our life. And we do this consciously or unconsciously.. People actually want to take a look into others "windows".. even those they're not so close with..

It's not so bad I guess if you look at it positively- you get closer to family and friends (and teachers and students) esp those living far away. Some IT savvy parents whose children are studying overseas rely on it to be updated on the going ons in their child's life (i think that's cool..)

However, it can be pretty overwhelming when you are faced with all this `openness' in life. I say this for myself as well as I worry sometimes of the extent of what we share.. Whether it is appropriate or not. Because we may not realize that we're revealing things we shouldn't..

All in all, I think moderation is the key. Not all needs to be put out there for viewing and not all needs to be said out in the open too.. And it doesn't mean that when technology makes things easier for us, we should succumb to the need to spill out all that we feel and think and thus end up becoming targets of ridicule or even losing our dignity. Nauzubillah..

Thursday, January 13, 2011

when stuck in a jam

After taking me almost 2 hrs to reach home just now it got me thinking that in the future I should come prepared for jams by ..

1. Always having food in the car @ in my handbag.. At least water.
2. Compiling a cd of 'songs to listen to in a jam' and singing out loud to it - esp when alone OR much better.. Listen to Quranic verses or nasyid to stay calm.. =)
3. Smiling and maybe laughing in the car, even if alone, to alleviate stress..
4. Being bold to switch lanes when the lane am on is not moving due to other cars from the 'non-existing' lane that keep cutting in
5. Anticipating a jam and performing prayers BEFORE embarking on my journey..
6. Mastering the skill of using my handphone to call, SMS or go on facebook.. :p

4 out of 6. Will be better prepared next time Insya Allah..

Sunday, January 9, 2011

sincerely yours

Dear readers,

This may be the second time I'm writing about this particular topic.. But an article in a magazine I read recently has reminded me why I have always loved writing letters. It was probably written by someone of a generation older than me and even so, I could still connect to what she was saying. This is partly what she said:

"We communicate differently when we e-mail or text, both methods characterised by speed and informality. The meditative consideration, which accompanied a handwritten letter, is almost entirely absent. We may be communicating more frequently and with more people, but the depth and quality of our communication has diminished." (Frieman, 2011)

I think for me, this "love affair" with writing began many eons ago, when I started to keep a diary. And boy did I write.. So passionate was I that I could get so detailed when writing about what happened in a day. Of course there were those pivotal moments where I wrote reflective entries and poured my heart out.. I think I still keep some of those diaries.. Hmm.. reading them again must be hilarious =)

Being one who was often away from home, of course writing letters was THE way to go.. I wrote to friends and family, and.. it was reciprocal! That was one of the best parts.. getting a reply! :D The best part too wasn't just the writing, but also the process before writing- choosing the right paper and pen..

What made it special was really how `personal' one could get when writing. From the handwriting to the feelings evoked in the words chosen..

If writing diaries or journals or blogs (these days) is a "means of processing feelings and filtering experiences".. writing, in the literal sense, is something else.. I totally get what the writer of the article was saying when she became "addicted to the flow of thoughts that came with the physicality of handwriting"..

I know, I know.. it's 2011. Move with the times, save trees, save time (so just email/ facebook/sms/ ym/ skype).. but seriously, reading a letter WRITTEN to you gives you a different kind of satisfaction, from the moment you find the letter on your doorstep - or your postbox (in most cases) till the time you get to Sincerely yours..

But of course I do still appreciate the long messages I get in my inbox (facebook or email).. I can write/type long messages (online)to people too sometimes.. but of course at times I also just want to be brief and concise = impersonal, so short messages it is..

In short, the article stressed that "the value of writing is no longer obvious".. and "with the demise of `pen and paper', an exceptional mode of self-expression is being lost"..

I know people write in exams but .. writing a letter to a REAL person far from home is seriously a different experience! I recently made 2 people happy (i think) after writing a letter to them (in London and India). After years of leaving behind this favourite pastime, the best part was WRITING those letters! So what are you waiting for, go ahead and try it!

Sincerely yours,
Shereen

ps/ I used to have stacks of old letters kept in a box and I'd read them sometimes.. ;)


a tip to prepare for IB English B Paper 2: WRITE!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

work

Apart from treading through heavy rain on my way back from work and getting caught in a little jam.. it feels good to be back at kay em bee :D
Of course the hols was needed, but what I need too in my life is to be among students and.. work!
Makes life more meaningful.

Though I know what's coming in the next few months - chaos and craziness.. but well, that's just what my life entails.. so, face it we must..

God please let us all go through these next few months with endurance, perseverance, patience, diligence, confidence and with your blessings... and with a sane mind too!

Aging?

Something I've been discussing in class with my kids lately has led me to think of the many possibilities that all of us have in life. ...