Monday, October 29, 2012

I Want to Learn How to Learn


Don't you find it infuriating?
You spent hours and hours studying a particular subject, pouring over books and papers, answering all those past year/semester test in hopes to get an astounding grade.

Instead, you got CRAP. A C or a D (if you're lucky, a B) smudged your transcript, bringing such disgrace that you'd scream in rage on top of a hill. (heh)

But why? You asked.
I've spent hours studying.
I should get a good grade, if not astounding.
But I failed to do so.
Isn't time spent studying is directly proportional to academic/examination success?

Well, in a sense it's true.
In another sense, it's false.
Time is needed to study, yes, I'm not disagreeing to that.
But is time used efficiently? That's is a question to be answered.

I'm intrigued by the learning process of humans, particularly the student.
I find it perplexing that some student spent hours and hours in front of a book, only to achieve a mediocre score.
Or to find a guy who opens his book just for a moment, and ended up to get the highest score.
Logically, from these observations, we can conclude that time is not a factor of academic success. No, that's not the correct way to word it.


And yes, I would like to emphasize the word 'learning' here.
You see, for so long, we have been deluded that to actually 'learn' effectively, we need TIME.
Hence the law; the more time you spent studying, the higher/better your academic success.
Again, this is false.

Let's go to the basis of learning itself.
What is learning actually?
Most of us to respond with 'study' or 'read books'
But shockingly, that is just a superficial definition.

Learning is to actually understand a concept or a subject via means of reading, listening, writing, questioning, speculating, experimenting, analyzing or so on so forth.

Highlight those gerunds (the -ing) in that definition. Now ask yourselves, how good are you with those skills? Now, think back of your previous academic records. And your study habits. And your test answering abilities.

Then it clicked.
Learning is in fact, a skill.
Somehow, it correlates with how you fare in your academic situation.

The traditional 'read and practice and cram', sure, can help you. But it could help you so much.
The ignorance of not honing your skills to learn will eventually hamper your intellectual development.

So, the solution?


With that being said, check out this interesting blog here . It has a few tips and trick for ULTRA LEARNING

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Degree Up On the Wall


Mr ***
has been awarded the
Bachelor of Business Administration
University of X

I always admired all those certificates and degrees hanged on the wall of houses I visited. It gave me an impression that the people in this household are indeed sophisticated and educated. It sent shivers down of spine in admiration and aspiration. 

But when I returned to my house, there were no certificates hanged on the wall.

Yes, you can't see any degrees up on the wall with all its grandeur in my house.

And if I'm not mistaken, my dad IS a degree holder. 
If that's so, where is the degree?

An innocent inquiry to my dad was responded with this:

"My degree? Oh, I think I left my degree at the States. You know, when I refuse to go back to US to do my Masters, I just left everything there."


It baffled me.
How could you say like that???!!
That degree
That certificate
All those hours, sweat, blood and tears to get that degree
And you wasted the only prove to tell the whole world, "HEY WORLD! I PASSED FOUR YEARS OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDY AND THIS IS MY PROVE!"

My dad, being...well, dad, just laugh it off.

But it doesn't mean he was not successful.
Although with a very rough start, but he managed to climb to the zenith of success.
He has a company of his own
He managed to raise a great and awesome family with his wife
Heck, he even gave a keynote speech for a convention (That was one of my dreams...awwww)

But he didn't have a degree hanged up the wall of his own house.

Oh, the irony.

And asked again about why he left his degree, he replied with this.

"A degree is, but a piece of paper. You don't study for a piece of paper with your name on it. You study for the knowledge. For the experience. For the insights. Those will propel you forward and upward. Not a piece of paper."

And. Boom.

Case closed.

If you study just for a 'First Class Honors' or 'Somma Cum Laude' on your degree,
Then remember this.

It is still, at best, a piece of paper.
Glorified, Embellished
But proves nothing
What is important, ultimately,
is what you get along the way

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Detachment From the Self

If you don't know yet, I'm taking Foundations Of Acting as one of my subjects this semester.
And I'm enjoying every single class of it.

I mean, seriously
I've been deprived from ARTS for so long that it hurts. And when given the opportunity to dwell myself in arts once again, I never been so alive. (I miss my orchestra)

For added effect, my lecturer can be define by one lingo that many surfer and a man called Barney Stintson used: AWESOME
She is awesome in the sense that she is very cunning
And smart in delivering her insights and messages.
I love the feeling when I discovered her messages.
It was like: EUREKA!
And I've the urge to run around campus naked while exclaiming that phrase in a splitting image of a certain famous Greek scientist.

But that's not the point of this whole post.
The point is

Detachment of Self

Now, I can imagine all of you slanting your head sideways with a baffled expression.
Yes, the detachment of self. It is an important element of theater. Detachment of self happens when you don't feel yourself anymore and completely, I mean completely shifted into the character of choice.

This surreal and ever so real phenomenon intrigued me. The first time ever I felt it was during the premier of my monologue. I played a whiny and desperate sounding guy, complaining about his crush. I had the scene in my head, how should I move and talk to make the character alive.


Something else happen when I actually perform it live. I can't feel myself. Indeed, I was not Nazran. I can't hear my thoughts anymore. EVERYTHING. Shut down.

Yet, I performed the character quite well. I didn't have to worry about anything. It came naturally. The character just took control of my body and make it speak, act and move just like him.

It's a convenient tool for all actors. To simply detach one's self from one's body and just let the character took over. But, it lead to another dilemma.

Who am I?

Yes, identity crisis. Because the character came so naturally, there must be instances where an actor or an actress think about his or her true identity. Is the character one of their hidden self? This may not be a problem if the character is a heroic knight or a strong-willed girl, but if the character is a serial killer? A rapist? A woman who killed her own child? Is that me? An actor or actress would ask to his or herself.

And hence, the greatest challenge for any actor or actress is to find their true and ultimate 'self'. Their center of their personality. By achieving that, they could be the greatest actor or actress of all time. No, that's not right. They could be the most human of all human.

It is because they have found their center.
Their true self.

So the question remains for all of us
Shouldn't we start finding ourselves? 
Well, we should.
But how?
Well, you could try to do a psychoanalysis to yourself
Or lay down on your bed, just letting your mind wanders
Or like me, you could take theater lesson.
Yeah, I think that is the best way.

No matter how high I reach
No matter how low I fall
No matter how big I be
No matter how small I be
No matter how strong I am
No matter how weak I am
I am me
Me is me

Monday, October 22, 2012

Machines to Humans


My childhood entertainment was simple: Lego, mini 4-Wheel Drive cars and Pokemon. If I was not with my Legos building the Petronas Twin Tower or playing Pokemon, I would be sitting cross-legged on the floor, taking apart and improving my mini 4WD cars. 
I remembered how I carelessly tried to take apart the DC motor of the car and 'enhance' it by winding more copper wires around the magnet. After putting it back together and testing it, the results were not a faster car due to a better motor but a melted chassis and a very angry mom. (She took away my cars for a week, something I could not understand at that time)

Any sane adult that witnessed my attics would say that I would become an engineer in the future. They were right. I love machines (heightened when my father introduced the computer to me) and with a disease called 'impulsive curiousness', my engineer profile was complete.

With my own jurisdiction (and my father's subtle persuasions , I went to a Science boarding school , hoping to expand my engineer's horizon and skills. However, instead of making me love machines more, I found a new love.

When I entered boarding school, I just wish to dwell myself in machines while ignoring the society around me. But the people around me just won't leave me alone. I began to asked myself 'why am I being bullied?' and 'why my classmates want to get close to me?' I simply can't comprehend human behavior and it made me frustrated because I can't relate it with my knowledge. My curiosity mode kicked in. Like any machines, human behavior must have a way to analyze and later, control it. So, I bought my first ever 'human-related book', How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie to find out more; and, it was love at first sight.

How Carnegie analyzed and made use of principles to influence human behavior simply blew me away. Unlike machines, humans were complicated and random subjects yet he could find a way around it. It was proven when I tried applying his principles into my non-existing social life; it worked wonders. It was a spark for a vivid firework. I got so intrigued by society mechanics and interactions that I bought more and more books related to that topic, reading voraciously although it wasn't my subject in school.

My love for machines did diminish. 

But was it a loss that I gave up my love of machines for humans? 

Definitely not. In fact, I believe that my new found passion which puts me into a larger context of the world, beyond machinery and computers. All those machinery  no matter how advance they are, were creations of humans. What drove them to create those machinery  That is a questions I wish to find the answer for. In the meantime however, I shall find out why my mum was so mad until she took away my 4WD cars.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Relax? Or not to relax?

Shakespeare's Hamlet was renowned for the strings of bad actors that plays Hamlet. One of the line from that play is:

To be, or not to be. That's the question

For me, I share that same dilemma.

To relax, or not to relax. That's the question

We live in a fairly competitive environment. Heck, fairly competitive is an understatement. In this globalized world of the information era, filled with 'kiasu' people, COMPETITION IS FREAKING HIGH.

No joke. I mean look at the tech industry. One day we have Iphone 6, then THE NEXT MORNING, S4 will be released. The consumer can't even keep up because the competition between these two giants is simply too fast.

So, when competition is high, we can't and I mean it, CAN'T slack off. Productivity must be at it's peak and on the PPF curve (Economics jargon FTW)

When I say, 'Oh, I need to relax a bit', I will get a look like: "OMG You had just committed a HUGE SIN. REPENT IMMEDIATELY SINNER! IMMEDIATELY!" or something like that.

Come on, can't I just relax?
No wait. The best question is

Can't we just relax?

Most kiasu people will respond with "No, I can't relax. I have to study. I have a family to bla bla bla"
As far as I'm interested in your life story, I am baffled why some people just don't what to relax.

It's depressing, seriously. When I see people hunched over their desk studying and cramming WITHOUT stop, I can't help to think why am I not studying. But I DO study. Just not in that such intensity. I took breaks...alot of them. Like, 10 minutes for every 40-50 minutes of effective study.

Because with breaks, I can sustain my focus over a longer time of period...

And who doesn't like breaks right?

Have a break, Have a Choki-Choki

Because Kit-Kat is too main stream

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Gentleman Code


Why can't all men be gentlemen?

So a lady friend made this statement which suddenly made me shuddered in nostalgia. All those stupid moments albeit bitter ones too came rushing back to me. I started to become retrospective all of the sudden.

The word 'gentlemen' had once became a code for me. Remember how I was once obsessed with knights? I embodied it into the modern world as an obsession of becoming a gentlemen. 

I followed something called the 'Gentleman's Code', a code made just for...well, gentlemen or aspiring gentlemen. When I think about it back, I suspect it was made in the 1920's because it was so old school. Among the codes are:

-Never ask a woman for money
-Always carry her bags
-Treat a woman...always
-Never make sarcastic comments, only praises of her beauty

Call me traditional or old school or something but I DID follow this code. EVERY. SINGLE. CODE.
Man, I'm a little embarrassed. 

I did follow the code because I want to stand out. I know myself. I'm not handsome. I don't even have an acceptable body figure. Fats hang above my pants line. Acne destroyed my face. My smile was so awkward that a baby would instantly cry at the sight of it.

To sum it up, my looks suck

So, I wanted to leverage on personality and decorum
Therefore, the Gentlemen's Code

But you know, I tried doing it to girls, expecting at least an interest towards me. Sure, it impressed some of them but the most undesirable thing happened.

Or in a context of a crush relationship

And that really hit me hard. I found out that girls, are attracted to douchebags/bad boys, no matter how much they would like to deny it. They like to be treated as an equal male not a women, something I find it ironical. 

It irks me. It simply pissing me off. I put my ego put the line, only get trampled on. And since that, I gave up on the Gentlemen's code.

So, end of story?

Not really. Being a douchebag might get you a girlfriend or two but ultimately, you're still a douchebag. Feared but not respected.

Best course of action? 


Instead of being a girl's slave or being a totally douchebag, I think the best course of action is to just be nice.

Not only to girls, but everyone in general
You don't need a 'Gentlemen's Code'
Your innate moral codes are more than sufficient to be nice.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Calling Any Local Film Makers


Yesterday, I was chilling around my apartment, searching for ideas and insights for my college essay, when I saw THIS on TV


What is this?
Oh, another romantic comedy with another deep symbolism featuring some popular comedian.
Really? Cinta Beruang? Like seriously?
If I'm not mistaken, we have Cinta Kura-Kura before, and those of other Cinta *insert object/animal/person/state of body/political party here* wayyyyyyy before this. In fact, we had TOO much of it that it had become very, very, VERY repetitive. 

I agree, the first time KL Gangster came out, it has a huge HIT. My school mate keep on repeating the same quote over and over and over and over again.

"Malik is back!"
"Lu mau tembak mana? Sini? Sini? Atau sini?"
"Tapi lu sayurrrrrr"

I can't deny that the idea of a gangster movie is fresh in Malaysia (though overused in other places). But then, influxes of GANGSTER movies started showing up like "Gangster X" or "X Gangster" or "*insert anything related to the gangster life here*" To make it worse, all those movie are on a quality of an kindergarten art project. 

Why can't the director get a hint that their 'works' are in fact stale. Okay, fine. I understand every dweller of arts has his or her rights to express or create anything he or she wanted. However, such repetition is just absurd. Imagine a song repeating the same slogan over and over again (*ehem* 1Malaysia song *ehem*), wouldn't you be bashing the song too? THAT IS HAPPENING TO YOUR WORKS! IT IS TOO STALE ALREADY.

I can foresee the arguments they are going to throw at me for this

'Tapi itulah apa penonton mahu, kami tak ada bajet maka kami perlu pastikan sesuatu produksi itu dapat sales dan hits. Penonton suka gangster ngan rom-com maka kita kasi mereka rom-com'

My argument? Simple.

Go to the cinema.
See the seats available for your movie.
And compare them with the international movie.
Weep and be in denial as the cold harsh reality sinks in your delusional mind.

Then you'll will asking: Why? Why? Why?


Oh, I haven't talk about quality yet.
Well, I just show you one movie poster to sum up my argument.


That lone movie poster (and trailer) simply left me laughing my stomach out on the floor. 

I know, we need to support our local products and bla bla bla
But shows us that you are worthy of being supported.
I'm sure all of you film makers don't appreciate being supported out of sympathy.
So prove to us lah!
Make an ORIGINAL film that doesn't include gangster, bohsia, rempits, hantu, bomoh, momok, or a total rip off of a Hollywood movie with an exceptional quality. You will be surprised that that very film will set a benchmark for other film makers and hence, revolutionizing the local film industry.

The problem is who will?

If somehow local film makers read my lonely, unpopular blog, take this as a challenge.


Cause if I see another 'Cinta X' film, I'll officially give up on the local film industry

Monday, October 8, 2012


To all PMR candidates,
Keep your emotions in check!
Be calm!

And remember,
All of this is a lesson of life
Learn of it
And may you prevail against other challenges of life

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

To Teach and Inspire


I want to be a teacher

To tell the truth, I really did want to be a teacher. I'll get the chance to see the young generation and educate them to face life. I love teaching; evident from my usual tutoring session with my batch mates. It was an appealing career for me.

I did not become a teacher.
Instead I'm on the road into becoming an economist (Or would I?)
Although I'm quite frustrated back then because everyone opposed my aspiration to become a teacher (at least a lecturer) because of this simple and absurd logic:

 "Kenapa nak cikgu? Tak rasa rugi ke?"

Tak rasa rugi? TAK RASA RUGI???
Okay, I admit I once thought of this before but later in life I found it stupid and insensible. Why is the profession as a teacher is viewed as 'rugi' by the society? Isn't a teacher supposed to be a very noble and respected profession? But yet, nowadays, becoming a teacher is viewed as a 'last resort' or 'a way to easy money'

I find quite the irony. The society opposes the 'geniuses' or the 'bright students' from becoming a teacher, and forces (in most cases) into the science field like Medicine or Engineering. Yet, the society itself are forcing their children to be like those 'geniuses' but where can they find their inspirations? With the number of teachers dropping with the lack of enrollment of new teachers and veteran teacher retiring, we can assume the number of quality teachers to be rarer too since if those assumptions were true, then only mediocre SPM graduates will be teachers.

I am here not to say ALL teachers are bad or worst or etc. But I find it's sad to see such noble profession to be seen as 'last resort' or 'a mediocre career'. We can't blame the society fully for this paradigm. Being teacher is really not a dream job for many. Stressful environment, pressures from all areas and inflexibility of time. So, maybe that's the problem. Being a teacher now is merely to finish up the syllabus, mark papers and hope that the grades will push the school up the ranking.


You see, education here now in Malaysia is moving into a rank-based system.
It is no more a 'good' or 'bad' school
But it's more to 'a number 1 school' and 'a number 10 school'
Due to this fact, the school administration will do anything and I mean ANYTHING to move up the ranking because the higher the ranking, the 'better' the school will be, attracting more attention and of course, financial assistance.
Like I said earlier, the school will do ANYTHING to achieve this and among those things are 'rigid-academic How-to's' focusing the boosting the student's performance. Hence, ALL teachers are required to follow this 'guidelines' ensure they will do a good job and hence, get a pay raise.

So, where's the flaw? Isn't that good? Won't it be beneficial to the students aka future generations?

On paper, yes. But think about it again. If that method is truly a universal solution, then it's better to fire all the teachers and replace them with computer programs such as Score A or such. Why? It because by adhering to a strict guidelines on how to teach and rigid goals, it removes the flexibility of the teacher and worse, the human touch of the teachers.

Teachers, contrary to popular beliefs have another job rather than teaching and educating. They are here to INSPIRE. When I say inspire, I don't merely suggest those deep motivational quotes or something. To inspire is actually unleashing and unlocking the true potential of the students. We acknowledge the fact that every student is different and unique to his or herself. Hence a large deal of flexibility is required to tackle each one of them and recognizing their true potential.

But the problem is?
The rigid academic guideline and ridiculous expectations to climb up the ranking of course.

Because of this, the teacher profession is viewed as rigid, dull and stressful by the society. Thus, the society prevents those bright students and 'geniuses' from the teaching profession. Thus, the number and quality of teachers dropped. And society will perceive teaching profession to be worse and worse. And the cycle repeats.

So the solution is?

Recognize the flexibility of the teachers back.
Give them chance to be creative
And explore their subject with the student
Inspire the student and acknowledge their potential
Because ultimately, rankings and grade are mere numbers
But inspiration and motivation from a great teacher will last forever.
I'm here because of the great teachers that had taught me before.
And truth to be told, NONE of them adhere to the 'rigid academic guideline'
They teach what they think to be relevant to the students and the subjects and they did it with enthusiasm and creativity.
They didn't view their jobs as stressful and thus they make bonds easier with the students.
In short, they are simply awesome teachers.

To all future and current teacher out there,
I'm respect you guys.
Its a noble profession you guys decided to take on.
So make the best out of it.
And change the society's perception against you.
It might be daunting
But it may need just one teacher to start and make a difference.
Because your student will follow