Sunday, November 25, 2007

Another person I remember was also a teacher unionist. (What is it with these rebels?) He was about my age. Smiled a lot. At first I thought, " Politician's smile." But after a while I could tell whice ones are genuine (w/ friends) and which ones are political (when dealling w/ management). I didn't know him very well, but he was just nice and friendly, so I thought he was an OK kind of guy. He sometimes visited us at the Materials Department (I worked there for a while). One day he told us he was going to Spain. I collected coins, so I asked him if he could set aside some coins from Spain for me. I didn't expect him to care enough to remember, so I was surprised that he did. That was nice of him, I thought.
Then one day we heard that he was ill and was hospitalized. We went to visit him. I brought a Kahlil Gibran book to cheer him up. It must have been really boring to be in bed for days and days. He couldn't get out of bed, but he was his own cheerful self. He said the doctor didn't know what was wrong with him, but they had heard of similar cases and would try a series of treatment. He was so positive that I felt sure he was going to get through it and would walk and work again. We didn't hear from him again for more than a year. Then there was a formal news that he had passed away. He was so young. It was really sad. I couldn't help thinking that the doctor might have misdiagnosed his illness. The medical system had failed him. I just hope that he was finally free from his pain and suffering, and he is now walking about and in peace on the other side.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Every end-of-term, the staff gathered at the hall for class assignment. Normally, this included nice food and some kind of entertainment. At one particular class assignment, some of the teachers did a music gig for us. Somebody gave flowers to one of the singers. There was a huge applause. Then another singer came up. He sang a love song, but I don't remember what song. He kept looking at my direction and I began to feel warm around the collar. What's going on? I thought. We were just friends. I had never been serenaded like that. How flattering... Didn't last long, though. I turned around to find a beautiful, hot, new teacher. Hahaha! *blush* *blush* A bit disappointed, but relieved too.
I don't really know why I still remember this. One afternoon in the teacher's room, sitting near the corner with two friends, chatting about nothing. I mostly just listened to the jokes and smiled at appropriate times. One friend was singing STYX's Babe (I don't know why he did this). The other friend looked really happy and relaxed. That's what I remember most. He was happy. His eyes sparkled whenever he laughed. A few months later this friend got into trouble with the school management because of his activities as a teacher unionist. There were heated arguments. He resigned. I never saw him or heard about him again. But I remember that afternoon in the teacher's room, and thinking 'What a nice day. What a friendly, happy guy.'

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Another interesting character was a gentleman in his fifties. He was actually very trim and very fit for his age. And he liked to show this off by wearing a very tight-fitting safari suit (looked like something from the 70s). With slick black hair and the outfit, he could've been young Elvis (even though he wasn't young). We used to have a giggle about him because whenever he dyed his hair, the dye would mix with his hair cream and would smudge his forehead, near the hairline. He didn't seem to care one bit.
Recently I've started to dye my hair too, to cover the greys. One day I found brown streaks in a white shirt collar. And I thought, Gosh! I haven't changed my hairstyle in about a decade, and I've got hair dye where it shouldn't be. Look who's laughing now.

Interesting Characters

There was a big dining table in the pantry of LIA Prm. It was big enough for about fourteen people. Funny thing, to see the seat at the head of the table empty, or used by one person only. It was as if it had a 'Reserved' sign on it. This was a favorite seat of one of the teachers. She was middle aged, a bit heavy, always wore a skirt/dress, hair streaked with gray, always in a coiffure. Not a stylish coiffure, but a simple round bun near the top of her head. I don't know how long she had taught. Judging from the way other staff treated her, probably from the beginning of the previous century. Maybe it was because of the stern look on her face. Maybe because she always spoke her mind (with thundreous, booming voice). Whatever it was, everybody was always very careful when talking to her. And we usually kept the 'throne' empty, just in case she came around to the pantry and would like to sit there. Some years ago I read a newspaper article about her. I don't remember exactly, but I think she was awarded a very prestigeous degree in Indonesian Literature or something like that.

Sasha's Footwear Fetish


Boots, fuzzy slippers, thongs, ballerina flats, sandals, dirty socks, sock covered toes ... Gimme gimme ... gimme... mooooore... (Britney's song).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Nice Quote

From Paulo Coelho's The Zahir:

"And suddenly, ... , I realise something very important: the cathedral is me, it is all of us. We are all growing and changing shape, we notice certain weakness that need to be corrected, we don't always choose the best solution, but we carry on regardless, trying to remain upright and decent, in order to do honour not to the walls or doors or the windows, but to the empty space inside, the space where we worship and venerate what is dearest and most important to us."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Of course, not everybody was that nice. On the last day of the training program I had an unpleasant experience.
It had been a looong and stressful day. Interviews, orientation, class assignment and other shit. When they were done with us, I felt like my brain had been fried. I asked if I could go home, but was told to wait for the DOS to dismiss us. I asked the secretary if I could see the DOS, but she said the DOS was with a guest. So I waited, and waited, and waited. It only took less than a minute to ask for permission to go, right? What if I just knock on the door, pop in, ask, and get the hell out of there? Sounded logical to me. So I knocked, popped in, and ... the DOS (who knew who I was) looked at me briefly and continued talking to her company (the vise DOS). I was completely ignored, like a gecko on the wall. That was when I realized I had made a boo boo. I didn't know if I should stay or go. I was stuck at the door. That was one of the longest 30 seconds of my life. The vise DOS took pity on me and asked me what I came in for. I told her. She said yes, I could go home. I left, feeling totally humiliated. I wished I hadn't bothered asking. Idiot!!
That was my first taste of power display.


When I first started to teach at LIA, a colleage commented that I seemed very confident and comfortable in the new surrounding. The teacher's room could indeed be intimidating to a rookie like me. It was huge! It could easily accomodate 50 teachers, with room to spare. The teachers ranges from youngish (20 something) to oldish (70 something). It wasn't always a friendly place for rookies.
Actually, I wasn't confident at all. I was just clueless most of the time, unaware of who is who and how I should behave towards whom. I was a bit of a social retard in that sense. To me everybody was created as equals. I just tried to be polite and friendly towards everyone.
In fact, my first boo boo happened even before I became a teacher. When I was still a student at LIA, break time meant a visit to the loo. It was usually not very clean, and always very crowded. So I was very happy to find a loo that was much cleaner, and much less crowded than the others. Sometimes there were teachers there too. It took me months to realize that it WAS the teachers' loo! Interestingly, none of the teachers ever told me to scram and use the students' toilets. Very nice people, those ladies.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A couple of months after my surgery in May, my stomach was slowly getting back to its normal, temperamental self. Too slowly, because one morning I looked down the toilet and found a pool of blood. Not a very nice way to start the day. The same thing happened the next day, and the next, stopped, and then started again. After a week of this, I went to see a GP. She had a quick look and said, "Too much codeine (pain killer)." She prescribed an ointment, told me to sit in a bucket of warm salty water twice a day, and drink a kind of fibre drink. I followed her advice and in a couple of days the pool of blood was no more. I was very happy. I wanted to tell all my friends the benefit of this fibre drink. I drank it religiously, twice a day, everyday. I even gained a few kilos, something that hadn't happen for almost a decade. Then I noticed that I also passed gas more often, but I didn't relate it to the fibre drink. I thought it was because of the unhealthy garbage that I normally ate. Anyway, it wasn't that bad...well, until it got really..ehm.. bad.
I went to a record store with a friend. I was a few meters away from her. Safe distance, I thought. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing in the wrong direction. It hit us both, hard. My friend didn't say anything, but I was really embarassed. I still didn't relate it to the fibre drink. So I continued drinking, and passing wind.
During my trip to Canberra, we went to a nursery. Just before getting back into the car, I felt the wind struggling to come out. I thought if I let it out before getting in, it would stay out. I was wrong again. The evil smelling gas followed me into the car. We had to open the windows. It was horrible.
When we got back, I went to the computer and Googled 'flatulence'. And there it was, the answer to my embarassing condition. When a person suddenly consumes a high quantity of fibre, the stomach goes to hyperdrive, and the side effect is gas, lots of gas. Fibre is supposed to be intruduced slowly, and gradually. Great! Somebody forgot to write that on the back of the package.
So I cut down on the drink, and the stink bombs was reduced significantly. I haven't gassed any of my friends since.