Monday, April 25, 2011


Most schools had their spring break back in March. The international elementary school had their spring break last week. My school is having ours from Friday April 22- May 2nd. Some of us wanted to know if we got paid before this break since we have been paid before other holiday breaks and this is at the end of this month. We were told no. The government picks out one major holiday for Christians, Chinese, Buddhists,  Hindus that they get to celebrate and the Muslims have two. That way with all of the smaller holidays we don't have too much time off from work. For the Christians they have picked out Christmas as our major holiday. There were no Easter decorations or any signs that Easter was coming up. I didn't hear of any Holy week services or Easter cantas. Yesterday was just another Sunday for me. So, I slept in, took my usual walk to the grocery store and read. I haven't slept well the last few weeks because of lots of noisy neighbors. So, I then slept most of the rest of the day. I didn't have lunch and for dinner I wasn't hungry since I had been sleeping all day, so I had two slices of bread with cheese.

Monsoon Season

I was told that monsoon season was November, December, and January and it always ended around Chinese New Year at the beginning of February and that February, March, and April are the hottest months. It has continued to pour most days during the three "hottest months".  People keep telling me how they have never seen this much rain ever. One morning when I woke up at 5:15 it was not raining and everything was dry. When I got on the bus at 7:40 the water was up to my knees when I went through the gate at the end of the driveway. Even though I had an umbrella I got completely soaked. When we were going around on the route there were some houses where the water was up to the front door. (My place I stay in is on a small hill so the water didn’t get that high, but not all places are set up.) I don’t know if those people got water in their houses or not.  There was another day when a couple of us went a mile down the road to get lunch. At school there was no rain, but that this food stall it was pouring rain and I didn’t have my umbrella, so I got soaked. Another day the battery on the bus door was dead, and I forgot my umbrella at school the day before so I got soaked while trying to figure out how to get the door open. It started pouring right before the bus showed up. I have learned that it is quite easy to get soaking wet when it rains and so I have had a few days where I have been at school in wet clothes. It takes them a long time to dry out too, with the humidity. I have thought about bringing a spare pair of clothes to change into, but I don’t want to haul one more thing with me and there is no place to store them. It no longer bothers me because it is just one of those things one gets used to.


I have also joined another group of ex-pat ladies and started play mahjong. It is a game with tiles and each player has 13 tiles. The tiles are characters, bamboo, and circles. There is a sheet that tells the different hands one can play. I played for the first time last week, and I kept playing hands that the other ladies who had played for years had never tried. I didn’t play them correctly as I was still trying to figure out how to play, but I had fun anyway. I got to try lots of different ethnic food at that too. I would like to buy myself a mahjong set for when I go back to America.

Performance Day

March 12th we had our annual fundraiser for school. This year we had a Performance Day. The students sold their artwork they had done in art class; we had musical performances by the high school choir, middle school choir, Mandarin class, and Islamic studies class, and a piano solo and duet. We also showed the film of the winners from our Film festival (Mulan) and the top two animations from the film festival. We had a variety of ethnic food that parents brought for the food sale (I was so busy working I never got to try any). It was well attended and the students did a great job.

Quiz Night

February 25th I was invited to the International Elementary school’s fundraiser, which was a quiz night. It was hosted at a local restaurant so we had pizza for dinner. I had not eaten at the restaurant before and I really liked the pizza my group ordered. I hope to go there again some day. I was with three other people in a group. These were people that I knew and have done things with before. We called ourselves the Nameless Wonders because we couldn't think of a good group name. There was several different rounds: Famous Faces, Where in the World, Music, Sports, Pictures of Kuantan, and Potluck (various). Each team had a joker card and we could use it for one round to double our points. You had to turn it in before the round started. We waited and use the joker card on the last round. After each round they announced the winners for the previous round. It was the same three teams every time. When we got to the end they announced the 3rd and 2nd place, which were the same two teams as before. They announced my team as the winners and I thought it was a joke and then I realized they were serious. We also won by several more points than the team in second place. So, we went up and each got a medal and a large box of Ferrero Rocher. I was pretty excited. I have never won a medal before. It was a fun night.

Cultural Exchange Day

March 30th we had a cultural exchange day with a local school MRSM. We saw performances of Joget dancing, which is performed by ladies for the Sultan. Poem recitation- they have a conversations through the use of a poem or poems. I don’t remember their name for it. It was all in Malay so I didn’t understand any of it, but the concept was interesting. Then we watched a play that took us through the process of engagement, approval, getting the license, wedding ceremony, and reception at both parents’ houses. After that was the Dikir barat, which is all men. They have a group that plays instruments and others that do chanting and movements to go with the chanting. Then, there was a Walinung Mayang Sarai dance performed by another group of ladies. Following that was an example of Silat, which is a traditional form of self-defense.

Last, Gamelan, which is an old form of musical instruments, and they played songs on them. We saw a slide show with information of all the traditional houses for each state in Malaysia. We also saw a slide show and had some models of traditional clothing. After they did their portion then we had some of the songs we did for Performance Day. We had the top two students from South East Asian Forensics tournament do their pieces. One was an original oratory and the other was oral interpretation. Then we had our student who composed his own song do his piano solo. I did not realize when he did it at Performance Day that he composed it himself. It is a beautiful piece.