Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Support the IB

Right, I was bored, so I browsed the internet for blogs about AC since I was curious about the past IB result and how it went (the friend that I poked still hasn’t replied back). Somehow, I couldn’t find any blogs that mention even a teeny bit about the 2006 results, which was a bit disappointing. Guess AC students don’t blog that much after all.

I did, however, found a blog linking to an interesting news article in the Guardian.

Okay, it was dated March 2006, but it was recent enough. Partly myself to blame for not being able to get into the habit of reading newspapers in Cambridge. Anyway, I was really surprised at those people who rejected the IB. What were they thinking? Is it anti-American? Anti-Christian? Marxism?

I did the International Baccalaureate at Atlantic College, Wales for two years in 2003. I don’t really know much about A-levels since I’ve never done it, but I imagined the IB is harder, since we’re doing six subjects instead of four, with Theory of Knowledge, the 4000-word Extended Essay and community service to boot. One thing I noticed is that it is a well-rounded program with an emphasis on the international community and issues, evident from the humanity subjects and even the sciences (can’t do much about maths, though). All in all, a really good program. I would have chosen it to A-levels or any other equivalent program any day.

It also encourages independent thinking. There’s an interesting story about it here where there’s an IB teacher who creates a fictitious character in history and told the students that it will be in their exam, and to do independent research on it. He was hoping that when nothing shows up about the character, the students will realise something is wrong. However, that didn’t happen and the students all fail the test because they answer according to the class notes. The reason behind his actions is to show the students not to stay in their comfort zone and be spoonfed, but instead do some thinking on their own.

Right, back to the matters at hand. So what’s actually bad about the IB? To be honest, I don’t know. Anti Christian? It is, by definition, an international program, so of course it has to be secular. Although I don’t think that’s quite the way to describe it, since we touch religion quite a bit in TOK, and not to mention the World Religions subject (I’m a Muslim, by the way).

If trying to understand things from an international perspective and dissecting international issues is anti-American, than I say that’s a load of crap. Sounds to me like it’s just blind arrogance and pride at work here. These people should really discard their view of being superior and right all the time and start being emphatic and receptive to others for a change.

Just my two cent worth of opinion, although I don’t really have to make much fuss about this since I don’t think their reasoning have much credibility in the first place. Still, as someone who benefited a lot from the IB (not to mention the two years is one of the best times in my life) I felt inclined to say something.

In the true spirit of AC: Go international understanding!!


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lying dormant

Probably a good way of describing me right now. Spending my days going through animes, reading and playing worms before going to sleep, waking up and repeating things all over again. Wonder if any interesting things (for me at least) had happened lately…

This entry’s sole purpose is to dredge up events that happened awhile ago to desperately prove that a certain someone is not living a meagre and insignificant existence.

Please don’t take the above seriously.

I’m watching Saiyuki and Tsubasa Chronicles right now. It was Samurai Champloo a while ago (a really good anime) but somehow I didn’t download episode 20 so I don’t want to spoil it by watching later ones. Same thing with X (which, unlike what the name suggested, is not a dodgy anime), in this case I don’t have the last episode so it left me quite hanging. I’ll probably go through Full Metal Alchemist and GTO after this.

I did my first prepaid top up today (hurrah). Still getting the hang of having a mobile phone in Malaysia, though I must say that RM30 for a month is pretty steep.

That coming from someone who pays £30 per month in the UK is pretty much laughable. Although the free minutes can be carried over for three months there.

The IB results were out around two weeks ago or so. None of the Malaysians in AC got 45 and none of them are going to Cambridge (though I won’t be crying my hearts out over that) though some of them do get good results (one of them got a 42 which is a result to be proud of). I still don’t know who are the AC students going to Cambridge this year, although that can easily be rectified. Just have to poke a certain someone and ask them about it.

I assume I don’t have to explain the poke bit.

I ran out of fiction books, so I’m resorting to Maths Hysteria by Ian Stewart. At least I can say I did something educational during the holidays.

It’s been a month, and I still haven’t succumbed to the temptation that is TV. Is that something to be proud of or what?

(Unproductive) Yaz.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I wish they give me cash

Got a letter from Cambridge today. Well, two letters actually. One is the college bill, with food charge, electricity and whatnot. The second is a letter from my tutor congratulating me on getting a first.

As a result of your performance in the recent examinations, it says, you have been elected a Junior Scholar.

Yay! A title. Yaz, a Junior Scholar. Actually, this is the title they give to everybody who got a first, but still, it does sound cool, heh heh.

Oh, the title also comes with £175 award. I also got another two hundred quid worth of Tripos prize money (course/subject prize) so altogether it’s worth £375. Pretty good, huh?

Well, not exactly.

The money will be credited to my college bill. The thing is, my sponsor reimburses me for everything on the bill, so in all actuality, the prize money doesn’t have any effect at all.

Pretty disappointing, huh?

Sigh. Yup, I wish they had paid me cash.

(Materialistic) Yaz.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It’s a scam

Congratulations, said the SMS. Your SIM card has won RM.7000 from Akademi Fantasia 4.

I was speechless.

So, what am I expected to do right now? Jump up and down, screaming my hearts out? Go and hug everybody in the vicinity? I mean, I won some big bucks, right?

Jeez, do I look like an idiot?

So what gives? Gee, probably the fact that I’ve never watched a single episode of AF in my entire life.

(And as a side note: No, I don’t regret not watching it, I am not tempted to watch it and I don’t intend to watch it anytime soon, not that I have anything against AF)

I’m seething. I mean, come on, it’s glaringly obvious what the SMS is. I know how the scam works…you send random SMS (or e-mail or whatever) to people, most ignore it but there will be some who are na├»ve enough to swallow the whole thing, hook, line and sinker. And they reply back and you cheated their money out of them. I know I should ignore it but it kept feeling like a blow, feels like I’ve been treated like an imbecile. And that somewhere out there there’s someone who laughs at the stupidity of people while counting the money he or she is making.

I hate being treated like an idiot.

A point to ponder is… the schemes can’t exist if people don’t fall for them, right? Are some people really that stupid? I mean, look at all the junk e-mails about Nigerian bank accounts or lottery winnings that circulate the internet. Or all the postings about Friendster is closing down (this one hits a bit close to home… not me…but I can’t believe people whom I knew will fall for that shite) or chain letters. I cringe everytime I open Friendster and found those posts (especially if they’re being messages sent to me). I try not to look at who sent/ posted it, knowing that I will have the urge to whack their heads to set them straight.

So yeah, I’m being bitter because I got mad somebody sent me that irksome SMS. Probably won’t be mad in a few more days. But in the meantime, to put me in a better mood, I’ll probably go watch anime or something.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Dark Is Rising

Can’t believe it took me six years to finish reading a book series.

I found The Dark Is Rising series in MCKK library. A gem of a book, if there is one. A fantasy, about the struggle of the Light against the Dark, with backdrops of the British Isle and Wales. A five book series. I read the first one, Over Sea, Under Stone. Then the second, The Dark Is Rising, which was spectacular. Third, and then fourth. But then I halted, since I couldn’t go any further. I remember rummaging through the library shelves for the fifth book, the last one, but it’s just not there. No! It’s NOT there! How can they do this to a reader? The search in frustration yields nothing. And the fact that the library doesn’t have an index offers no help either.

Ah, that was my early reading years. The time when my sources of books were the library and my friends only, since I couldn’t afford to buy them. So I just resigned myself to the fate that I will never be able to read the last part of it. Even though, somehow, the fact that I never completed it renders it special. Like Venus de Milo.

I remembered about the book series when I was looking for summer reading materials this year. Found them at Kinokuniya KLCC with the price tag of RM200. Oh well. Cheaper at Amazon, but waiting until I get back to the UK is torture. And good books are worth their prices anyway.

There’s something enchanting about finishing the books that you started reading when you were young. About following a long story to its end, or watching the last season of a TV show. There was a sense of excitement, but also a tinge of sadness, knowing that it will end soon. I reread the whole series again to refresh my memory. Then, time for the last book, Silver on the Tree. I flipped through the pages, savouring the details. Though a bit reluctant to meet the ending, there’s no stopping it once you started reading. If you’re a reader, you probably know what I mean. An engrossing journey, that you can’t tear away from. The trademark of a good book.

I finished them yesterday, on the comfort of my bed, late at night. And I put them on the shelf, sealing the magic within the pages until another day, when they’re opened again to be read.

Hmmmm, now that I ran out of new things to read, I guess I’m gonna spend some quality time with Walker, heh heh.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

The search and anticipation

29th of June. Says the sheet of paper in my tutor’s office. That’s when the results will be out.

It was last Thursday. I attached the phone line to my laptop, filled with anxiety. Will I do okay? Will it flop? Will I suffer from embarrassment?

Oh, you’re gonna get a first
, says Hamza.

I just stared at him incredulously.

Even I don’t know what to expect. How can you know? I asked.

Oh, I just know. Don’t worry too much about it.

See what I mean by suffering from embarrassment? Somehow, and I can’t really explain how, a few people expected me to get a first. I mean, I didn’t come across as mister know-it-all. Heck, I had enough difficulty finishing my work. And Hamza had only become my supervision partner for a month. How would he know?

A message across the screen. The password and username’s invalid on the domain. Drat! Why is this happening now?

I only managed to log in 24 hours later. Sigh…the anticipation is killing me.

Checked my Cambridge e-mail. Nope, nothing. Tried the university website. Still nothing.

There’s one more thing to do. The problem is, I’m not sure whether to do it or not.

Ubaid’s online on messenger. He’s staying in Cambridge for the summer. I could ask him to go to the Senate House and check my result. But, that means letting somebody else know it first, and I was trying to keep it to myself. Just in case it turned out awful. Which, come to think about it, is pretty ridiculous since they will know about it sooner or later. Oh well, I’ll keep that option aside for the time being and just wait awhile.

Checked again this morning. Got two new e-mails. My tutor’s secretary and director of studies.

OMG. This is it! Pass? Flop? Just a click of a mouse…

Total mark 275/375. Rank 65/588.

My DoS said… This was a good First. Many congratulations indeed on a truly excellent

I felt like shouting.