Friday, 26 April 2013

Being Poetic

During last class, we discussed the components of poetry. In short, we talked about what poetry means to us and how we use it in our lives. So, after a while of discussing, the essential question we pretty much got stumped on was "How is poetry different from prose". I'd say even though that question was pretty much left unanswered, it was still my main takeaway from the whole lesson. Sometimes questions are more interesting that way.

But regarding the analysis of poetry, I honestly think I am defiantly not expert at it. What I mean is I get it, just am not a ninja at it. I guess analysing poetry can be quite useful as it helps you understand the true meaning of the poem and not just "Oh, that's nice". But there are just some poems that however much to stare blankly at it, you just don't get it. Here's where it becomes tedious. Trying to unpack a suitcase full of sharp objects that sting when you touch them, that's what it can feel like sometimes. Complex vocabulary and meanings that are hard to understand can make the job much harder. But on the bright side, a poem that is more easily digestible, but still entails a profound meaning behind it, can bring a much more pleasant experience analysing it, and leave a trail of deep understanding behind it.

Sometimes this theory can be applied to our lives. Things we just don't get can be a painful roadblock, but others flow like a smooth river. Both the poem itself and the process of analysing it can relate to our real lives. In a way you can say our lives have a sense of poetic nature to them, waiting to be unpacked and analysed. Isn't it?

So today's class was about re-writing poems. Stanza, lineation, emphasis, it can seem like a blur, especially for me, as this was the first time I really looked at these things in more depth. I would not say I am very confident in this area yet, but I think I am able to cope and pretty much understand the concepts. From today, I think I still need to build a deeper understanding about where to put emphasis when writing poetry, and where to split lines and build stanzas. Let's see where this leads for now.

Sunday, 21 April 2013


Nature. What a broad open topic. As children growing up in the buzzing urban cityscapes, nature is often neglected. But isn't that where we all started off? Human beings sure did not begin in cities full of skyscrapers and paved roads. So a question that I actually have been thinking about for quite some time now is; why and how did some of us come to become so detached from our roots?

From talking to some people, I have found that nature is quickly becoming an obligation instead of a luxury. We are cutting down forests to expand our ever-growing and overpopulating cities, and when we go and experience real nature, we feel awkward and a sense of un-belonging. So our solution? Build artificial nature where we can get rid of the guilt of killing plants and trees, but experience it in a air-conditioned enclosure with walls, pavements and other forms of human development. I'm not saying that that is bad or anything, but if you think about it, does that really count as nature?

I don't want this to become too much of a rant, and it may sound ironic of me saying this through technology, but sometimes I wonder, how have we become so detached from nature?

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

April Fools? Don't Be Fooled.

So, 2 days ago was April Fools. I must say this April Fools I have not been fooled by the people around me, however I have actually been fooled by many companies and the internet. Hahaha? Cut it out, it's not funny.

It was the evening of April 1st, and I was sitting on the couch thinking to myself "Google. How I can't stand Google". It's not that I dislike Google, I actually think that Google is one of the tools I couldn't live without, but their April Fools trick was just plain annoying. Google Nose. A futuristic piece of software/hardware thing that claims to be able to create smells from your computer. Sound like total rubbish right? But go their website (or watch the video embedded below), and even if its just for a second, you will believe that its true. It's that believable.

Besides making me feel totally gullible, this has actually made me realise that yes, it's April Fools, and yes it's Google, so I shouldn't take it to heart. But what if something like this was posted not on April Fools and not by some legit company, or even worse, by someone pretending to be a legit company. I guess this brings up the issue of how nowadays, anyone can do anything they want on the internet. I think, and actually I'm sure there are tons of information on the internet that just is not true but trying to trick people into handing over information they are not aware they are handing over. Think about it, when you go to a website, sometimes you will see something like this, right?

Image Attribution:

Tell me you did not fall for it. But there are times where something fake actually looks like its real. Take Google Nose for example, it is made so that people would actually believe it. But in truth, it is a bunch of total nonsense.

Are you aware of this problem?

And by the way, this is not a joke, but TechLIFE 2.0 is coming up. So get ready and register interest now if you would like to attend! I will be writing another post with more information soon as well, so stay tuned.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Year of TechLIFE 2013 Has Ended

So, yeah. TechLIFE 2013 is over, which is both heart warming and heart breaking for me. A year's worth work, has payed off. I my opinion, I think that TechLIFE was a success, with over a hundred students, coaches, teachers, gurus and organisers who came to learn, share, explore and teach. There were many student workshops, guru workshops and field trips filling up the 24 hours (if the first hurdle of staying awake for 24 hours is met), making the conference interesting, and full of interesting events. However I think the biggest hit of the event was the Skype-ing in of Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, that literally made the crowd go berserk!

Well now its over, and here comes the part of appreciation and gratitude, so here is the letter the organising committee gave to each participant:

We guess the best way to start a welcome letter would be “Hello”, right?

So, hello. We are not going to bore you with the “24 hour technology conference et cetera et cetera”, “by students for students et cetera et cetera” or how TechLIFE came to be (of course we will tell you if you would like to know), but what we would like to say is how much we appreciate you coming down to UWCSEA East for TechLIFE 2013, it just makes our past year’s worth of effort worth it. 

Through the past year, we have faced many challenges and points of frustration, as organisers of any conference would know, but this experience has really been meaningful, and almost touching to see how much support we eventually managed to gain. I mean, just look at the group; more than 100 participants, coaches, gurus and teachers who have come down to have fun, learn and explore for the next 24 hours.

We would also like to take this opportunity to especially thank Ms. Caroline Meek and
Ms. Nikita More for putting in a tremendous amount of effort into helping us make this conference a success. Without them, the conference might not even have been able to run! We would also like to thank Mr. Jeff Plaman, Mr. Miles Beasley, Ms. Keri-Lee Beasley and Mr. Jabiz Raisdana for their continuous support and assistance throughout the organisation process.

We don’t want this letter to become too wordy, but here’s one last thing. We hope you enjoy participating in TechLIFE as much or even more than the amount of fun we have had organising it for you.

Hats off to you and have a great time at TechLIFE,

The TechLIFE 2013 Organising Committee

I think that even after the conference, this letter still manages to get our message across. But what I'd still like to say is how much we appreciate all the student participants for coming down to TechLIFE to share the excitement (and constant energy) throughout the conference.

I will be posting more about how the conference went as photos, media and comments come through, so stay tuned!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Think, Write, Share, Read, Discuss...

Image Attribution: Link
What is the What. The book that has sparked many controversies within students reading it. First of all, I have to say I am relatively enjoying reading this book, as it is interesting, educational and even quirky at some points. However the true meaning of the book can be rather heavy and deep at some chunks in the storyline that just make me want to put the book down. Its not that it is boring or anything, it is just that it can be a bit too much for my mind to process and handle (maybe its just me).

Through reading the book, I have gained a better understanding about Sudanese and Sharia Law, the cultures the people follow, as well as the struggle faced by many civilians due to the civil war. It has really made me think in a different perspective to what I knew about Sudan as a region filled with conflict and war. After reading about half of the book, I am now able to see the situations from the perspectives of a person who has been through the situation and not just reporters making stories about what we want to hear (not all, but quite a few).

There are just some things in the book that you love and motivate you, such as a line "I find strength in asserting what's right" in chapter 2, but others are just really "dull" and "overcast", such as the part where they are eating the elephant and starving to death that just make you think "How could they do that?"

I guess it all comes down to perspective and styles, but What is the What is a great book nevertheless, as it makes you think and gives you a better understanding of what is going on it the world. Really.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Ever Notice This?

Supermarkets, the one shop we spend a lot of money in. But have you ever noticed how different things that may seem coincidental or "normal" actually are carefully planned out by supermarkets to make you buy more of their products? Take a look at some of the statistics below:

Image Attribution: Link

Surprised? Well, its true! Next time you stop by a supermarket, have a lookout for some of these things and take them into consideration so you won't be deceived by the supermarket's tactics!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Is Blogging Useful in the Classroom?

Image Reference: francescopozzi
Blogging is a useful component in the English classroom. This is because it gives opportunities for students to express their thoughts, and write freely about topics they're interested in. In the past, teachers would set a topic, and students would drag to write about it if it did not interest them. Because of this a student who might have a keen interest in football, could be asked to write about basketball, which is dull and uninteresting to write about for that particular student. However, with open blogging, students can write whatever they wish whenever they wish, which in turn improves their writing skills at their own pace. Along with these advantages, by posting work on the blogs, students can receive feedback and comments in real time not only from teachers, but also from their peers which benefits both the writer and the commenter, as the writer would be able to improve their writing, and the commenter would be able to take examples from their peers and improve their writing as well. This is evident from the following quote "The nature of writing comments to a blog post, including the ability to preview your post, encourages self-editing and re-writing by students." by Tim Stahmer, a tech specialist. Even though I see all the benefits and advantages that blogging brings to a student's education, I might not blog as much as I would like to because of two reasons. One is the limitation of time, as work from other subjects might be overwhelming at times, leaving little time to blog. The second one I would have to say is the sometimes the fear of getting judged about my perspectives, therefore in the future I hope to slowly learn to put that fear aside and blog more freely and with more ease.