Saturday, November 18, 2006

the teddy

Yup, it's the Children In Need day - where the whole nation tries to raise money to help the children in difficulty - abused, disabled, ill, unfortunate in any way. Schools take part by organising all sorts of events. Some have raffles, some have shows, while some others have activities like face-painting. It's a good idea, really. The whole nation is at least at one for a goal: to earn as much as possible for charity. The money is really for the younger generation. For example, the money can be contributed to help a local community dance centre run dancing classes simply to keep the children off the streets.

On a slightly different note, I must comment on the service offered to the British community. There's a library run by the City Council just across the road (well, okay - a bit down the road after crossing at the traffic lights). Physically - it isn't huge. But the facilities are of quality! There are about 20 computers with Internet connection, selection of fiction and non-fiction books (for adults and children), videos, DVDs, CDs, books with audio, printing facilities (black and white printer, coloured printer, photocopying) and other reading materials. What amazed me was that about 40% of the materials were in another language, Urdhu/Tamil or anything similar to that. This was simply because the library is set in an Asian area, thus they try their best to help serve the community there! Within the hour I usually spend there, I'd see young and old people using the facility. People come in to read the newspaper, to check their e-mails, surf the net, return books and of course, getting other books to bury themselves in.

It amazes me how much they are concerned about their community. I've seen a young boy of 9 or 10 coming in and downloading songs from the internet into his MP3. This is what we call world-class facilities and real literacy. The books are of a variety and recent! Not to mention, very colourful, interesting and simple. Why can't it work in good ol' Malaysia? I've worked with children, teenagers, young adults and just found it very difficult to get them involved in reading. When I was teaching in a secondary school, I tried several things. Reading for pleasure, Joke Corner, A story a day (mind you, short stories they were!), Read and Recite, storytelling, story dramatising, etc..etc.. It worked to an extent but I didn't see them reading the way I was hoping they would. There was a Reading programme before where a basket was left in the school canteen for the children to pick whilst doing nothing. Result? Didn't work. Why? The books were NOT interesting!

pause to reflect for the day:
  • are we giving as much as we can/should?
  • why can't we do it as well as others?
  • move towards positivism - we can, we will and we have!!!

My son once asked me after a month in Britain:

Mom, we can't eat non-halal food because it'll be in our blood and affect our
daily acts, right? Then, does it mean that all the non-muslims do are
bad? How come there are some who are actually not naughty or bad?

I explained that not all who are non-muslims are bad. They sometimes are much nicer than muslims and portray angelic acts. However, they're faith(iman) isn't there that everything good they do won't mean anything. No pahala, no point. It all boils down to the niat and the faith.

So, moving back to the points to ponder I've listed above, we take a little and we throw a little.


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