Write it down…

When my dad was in hospital, I noticed that the nurses were all very busy all the time. They were standing there writing…and writing…and writing. Then, it dawned on me that teachers are not the only ones all caught up in this documentation thing – everything would have to be recorded on paper. Keeping a detailed record probably has its uses and its place and time but what good would it do to have all those thick, gaily-wrapped and decorated files when the core duty of one’s profession and vocation is neglected – which is to provide tender loving nursing care to the poor ailing patients in their ward. I am pretty sure Florence Nightingale did not have to do any documentation whatsoever in the dim light of her lamp when she went round nursing all those wounded soldiers in the Crimean War!

Well, so it is with teachers these days. I praise the Lord and give thanks that it was not like that those days before I retired. There are so many to do and to be submitted online…and it sure does not help one bit that the connection in the rural areas here sucks big time!

For one thing, perhaps someone can tell me how on earth did the Teacher’s Record Book get lost in translation and become a (very detailed) Lesson Plan, I wonder? Even during my time, I did know of people who had really beautiful record books, very impressive penmanship and very tastefully decorated…but I was wishing I could say the exact same things about what they did in the classrooms.

Then, of course, there would be the long and endless meetings – as the English proverb goes, “Every ass loves to hear itself bray!” and all the programmes to carry out even though they do not seem to be of any benefit at all, and all the extra classes which often make me ask – what it is that a teacher, the same one, can do in an hour or two that he or she cannot do in so many periods in the classroom the whole week? Never mind! The documentation is there to show. They have done this…this…and this…and if the pupils still do not do well, they are not the ones to blame. Surely the true essence of education is not supposed to be like that? Aren’t they losing sight of the wood for the trees?

With all those things to be done, at the end of the day, one would be way too exhausted to mark the pupils’ work diligently and write carefully thought-out remarks that they could read and act upon to improve. One would also be way too exhausted to try and think of interesting and inspiring lessons to teach, ones that would motivate pupils to want to learn – no, just take something from the textbook and teach it from cover to cover and of course, one must not forget the most crucial thing – to write everything down to the most minute detail in the record book.

And with all those things to be done, at the end of the day, one would be way too exhausted to eat even, much less to cook something nice for dinner. That is why we will always pack some food for my girl to take to her school in her jungle – she can eat it if she feels like it or just throw away when she is too tired and does not have an appetite. In fact, that was what triggered all the ailments that emerged as a result of her gluten intolerance. She (and many of the rest too) were having oats for breakfast, lunch and dinner…every day and oats and barley, not just wheat alone, are also bad for individuals sensitive to gluten.

Well, I did cook some chicken curry that day and it turned out really nice so the mum saved some for her to take to her school and as I was not feeling well and everything was not tasting all that great, I reckoned I needed stronger tasting dishes to whet my appetite so I bought this Bangladeshi lamb curry (RM18.00)…

Payung Cafe Bangladeshi lamb curry

…and belimbing prawns (RM16.00)…

Payung Cafe belimbing prawns

…from Payung Café for our meals at home – with all the things going on in my life these past couple of months, it had been a while since I dropped by there and since I was there, I decided to pack this green curry chicken (RM17.00)…

Payung Cafe green curry chicken

…and lamb masala (RM18.00)….

Payung Cafe lamb masala

…for my girl to bring up.

This is my version of the ants up to the tree (螞蟻上樹)

Ants up to the tree

I had some leftover luncheon meat from the porridge dinner a few days earlier when I was unwell so I cut it into little cubes to use to fry a bit of tang hoon (glass noodles) that I saw lying around in the house and I added the leftover cangkuk manis that my missus fried for dinner the night before. In my house, nothing goes to waste, if I can help it!

I also made more meat balls…

Meat balls

…for my girl. Obviously she enjoyed the ones I did for her the week before and she said she did not mind some more and of course, it was no sooner said than done!

Hopefully sometime during the course of the week, she will find time to enjoy everything that I’ve prepared for her and hopefully, they will bring some welcome relief. I really loved and enjoyed teaching and being a teacher, no regrets whatsoever, but looking at the way it is now, I bless my lucky stars that I am out of all that madness.

PAYUNG  CAFE (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.