Get connected…

It is very easy for those people perched on top of their ivory towers to say that this is the age of technology and that is how education should be these days.

Well, we do not have to go very far, just 99 km away from Sibu town, less than half an hour’s drive from Selangau Bazaar to my girl’s school in the jungle…

SK Sg Sepiring, Selangau

…and it is located right beside the Sibu-Bintulu road, no need to go inland, deep into the forest even.

Using technology to teach in the classroom is out of the question – I even bought a portable LED projector for over RM1K for my girl to use but there is no power socket, no electricity supply for one to use for this purpose so for years now, it has been sitting idle in one of the cabinets in the house. I wonder if it still works!

The teachers have to do a lot of things online, key in all kinds of information, statistics and what not and never mind that I do not really see the purpose but it actually takes them away from what they are supposed to do – TEACH! For one thing, there is no internet connection (and the servers that the ministry is using suck big time) – no Streamyx nor Unifi in those part of the woods so they will have to pay out of their own pockets to subscribe to one of those that may be used in the desolate remote areas here.

Maxis is totally dead while DIGi has a bit of life. Let us look at my connection. If I am sitting inside my girl’s quarters, for instance, there is no line at all, not even a single bar…

No bar

…and of course, if you want to go online, this is what you will get…

Failed to connect

I will have to go to this corner of the building…

Signal available here

…where on good days, there will be a few bars…

Signal available

…and I will be able to go online to do things like checking out my blog or logging into Facebook…

I'm connected

I remember one time I was bringing some students to a public speaking competition at a school right across the river from Kanowit. I found that there was a connection if I were to stand near one palm tree there holding my hand up high. I could call home…but when I lowered my arm to speak, the connection was lost. A friend of mine from Penang posted to a school in the Dalat district said that he would have to climb on top of a cupboard in his quarters to send me an sms.

“This is CELCOM territory!” they would shamelessly and blatantly declare and I have to fork out around RM100 a month for my girl to enjoy the connection and go online using their wireless modem. It used to be pretty ok before but I hear that these days, for reasons unknown, it is also rather shaky, not all that reliable anymore. Shouldn’t they be getting progressively better, not progressively worse? Tsk! Tsk!

This is why when I see those people with their lofty ideas implementing all kinds of programmes and what not, I get very depressed. It is obvious that they do not know very much about us – like how they would change the dates for their meetings according to their whims and fancies and I had to pay the fines for changing the dates of my air ticket bookings…or even if they do, I don’t think they even care…at all and the tragic thing is I do not foresee a time in the future when this is going to change, no way so for heaven’s sake, spare us all that crap – faster and cheaper broadband by 2019, my foot!

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

13 thoughts on “Get connected…”

  1. Spot on! You are right about taking teachers away from what they supposed to do, TEACH!

    I am not much into the latest technology but I need to advance in my learning to be ‘well-balanced’ in the latest technology knowledge as much as I can cope with (I loathe, laothe..!!)
    I understand your frustrations ;). I am facing the same situation as well , lol! It’s so difficult to express the frustrations through words but you managed to take the words out from my mouth. Enough said! Lol!!
    It takes a lot for Teachers to facilitate and implement and it’s Hell if the resources aren’t provided readily in terms or physical resources or technology needed resources.

    Have a beautiful day ahead 😉

    Mikki

    Personally, I strongly feel that it all boils down to one thing – the teacher!

    This technology thing can be the icing on the cake, never the cake – a welcome break sometimes but no, too much of a good thing can be bad. I saw TEACHERS at courses, sleeping, talking and not paying attention to the talk and at the end of it all, they will just come up with their thumb drive and ask to be allowed to copy…and when there are gimmicks like animations and what not in the slideshow, we found ourselves waiting for the next slide…to be entertained.

    My time, at best, we had the radio…to listen to songs, stories and radio lessons but not all the time and I used to radio sometimes too, mostly to teach English using songs and I did show a movie or two in a year, something in line with the topics in the syllabus…and as a reward for being good and doing well.

    And my time too, we read books like Around the world in 80 days, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe without the aid of technology and we could visualise the story and see in all in our minds’ eyes – dependence on technology will retard one’s imagination and creativity.

    1. You are right to say technology will retard one’s imagination and creativity, last time we do not have the iPad or mobile phone and we play masak masak with papers and scissors, pretend selling CCF cutting the papers into pieces which are the chee cheong fun, creative right? When we did a Literature Project using Animal Farm story, we use water pouring into a cup to fake the “urinate” sound and record into a Cassette Tape

      Look at the kids these days, all glued to their smartpohones and that silly minister was suggesting that they be allowed to bring it to school. Goodness gracious me! What on earth is he thinking?

  2. So funny! Have to climb up to the top of the cupboard to send you SMS!

    Those days without pager and mobile phone, we survived, but nowadays without mobile phone and internet connection, I get very uneasy.

    That is why in my reply to your previous comment, I did imply that I am not all that in favour of all the technology, not completely, at least…and especially not in education! Too much dependence on it and it takes over our lives and too much of it turns us into anti-social zombies, all lost in our own world.

  3. The first picture .., the beautiful environment with beautiful plants.., I really don’t mind climbing up to the zinc roof to get signal lol!! Haha!! ;))

    Enjoy your day 😉

    Mikki

    Yes, it is a very nice place – I did blog about the sad state of affairs there once, very subtly. If only they had pro-active admin to run the place really well and everyone co-operates to create a really good school environment. I wouldn’t mind living there.

  4. Even in town area, most of the servers suck big time, what more to say in the jungle. I have change my streamyx to Unifi which is alright that much I can say and I have to fork up RM139 monthly for just 10 mbps package.

    I pay over RM200 a month for my Unifi…and I use DIGI for my mobile and yes, I may not get any signal or at best, a bar only EVEN at some places in Sibu town proper so I can’t go online to upload photos of food and stuff onto my Facebook page.

  5. Haha. Reminded me of the time I went to Kapit. Many years ago. First time to that part of Sarawak. Maxis sucked then. Totally disconnected and I had hard time sms, not to mention calling home. Till now, still not that good reception but much better. I remember certain spot in my in law’s house and canteen have few bars and one little move, totally gone. Hahaha.

    LOL!!! Those who have experienced it would understand what I am ranting about in this post. DIGI was worse – just go across the river from Sibu – that time by ferry and the connection would be lost. That time, no DIGI (016), no MAXIS (012) in Kapit, can’t remember if there was Celcom (019) – I had to buy a TM card, dunno what it was called them – the 013 numbers.

  6. Just like in my mum’s house in Terenganu. It’s so frustrating when surfing the net. So slow, slower than tortoise!

    So bad in the East Coast too? I guess those telcos only care for where the money is.

  7. That’s a shame, you’d think if they are required to have a reliable connection that they are at least reimbursed for purchasing the service. Are they. It does sound like those in control are a bit out of touch with reality. Technology is great, but I really don’t rely on it and can do just fine without. However, in a work situation, you might not always have that freedom.

    Not in those places a distance out of town but the authorities’ own services are no good, dunno how much money went into their pockets – this Third World problem and how much money actually went into the setting up of the websites and that is their main concern, obviously – they are either extremely slow…or down.

    1. Here in the USA we still have areas that are like that. The internet coverage is very poor. In South Carolina, my parents on 20 acres of land. Each year, they have developers calling them to sell that land so they can use it for cell-phone towers. My parents keep turning them down. They want to purchase the property for pennies, but they’ll be making much more from that land and the coverage in that area would still be bad. It’s sad when people look at the profit over everything else. It’s something I could never understand. Those are the types that always have their hands out, but rarely lift their hands to assist others without a hidden agenda.

      They say there is radiation if you are staying near these towers. I’m surprised there is this same problem there too, like us here – we are so backward, Third World. Maybe that is the disadvantage of being too big – like Sarawak where I live here in Malaysia, as big or bigger than all the states put together in the mainland peninsula.

  8. gosh – we really do take the internet for granted in urban areas! this is a sobering glimpse into what other communities in malaysia have to endure…

    We are outcasts, unwanted – bad internet connection, horrible roads…good once as a “fixed deposit” so we do get some crumbs off the former master’s table every 5 years, dunno if it is going to get any better.

  9. I hope that the telco coverage there will be better in the near future. Ohhh… you’re using the Nokia 3310. How is it? I plan to get it for my dad…

    Better? Let’s just pray that it will not get any worse. Tsk! Tsk!

    Yes, this 3310 is good enough for me to do what I want – call and send smses, takes nicer photos than my previous Nokia models, go online…but no, you can’t whatsapp. I don’t need that so I’m perfectly ok with it…and ah yes! You can’t go and eat crabs with it – not like the original.

  10. I’m surprised the school has no electricity. Must be so difficult for the teachers.

    There is electricity, runs on generators…and not too long ago, there was this thing about the hanky panky going on with the diesel supplier and the supply stopped. Good thing they have ironed things out now…but even so, the classrooms do not have power sockets so only appliances that run on batteries can be used. It’s a terrible shame really, such backward Third World Country situation here.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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