Friday, July 22, 2011

Awkwardness and Apathy (rated PG-13)

Selemat Pagi (Good Morning) to my friends in Rhode Island who are following! It's 2:30 in the afternoon here ( 14:30) , so it's 2:30 am for you guys. Exactly a 12-hour time difference, I think it's kind of funny.

Anyway, I'm updating this blog today to say how things are going. Today in school I purchased some notebooks and I'm waiting on a copy of a Science Workbook, and there was a strange assembly. But first, a quick explanation of school; or, The Story So Far.
I'm in the Arts stream, which means that the focus of the set of classes I'm in is an application to art. I'm taking such classes as Basic Mathematics, Bahasa Malaysia (Malay Language), Bahasa English (English Language), P.E., Islam, Business, Basic Science, History (World, I think), and Art. I have not yet attended an Art or Islam or P.E. class, but I'm sure they'll rock just as much as the others.
In Basic Maths, which I was told would be in English, I'm keeping up with the language enough to copy and complete the work, although I struggle in the concepts as they're on Trig II, I think. For Bahasa Malaysia, I study what I know and don't really follow along with the class because they're at my level in English, but in Malay. For Bahasa English, I speak only in English and correct people's grammar. For Business, I write down what's put on the board and hope it makes sense to me later. Science is surprisingly easy- we're doing things with practical applications and there's not much math involved yet. It's funny- my science here is easier despite the vague language barrier, it's actually easier to understand my Cikgu (teacher) than my 10th grade Chemistry Teacher. I look forward to learning in the classes I haven't had yet :)

Well, today's assembly is the next subject. This is where the awkwardness comes in. 3 guesses as to what's awkward for a teenage girl in any culture. That's right- SEX!
But not just any kind, the kind that gets teenagers pregnant and leads to dead babies on the side of the road and dangerous abortions and STDs and the god you worship hating you and AIDS and war and pestilence and the world ending. Now, I would've been okay with this because I didn't understand a word of it besides those borrowed from English; like Abortion, STDs, and AIDS, but it was the pictures and the mood music that really made it uncomfortable for me. I know I'll get through it, but it was very very shocking for me to see about 100 different photographs of dead babies in different appalling conditions and nearly as many pictures and diagrams about the effects of STDs on the genitals of both genders. This I was not prepared for. This I couldn't really handle the first time around, so I put my head down and tried to put myself in a happy place. It was hard to do this because I was sitting on a hard floor for about 5 hours with one break for food and the mood music was everywhere. Even if I couldn't detect the tones of the various speakers; which I could, I could tell what was happening because of the clumsily applied sound effects. They managed to connect hugging and kissing a boyfriend to the bombs that were dropped on Giza, and there was a song in English that everyone knew but me. Every time sex was mentioned, a deep 'Jaws'- like soundtrack would come up, the climax happening a little before the speaker had reached his or her conclusion regarding the dangers of the act. The last off-putting part was how easily the students went from this disgusting, horrific, depressing, upsetting, unsettling display of the sad and grotesque; the nauseating terror that came with the videos of Mosques exploding and pictures of inflamed genitals, to their everyday lives. Everyone but me walked out with a smile on their faces, glad it was the weekend. I was stunned in silence, unable to comprehend the purpose. What I have described was beyond uncomfortable for me, but I will not speak ill of it, because it was the only sexual education the students have ever been provided.
Speaking of speaking ill of something, I would like to address the fact that I will endeavor not to complain on this blog. I will be saving my secret gripes and personal problems and challenges for my journal, which finally has a purpose in this.
Back to education, which I will be participating in soon in the position of an instructor. I will be giving small English classes to Form 1 and 2 students (about US grades 5, 6, and 7) and putting up words and phrases in French on a board to see if there in an interest in French language lessons, even though I've only taken up to French 2. I am far from fluent. But so are they. So it all works out.
The good has balanced the not-so-good thus far, and as my emotions balance I am rendered at zero, and I feel almost numb, almost apathetic in my overwhelmed confusion. I'll examine this later. Probably after a shower.


  1. Hey Peggy, You'd be disappointed if it were all as easy as pie. I think your policy of keeping complaining to a minimum on your blog is a good one. I have tried to sign up grandma jean to your blog. It it cool with you to share to facebook your blog? Let me know.

  2. Hi Peggy, good thing you are so well-balanced!

    Sort of related to the above/sex scare stuff:
    Did you know that chimps and other monkeys only have one kind of louse, but when humans started to lose their fur, our lice evolved into head lice and pubic lice - so we are the only primate with two different species? Scientists have calibrated how many genetic differences occurred and figured out a timeframe for when humans lost their fur. Cool, huh?
    Uncle Chuck