Thursday, 30 May 2013

Words of Wisdom...

Carissa Ho Sheng An,
Treasurer (2013)
‘All your dreams may come true, only if you believe in them.'
Walt Disney

Somewhere in January 2010, I remember walking into Pn.Tan's office as a scrawny 14 year-old, wondering what was I getting myself into, becoming a Librarian and all. A few of the seniors told me to keep calm and do my best. I smiled weakly and nodded although I was anything but calm on the inside. Oh well, I stepped into Pn.Tan's office and answered a bunch of questions and somehow I got out alive!

A few days later, I was so relieved, because I managed to get through the interview! I bet it was a miracle of some sort, because I'm someone who is really shy and I'd rather hide behind someone’s shadow than take the spotlight. I kind of loathe the times when everyone  is on me, like when someone sing 'Happy Birthday' to you and you don’t know where to hide your face.

Anyways, my days as a probationary Librarian were probably some of the best and mind-blowing experiences I have been through. When our former Head Librarian [of 2011], Jin Hao, asked if there was anyone who wanted to take part in the drama for the Librarian Board's annual dinner, I don’t know what went wrong with me; or maybe a coconut knocked me in the head; as I mustered up all my courage and volunteered myself. It was really fun to take part in another one of Pravin’s [2012 Assistant Head Librarian] crazy dramas and I guess that was one of my life’s milestones. This incident broke that fear in me when it comes to expressing myself.

To cut this whole melodrama short, I passed the Librarian Qualification Examination and got to be a Librarian! I guess that was one of the happiest days in my life, though no one really knew it. The days after that were even crazier than before, as I got to make even more new friends, meet new people from all different walks of life, and go through all our ups and downs together, especially when someone may have some sort of conflict with others. When Brittany [2012 Head Librarian] announced in 2011 that I was appointed as the Assistant Treasurer , I had no idea what to do as fear crept up on me, but at the same time I was a little estatic. Hahahahaha :D. So, I guess from that day onwards I was the one who would go around chasing everyone to pay off your fees before they were due. Sorry if I was a bit harsh though, I was  just following orders….

The accounts were crazy at first, because the money didn’t tally and everything, but I soon got a hang of it when things took a turn for the better, and I realized that I actually like collecting money, which is kind of weird. So, good luck to the future Treasurer of the Library and hope that you’ll find the job as amusing as I did.

I know it’s cliché, but I became a Librarian with hopes of finding who I am, as I could meet new people and get to know the school in-depth.

I became a Librarian and found out that this place is made up of cool and awesome people who left the Library and new probationary Librarians who come in year after year.

I became a Librarian and learnt that, with unity and strength, we can overcome all obstacles together. By the way, some of you managed to rekindle your friendship,s no matter how ticked you off are of each other.( I forgot the exact situation but I think something like that did happen XP)

I became a Librarian and realized that Hui Shyen’s (Assistant Head Librarian) tagline; ‘We are a family'; might probably be true because, sometimes we are way cooler and share a bond like no other club in this school.

I became a Librarian and I feel that, after all these years as a Librarian, I have changed maybe a little in terms of my insecurity and shyness.

So, I guess I want to thank all of you in the Librarian Board who were there for me, through the good times and the hard times, as we strive to make the Library a better place. I promise that, [if you're considering of becoming a Librarian] you won't regret becoming a Librarian, even though it might have its downsides sometimes . I also wish all of the junior Librarians all the best, and hope they will never give up in anything.
Carissa Ho Sheng An,
Treasurer (2013)

This post is part of a series that will feature heart-warming posts from the members of the High Committee of the 2013 Librarian Board.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Just About Arranging Books :)

When one hears the word 'library', it will conjure a place saturated with books and shelves as far as the eye can see, all zealously guarded with an old hag of a librarian. As with any respectable library, our Library has all these, minus that crazy hag. Always, users would browse for a book, take it out and read it (obviously). Then, the book is simply left for the Librarians to put back on the shelves. This is especially true, after classes leave when their NILAM slot is up, and there are like a tonne of books left to be arranged by the Librarians.

Anyways, have you ever wondered how that seemingly-impossible tonne of books just disappear every time you come into the Library the next day? The answer is simple, and obvious: the Librarians just put those book back where they belong (yes, even though the pile's a size of a whale!). Though quite labour-intensive, and exhausting, there's nothing that could work better than the usual chipping-in and having the spirit of our motto: Towards Success We Work Together !

Even with that enthusiasm, the Library couldn't be as systematic as it is now without one very important thing: a system. With that, we Librarians turn to the basic of any library: the Dewey Decimal System.

In this system, books are categorised in different groups with different numbers according to their subject matter, as with the following:

  • 000 – Computer science, information & general works
  • 100 – Philosophy and psychology
  • 200 – Religion
  • 300 – Social sciences
  • 400 – Language
  • 500 – Science
  • 600 – Technology
  • 700 – Arts & recreation
  • 800 – Literature
  • 900 – History & geography

  • Also, appended to this system is our own additions, created to increase the convenience of browsers to access the following materials:

  • FI – English fiction
  • FM – Malay fiction
  • FC – Mandarin fiction
  • FT – Tamil fiction
  • PMR – References for the PMR examination (also Lower Secondary References)
  • SPM – References for the SPM examination (also Upper Secondary References)

  • With such an awesome system, arranging books is made easy, and the herculean task could be finished within minutes (assuming that a crew of Librarians are working on the same thing at the same time.

    Besides books, other things are categorised and classified in the Library as well. These things are what are termed as 'non-book materials'. They are:

    • C – Chart
    • CD – Compact disc 
    • CDR – CD-ROM 
    • G – Picture 
    • I – Scanning cards 
    • GL – Globe 
    • P – Map 
    • PA – Audio tape 
    • M – Model 
    • PM – Game 
    • K – Kit 
    • MK – Multimedia kit

    Hence, I hope you will find this post informative, entertaining, and effective at killing boredom. Stay tuned for more.

    Monday, 27 May 2013

    Cluster School of Excellence


    Hello once again avid readers,

    As you (by you, I mean fellow students of SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3)) should know, our school had been bestowed the status of Cluster School of Excellence, with us being recognised as excellent in the fields of Science and Basketball. Since then the school has been inundated with corny and unsavoury rather interesting jokes about this recent event, reflecting the shock of the school when we got the status, since we did not even expect to get it (especially when it is our first time reluctantly applying for it, as our beloved Principal would say). Perhaps this is due, in part, to the lack of awareness of what constitutes a cluster school of excellence.

    Cluster school is a brand given to schools identified as being excellent in its cluster from the aspects of school management and student achievement. The creation of cluster schools aims at accelerating school excellence within the Malaysian education system and developing schools that can be emulated by other schools in the same cluster and outside the cluster.

    The establishment of cluster schools is contained in Chapter 9 of the Education Development Master Plan which was launched on 16 January 2006. Cluster schools are based on the second approach of the master plan, which is to develop the full potential of schools within the cluster of excellence whose mechanism is set out in the 6th strategic thrust, accelerating the excellence of educational institutions. Literature review indicates that the practice of grouping schools is practised in foreign countries to raise the quality of education. Such groupings are based on locality or excellence.

    For more information, you can read on here.

    Sunday, 26 May 2013

    Teacher's Day

    It's that time of the year again where I come back from the dead and bring you an interesting story to read! Isn't that just lovely? As you can tell by the title of this post, it was Teacher's Day two weeks ago. A day where everyone comes together to appreciate the hard work and dedication our teachers have invested in us so we would have a brighter future. Unfortunately, this date falls in the midst of the examination period so many people took the opportunity to skip school to study. The rest of us on the other hand just wanted to enjoy a little break from the examination stress. Many people got their favourite teachers gifts. I personally didn't get them anything, reason being I didn't have the time to go out and get something and also I strongly believe that the best present you can give your teachers is to share your success. No matter how small or how grand your gift is, it's the thought that counts. My friend decided to give them limited edition Disney collectibles and they are adorable.

     The event started with the usual speech from our Principal, Pn. Azizah. She mentioned how proud she was when our school was featured on national television. Even I'm impressed. As the opening of the event, Pn. Azizah opened the ceremony by cutting a cake and feed bite-sized pieces of cake to the teachers. She was even fed in return by our Senior Assistant for Curriculum, Pn. Nasiroh. As a token of appreciation, all the teachers are given little envelopes which I presume contains either shopping vouchers, or cash. Some teachers even enjoyed a little chat with each other.

    The cake has been sliced and envelopes have been distributed. Now it's time for the games to begin! No, literally, there was games. The games were organised by our fellow Form 4 Teratai students. The first game was pass the egg. A team of pairs have to bring the 'egg' to the end of the court without touching it or dropping it. There was 6 teams competing, and only one won. Spoilers? Its Miss Pearl with our library's very own Assistant Head Librarian, Hui Shyen! There was some really intense competition there. May I add that Miss Najwa looks extremely bad**s, as usual. 

    What fun would it be if there was only one game? Of course there has to be more! The next game was the newspaper game. A team of 7 people are required to stand on 10 pieces of newspapers. The newspapers will then be removed piece by piece. The team that can stand the longest on one sheet of newspaper without any part of their body touching the ground wins! The boys decided that carrying each other was the best decision while the ladies thought of just standing on one foot. Now isn't that lady-like? See what I did there? No? Okay then.

    You know how teachers always nag how we can forget things easily? Now it's payback time. *insert evil face here* This game requires 5 people in a group. The male teachers are seated on the chair in front of their group members. Each teacher is required to stand 1 metre from each other. The last person is to remember a list of 10 words and the information has to be passed down to the team leader. The names must be in sequence but the spelling is fine. After peeking at some teacher's answers, I can't help but laugh because they can't spell certain things. I know it's bad but it's still funny.

    What's the next game? Well, each team is given 30 paper cups. Their mission is to stack it up as high as they can. The tallest structure wins. One team decided to build a pyramid while the other teams just took the whole stack and put it on the ground. PLOT TWIST! Now the team which keeps the paper cups, and the quickest to do so wins. So obviously the team which just took out the whole stack on the ground wins because its already stacked to begin with! What are the prizes for the winners you may ask? It's chocolate! Come on, who doesn't like chocolate?

    An apple a day keeps the doctor away. So, why not feed apples to not-so-little children? So, aim of the game is to eat the apple that is on the barbeque stick. The fastest wins. It's not very much of a surprise that a guy wold win this game. Come on, have you seen them eat that apple? It was as if they didn't see food for months!

    We were then an hour for recess. After that, it's time for performances. First up was Shawn Ng singing Little Things by One Direction and You Raised Me Up. He drove all the ladies crazy. I think we have ourselves a new Justin Bieber. Second up on stage is 4 Mawar presenting their Choral Speaking entitled Teachers which made the crowd laugh from the little nicknames our teachers got. Third up is our school's band playing a few hit songs. The Prefects and Librarians did a dance-off which involved some extreme moves! Some performances also include inviting the teachers up to dance. I'd have to say that our teachers still got their moves. Then the ceremony closed off with a short skit by the Technics and Vocational Department which involves devils. I'm not sure if that is a very great end but it seems so! 

    The Perks of Being A Probationary Librarian

    Form One. New school. New beginnings. A year ago, I entered secondary school. I admit that I was really scared during my orientation as I did not know many people. During a trip around the school, we entered the Library. It was big in my eyes and towards the end of the visit; a Librarian asked me if I would like to be a Librarian. Being a Librarian was on my bucket list so I immediately agreed.

    A few weeks later, I was called back to be interviewed. As I stepped in the room butterflies started to flutter in my stomach. I was asked many questions. One of the questions that were being asked was if I had to choose between tuition and Librarian duty, which would I choose? As I didn’t attend tuition I immediately answered Librarian duty.

    A month later, I was chosen to be a probationary Librarian and I had to undergo probation for 6 months. I alongside other probationary Librarians were given a tag and a sheet of paper which contained the tasks that we had to complete within our probation period. We had to produce two artworks, we were also expected to process 5 books each month for 4 months in a computer program known as S-Lib and we also had to write 5 book reviews each month for 4 months. We had a lot of work to do but instead during our first few meetings we played games to build a bond between us probationary Librarians and the senior Librarians.

    After 6 months of probation, I realized that I have bonded with the Library and the Librarians as well as the probationary Librarians too. Finally, after being elected as a Librarian, there was an annual high tea and it was lots of fun. The food was delicious and the performances were awesome. There was even an awards ceremony where we get to choose the best Librarian in a few hilarious categories. Brittany, who was the Head Librarian at that time managed to sweep five awards including Best Librarian and Cutest Librarian. Four newbies even managed to win some awards. They are Ang Ji (Mysterious Librarian), Alicia Ho (Hyper Librarian), Claire Richard (Best Probationary Librarian) and Daim Hashim (Best Dressed).

    At the end, I realized that being a Librarian isn’t just about shushing people and handling books, but it’s about being a family and just being ourselves.

    So, to all Librarians, thanks for making me feel welcome in our one big, crazy family.
    Anonymous Probationary Librarian

    Friday, 24 May 2013

    A Flashback to the Past

    Hello beautiful people of the blogosphere,

    Just several weeks ago, we Librarians had our annual Librarian Qualifying Examination. To the uninitiated, all Librarians, except for the fifth-formers, are required to take the examination to determine their competency in carrying out their duties. Usually, the examination would consist of general knowledge of the school and the Library, the school's and the Library's administrative hierarchies, basic inventory work, and duties as a Librarian. It seems like a lot to prepare for, but four years of remembering would turn it to a cinch!

    Anyways, as a fifth-former, I was charged with looking after the probationary Librarians (that is, the ones who just joined us), and then I remembered my first examination, which was scary and nerve-wrecking. Their faces were just like mine, fearful and under tremendous pressure. I remembered when Mr. Wong Tzyy Yu (our current Senior Assistant of Student Affairs) used to scare us with his no-nonsense tone and keep us all in line. He was so demanding, that he actually said that the passing mark of the examination was at 80%!

    Anyways, when I got back home, I retrieved my old notebook, which contained my notes for the examination, and how remarkable they looked after 5 years! Most of it is the same, and the hierarchy has understandably changed, but there is one remarkable change that compels me to share with all you people out there.

    If you look at the 'About our School' page, it is stated that our school's vision is 'Sekolah Unggul Penjana Generasi Terbilang' (translation: An Excellent School Creates a Distinguished Generation) and our mission is  'Membangun Potensi Individu Melalui Pendidikan Berkualiti' (translation: Awaken the Potential of Individuals via Quality Education)

    However, as I dig through my notes, our school's vision was 'Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Utama Damansara (3) cemerlang tahun 2012', which was to lead our school to excellence by 2012, and its mission is, 'Beriltizam untuk memberi pendidikan berkualiti cemerlang; pengalaman belajar yang menarik dan menyeronokkan; suasana pengajaran dan pembelajaran yang selesa, selamat dan kondusif; kegiatan kokurikulum yang memberangsangkan; dan membentuk potensi diri ke arah mendidik' (and the equally long translation is: Aspiring to give an education of excellent quality; an interesting and fun learning experience; a comfortable, safe and conducive teaching and learning environment; robust co-curricular activities; and to shape self-potential towards a nurturing self).

    So, here's the question that came to mind: what's with the change? Well, I looked around the school, and there has been so many changes in my five years of secondary school life.

    First off, the vision. As you can see in the 'About our School' page, our school was recently recognised as a Cluster School of Excellence in the fields of science and basketball (an unlikely combination). Though everyone was sceptical about getting it when we were inspected, we have proved them wrong and have in fact achieved our vision. Hence, the old vision is achieved.

    Next, the mission. I think, if you meet any of our alumni, I guess that the majority of them would say that the school does provide a great education, and has nurtured them to where they are now. Even our co-curricular achievements are exemplary, especially with the crowning jewel of sweeping clean the champion trophies at the recent district-level basketball tournament. Hence, the mission is achieved.

    After that digression, I think that all this is enough for one blog post, and I hope to see you guys soon!

    Thursday, 23 May 2013

    Ucapan Tokoh NILAM Tahap Jauhari 2013: Benefits of Reading

    Reading is probably one of the most beneficial and feasible activities that a man can do. It is through reading that a person is going to be able to discover new ideas, concepts, places, and people. Some people even describe reading as a journey that starts as the opening of a page, and finishes as the last page is turned. The reason why reading is so important is because reading is relaxing to our mind and soul; it is a way for children to reach out to the world, and it improves our thinking process.

    The first reason why reading is so beneficial in our lives is that a book furnishes relaxation to our mind and soul. There is something about stopping to focus on words during reading that is instantly relaxing. Maybe it is just staying still in a chair, something that does not seem to happen often in our lives. Stress is a major concern for a lot of people because of the day to day labor. Even if we have a stressful day, a book can easily distract us from our own problems. Reading has ability to calm us down, and dispense peace.

    The second reason why reading is so beneficial in our lives is that reading is relaxing, and it is also a way for children to reach out to the world. Reading should be encouraged among children at an early age. This is significant because there are numerous benefits that children can dilate from reading. Aside from mushrooming qualities and senses, reading also reports knowledge and information to their brains. It is no secret that reading increases children’s vocabulary and spelling more than talking or direct teaching. Reading forces us to look at words that we might not have seen or heard in our lives. In fact, languages in children’s books are likely to be more complicated than their average conversation. A large number of children who read are articulate while the others are not.

     The third reason why reading is so beneficial is that reading improves our thinking process. Reading books require readers to think and imagine about different details in the book such as characters and plot; this provides us to improve our thinking process. Repeating a habit of reading and persuading the brain to be more buoyant and absorb more information will give us a great beneficial. It also obliges readers to focus on what they are reading for long periods. Unlike magazines, internet posts or e-mails that might contain small pieces of information, books tell the whole story. Since the readers must concentrate in order to read, they will improve their concentration, thinking abilities, and plunge them into their brains.

    Everyone knows that a person who reads will be successful and a person who doesn’t will either not do so well than others or eventually fail in life. If we want to be known as a profound person instead of being a delinquent one who begrudges the successful person, we must start changing our habits. “No entertainment is so cheap as reading, or any pleasures so lasting.” (Montagu), reading may look very prickly outside but if we actually remove the husk, it is our companion that assists us to go through our livings. It will not only refresh our mind and soul but it will give us a great outlook towards life.

    Soo Wei Shan

    Originally from:

    Ucapan Tokoh NILAM Tahap Rakan Pembaca 2013: Reading Maketh a Full Man

    Reading maketh a full man: this quote from empiricist, Sir Francis Bacon, is what everyone takes as the complete truth, or at least adults do. Day in, day out, they tell us: ‘Go read your books’, but to no avail. However, when we do get our noses into a book, it would be in Facebook. Why is it so, some may ask? Let us take a closer look into the situation.

    Firstly, let’s not kid ourselves. Reading alone doesn’t make you a genius, nor does it endow you with superpowers. Stereotypically, bookworms aren’t warmly accepted into friendships, but are rather kept at arm’s length at best. These days, adolescents are more interested in playing computer game, where we control the action; or go on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter or Myspace, which has become yet another way we can interact. In short, we prefer action and expression over passively following a text, and that is actually a good thing!

    As a matter of fact, in this fast-changing world, it is the proactive and expressive that greatly influences the world. However, does that mean that we would achieve great things if we just do things randomly and shout our thoughts out loud on the roof? Obviously not! This is where reading comes in. Yes, reading alone won’t amount to anything, but if you think about what you’ve read and use it in your everyday life, and then it would inspire you to work wonders, one step at a time.

    As an example, let’s say you read about the stars in the night sky, and you got stranded in the middle of nowhere with no hand phone reception and no compass, just with a map and a torchlight. If you could really use what you have read, you should be able to get back to civilisation by using the stars above as a way to navigate yourself.

    Hence, as a conclusion, it is not reading that makes a full person, but rather, how reading inspires action which would ultimately make the full person come to being. With that, let us all read up on a vast array of subjects, and use them to change the world, one step at a time.
    Kiwan Richard
    Published in Niexter, The New Straits Times

    More to read

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