27 October 2011

A Love Letter

We’ve already been together a year, but I still get butterflies every time I see you, my red microwave. My life is more exciting, just because you’re in it. You’re so special and unique in everything you do. Whenever I need you, you’re right there. You never leave me hanging, or try to play games with me. When I need my leftover pizza warmed up, you’re always willing to help, no matter what time of day or night. I love you for what you do for me, yes, it’s true; I also love you just because you’re you. So many other microwaves are content with being white or black or silver—but you had the guts to be different, and express your own sense of style. Some hoity-toity microwaves insist on being installed into the wall instead of being content with sitting on the countertop. That’s just another thing I love about you—you’re laid-back and satisfied with what we have together. You’re always up for adventure and a change of scenery. If the kitchen needs rearranging, you’re happy to sit on any counter. I am assured that when life calls me to another job, another town, you’ll come with me. My best friends don’t love me enough to move with me wherever I go, but you do, and I’m so thankful for such steadfast love. My heart will break if our relationship ever ends—please, we won’t let that happen, will we? I love you and I need you, my red microwave. No matter how many new models come out, no matter what new technology develops, I will be faithful to you, as I vowed: “For better or worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.” Here’s looking forward to many more years of bliss—whoever said relationships were tough?
23 October 2011

On Professors

We all have to encounter them sooner or later. In the olden days, students relied on word-of-mouth to discover which professors at a school should be avoided, but now we have convenient sites like that we can refer to when choosing classes for the next semester. In my college experience, I have found that professors fall into 4 general categories:

The Professors who Dislike Having Students
Many of these professors are those who never wanted to be a professor at all. They wanted to be academics; researchers and scholars who wrote erudite articles to be published in journals read only by the upper crust of academic society. However, these intellectuals found that even scholars must eat and so they became professors, a profession which allowed them some time for research and the writing of scholarly journal articles, but not nearly enough, because of the necessity of wasting countless hours grading the papers of wretched undergraduates and replying to their redundant emails. Professors in this category are those who cancel class due to the most trivial of reasons. These professors will likely instruct their students to ask their classmates any questions about the class and assignments, rather than sending emails or, even worse, coming to visit the professor in his or her office to discuss the matter. These professors are the ones who don’t remember your name until about the last week of classes. Sometimes these professors are British. I’m not saying that there’s a correlation, but it just seems that I’ve heard the “I can’t believe that I’m wasting my time and energy on you lazy American undergraduates when I could be writing another book on the role of the chorus in Greek tragedy” speech more often delivered with a British accent.

The Professors who Want to be Your Friend
I’m sure these professors are really actually very nice people, but I have to admit that they make me somewhat uncomfortable. I enjoy and appreciate the students vs. professor dynamic in most classrooms, but those professor that insist that you call them “Steve” rather than “Professor Jonker” just make things a little awkward. These professors are the ones who invite you over to their house for movies or even Thanksgiving dinner, and the say things like, “I find students so much more interesting once I get to know them outside of class.” I know they have the best intentions, but it’s hard not to hear the creepy music playing in the background when professors attempt to prove that they can still chill with college students.
The Evil Professors
                These professors are not to be confused with professors who don’t want to have students. These professors want to have students all right, for the express purpose of making their students’ lives miserable. These are the professors who give out 213 review questions for the final exam, and end up putting just ten of those questions on the exam, with another five questions that don’t look even remotely like any of the review questions. These are the kind of professors who write midterms that require twenty pages of handwritten essays, and feign surprise when their students are unable to finish the test in the allotted time. These professors take pride in giving the highest number of failing grades in their department, and boast to their current students that the last student who got an A in their class was in 2001. They have strict rules against making audio recordings of their lecture, but then they expect to have entire lectures, complete with sub-points and illustrations, repeated back to them on tests. Avoid these professors, it you can.

The Professors that Everyone Loves
                There are some professors that students just can’t get enough of. When their name comes up in conversation, students will say, “Oh, I had her for English 101, she was so awesome! I’m taking her again for my capstone course.” These professors are sought after and coveted by the unlucky students taking classes taught by evil professors. The qualities that make a professor loved are somewhat varied, but often include leniency when it comes to assignment deadlines, creative teaching strategies (perhaps involving songs, movie clips, or puppets), a solid review strategy that prepares students for tests, and a facility for remembering their student’s names.
              Choose wisely as you plan your semester’s schedule, as the kind of professors you have will influence the way you spend your days and nights for months to come. Will you cry yourself to sleep every night because you are under the firm rule of a tyrant of a professor? I hope I won’t.

The Incomplete Manglish Dictionary

I was happily strolling along the other day, when I suddenly realized that I could not even remember the last time I used the suffix "-lah." But that was not all! It's been ages since I've exclaimed, "Aiyoh!" Furthermore, no one has commented on my "unusual accent" in recent months. I decided that it's time for me to get back to work and put a little Manglish flavor in my speech. I looked up a short list of some common terms and phrases that are a part of Manglish that I made a couple years ago, and I thought I'd share them with you. If you have any Manglish terms or phrases that you think should be added, feel free to comment!

Aiyoh, interj. Oh man!

Also can—This phrase is used to communicate the belief that a certain course of action is feasible.

Auntie, Term of respect for an older woman, substitutes for Ma’am.

Borrow, v. This word has two meanings. It can mean “to borrow” or “to lend,” depending on the context. Examples where the word “borrow” means “lend”: I borrowed her my car. OR Can you borrow me a pen?

Kampung, n. village

Kayu, derogatory term for a person, meaning that that particular individual is clumsy or is not doing a good job

-lah, interj. A multipurpose suffix. Attach to the end of nearly every word in a sentence to add spice to your speech. Whateverlah, I’m happy to eat anywhere you want to golah.

Let’s go makan-makan—An invitation to dinner.

PPK, v., This is a short version of pang pui ki, which literally means to “take an airplane”. However this phrase is used as an idiom, as in: This time you better not ppk me or I’m not going to make plans with you anymore! = This time, please do not forget about our plans and decide to ditch me or I’m not going to make plans with you anymore.

Rosak, adj., Spoiled, broken, unusable. Multipurpose word that means that an item is not usable. The fruit you bought from market is rosak already. The refrigerator is rosak.

Second Breakfast, n., Meal eaten at about 10 in the morning, or else immediately after First Breakfast

Supper, n., Meal eaten after 10 at night

Tissue, n., Paper napkin used at the dinner table

Uncle, Term of respect for an older man, substitutes for sir.

Where got?—This phrase is most often used when you want to question the factualness of a statement, as in: The grocery store doesn’t open till 11 in the morning? Where got?

Why you do like that one?—This question is a colloquialism for: Why did you behave in such a disappointing, annoying, or inconvenient manner?