The First UUM Incursion

29 October 2017 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

Last month, all of the sudden, I was tasked with writing a script for a short play for an English Language Carnival to be held at UUM. Not just that, but I had to coach the actors, who were all students of our business school. The theme was "peace". So I wrote a script with 10 speaking roles (2 narrators included) entitled Requiem to War.

However the event was postponed on account of royal demise. Then we got word that a new date had been set.

Some sort of requiem

All the actors got back into gear. I attended their final rehearsal.

The lead actors tried to kill each other

I only handled the acting and staging part of the rehearsal. My colleague Yuzy did most of the heavy lifting with regards to costume, props and logistics for the troupe.

Varsity Mall food

Friday evening, Irfan, Ain and I drove to UUM to check out the site of the event. We had dinner at the mall there. I wish we had a mall here.

 

Nia and the Return Home

22 October 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

We had the opportunity to meet and play with Nia Nia again as Ayah Cik Farid and Cik Ma had a 24 hour or so overlap with our stay at Pasir Mas. The day before we had to depart, they arrived.

Drawing

She showed us how to draw. Also, she asked us to read Irfan's old Hippo book.

The laptop watchers

She especially liked dancing to the Mitchiri Neko toon on Youtube and picking out the odd cat out among the clusters of cute cat musicians on parade there.

Wheee

Irfan as usual was great with toddler-class cousins.

No cats here

Nia of course loved playing hide and seek at Tok Ma's drapes in the living room.

 

Phoning It In

21 October 2017 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

In the last month or so, the battery life of my Samsung phone which I bought over 2.5 years ago shortened and shortened. I thought it was bad when it only had an hour of energy at full charge. In the end it only had about 5 minutes of life at full charge. I had bought a fresh new battery when I was at Langkawi in July and clearly I was swindled.

Spiderwebbed

Physically, the phone looked like it had been beaten up by school bullies.

Cracked Rear View

The battery looked pretty chubby in the end.

Do I look fat from this angle?

I needed to buy a new phone as mobile communications appear to be paramount at work.

 

A Sojourn To Jerteh

19 October 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

And so it came to pass that Irfan, Ain and I took a vacation back to Pasir Mas, Kelantan. And during our vacation in Pasir Mas we took a sub-vacation south to Terengganu.

Our primary objective was Kuala Besut, Jerteh.

Testicles

Kuala Besut was famous for its keropok lekor and other such seafood.

Tok Bah and I

For some reason, traffic was heavy. We randomly took roads that eventually led us to this keropok restaurant.

Ain and Irfan

Ain and I miss eating the Terengganu keropok lekor, which we once had quite frequently as I once worked in Terengganu.

It's a factory too

As we ate keropok and satar at the restaurant, the proprietors there were also processing raw keropok right there behind the sales counter.

 

Mini Six: The Seaside Catastrophe

17 October 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Teaching
 

And so it came to pass that I was given the opportunity to present my ideas for tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) as a language learning tool to the workplace. During the workshop, I also ran a Mini Six session for the participants. For the first time ever, I gamemastered (GM) an RPG session for colleagues, which was something I never thought I would do.

The GM is in red

The GM has no idea what he's doing

This entry chronicles the epic events that transpired in-game during the session:

Mini Six: Agents of CIL

The Seaside Catastrophe

If this actual play report sounds familiar, then it is because it is the same scenario I ran for my class last month. This time though, the pregenerated player characters (PCs) consisted of a whole new mix of agents.

Dramatis Personae

  • Alex and Farahhein as Agent Mustonen the Finnish combat medic
  • Sareepa and Masturah as Agent Khoo the Malaysian sniper
  • Ivy and Angela as Agent Takeuchi the Japanese engineer
  • Syakira as Agent Petrovic the Bosnian driver
  • Yuzy as Agent Hussein the Yemeni linguist

A Peaceful Drive

It was March 2011.

The five Agents of Central Intelligence League (CIL) had been sent to Fukushima, Japan in 2011 by their Agency Director (who was at the time about to undergo a medical procedure) to investigate the disappearance of their colleague Agent Yamaguchi (which Agent Mustonen reminded was nicknamed Tamagotchi at the office). CIL was an independent international intelligence agency that helped governments to keep the peace worldwide.

Initiative list

Some whiteboard or something

Petrovic drove their car through the Japanese countryside towards the town of Ōkuma which was the last known location of Agent Yamaguchi. Everyone else was drowsy and lethargic except for the supermodel-by-day Agent Khoo who somehow (with a Perception roll) noticed that a car behind them was driving up towards them fast! Khoo noticed that the driver wore a completely black outfit and a cloth mask that covered his mouth and head.

Khoo alerted Petrovic who at the last moment (with a sucessful Drive Vehicle roll) swerved out of the way. At this point everyone was wide awake, jostled about by Petrovic's wild manoevre. As the car skidded past them, Mustonen drew his weapon - a big and shiny Magnum .45 - and fired at the driver of the attacking car. (The Shooting roll and its Damage score were both high.) The bullet hit the driver squarely in the face, causing his car to veer sideways and smash against a large tree.

Petrovic brought their car to a skidding halt approximately 50 metres away.

Agent Mustonen was sure that their attacked was dead. He jumped out of the car with his gun trained at the wreck ahead and approached carefully. Takeuchi accompanied him. When they both arrived at the car - which was wrapped around the tree - they discovered that there was no driver. There was no body. A pool and splatter of blood were the only proof that there was someone at the driver's seat. According to Takeuchi (with a Techonology roll) anyone involved in such a collision would be immediately killed. How was this possible?

Mustonen took a sample of the blood on the seat with a vial he had in his medical kit.

Mustonen

The Finnish agent

Meanwhile a police car stopped behind the agents' vehicle. A police officer approached them, asking, "What happened here? Why are there so many foreigners here?"

 

17th Anniversary Dinner

15 October 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Food
 

It is now our seventeenth year together, Ain and I. So many hardships along the way and against hostile odds here we are still together, still in love; and with Irfan still in tow although he is not as little as he used to be.

He's a trooper

We thought we would try out the BIG Tas'TEA restaurant by the roadside at Arau.

Mulling over menu

We have always wanted to stop by, but we had to have extra change in our pockets before we could splurge on the more expensive Western food and smoothies and such.

We made sure in advance that we had the cash to visit BIG tas'TEA on our anniversary.

This is mighty big tasty

Sure the cholesterol level might be through the roof, but the chicken in this meal tasted fantastic.

 

Teaching Without Power

14 October 2017 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

This semester I have to help teach another English course to a class of professionals in another learning institution. Today, during my class in which I have prepared a ton to slides to be shown on the screen, the unthinkable happened.

There was a blackout.

I'm clearly in red

So I took the class outdoors. Luckily there was a cafe right outside the class, which was closed on a Saturday.

Forty's a crowd

The students helped me transport the whiteboard out to the corridor.

A matrix

I tried my best to think of an exercise they could do in groups which would compel them to do research, write then speak.

 

Theatre Was Suddenly In My Repertoire

07 October 2017 | Hisham | | Teaching
 

Did I not join this university as a language translator?

How did I end up teaching English Theatre Arts as a co-curricular course?

It really matters not, because I am enjoying my role as an language educator here. More so because I love teaching enhancement of soft skills.

Tanah tumpahnya darah ku

So my course began this week. We began with the obligatori Negaraku anthem song.

Game over man

I tried getting the students to read part of the Aliens script - slightly modified - to get them to emote (with and without stage direction).

Randomisation of emotion

I dealt them this random lines exercise between two students to get them to emote better, but during the first week even "sadness" elicited an unstoppable wave of giggles.

ELCA 2017 script reading

During the second week I got the students to read the script that I wrote for students involved in another programme. Perhaps I need to write a blog post about that programme soon.

The students also watched an episode of the TV series Community to break down sections of plot. The show is fantastic in this regard as it sometimes comedically break down its own stories metatextually.

The class

Class will resume in a couple of weeks after the mid-semester tests and Deepavali break.