Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer school in helsinki

Yesterday we went to a club. That was the second time in my life in a club. I was just amazed by the electric vibe in the club where everyone just danced and danced and drank. This is a quick sketch done right before going to the club. Fafas serve amazing fries. 

Are we failing our boys?

Dear Diary

Yesterday Alison, a fellow student and I were just discussing about the strange phenomenon of the seeming domination of girls in the realm of education. Where of course the top positions in politics and the corporate world are still primarily dominated by males I could not help but wonder  how long this gender shift has being going on,  what is causing it and perhaps more importantly, what it means to an egalitarian welfare state that is Finland, where no child should be left behind, be it a boy or a girl.

            And so it was really timely that today we had a lecture by Harry Lunabba from the department of Social sciences. He shared with us his doctoral thesis on ‘When adult encounters boys in school: insight, influence and social relationships’. Consistent with Finnish modesty, despite being regarded as having one of the world’s best education system, the Finns continue to try to identify areas in the system that need improvement, and one of them is the wide gender gap in academic performance. According to OECD Better Life Index report in 2013, girls outperform boys by 27 points , much more than the OECD average of 8 points. So, are boys the victims of an education that is historically designed and dominated by men?
            Harry approached the issue by conducting an ethnographic study where he spent a year in schools directly observing classes and mingling with the students. He found out that our expectations of how a boy should behave play an important part in the gender gap. Firstly, the idea of masculinity dictates that boys should be active, loud, and are expected to be leaders, even in the introverted Finnish society. So it is practically impossible for a boy to be the ‘silent boy’ and not get noticed. Whereas girls are expected to be demure and studious, they are ‘allowed’ to be shy and quiet and not stand out. And this, I think, has affected the performance of introverted boys. Secondly, Harry deduced that boys are not taken seriously enough. Whereas ‘silent boys’ receive unsolicited attention, loud and defiant boys are dismissed as ‘just being boys’, which does not solve the problems they may have at all.

            From my personal experience and observations, which may not necessarily apply to Finland and is highly likely to be biased as I studied in an all-girls school, the gender gap may be caused by several factors, which are disproportionate female:male teacher ratio and a feminized education system. 74% of Finland’s primary school teacher were female in 2005. Children, especially boys, need father figures in their early lives, and a male teacher fulfills that role. Boys also generally mature later, are good at practical tasks but less tolerant towards sitting in the classroom for long periods, which makes them more suited for vocational schools whereas traditional education model suits girls more, especially the exam oriented ones.

            Fortunately for Finnish boys, the education system is so holistic and comprehensive that 45% of the students choose to go to vocational school. While vocational school is regarded with negative connotation in some countries, the Finnish vocational school has very high quality and are not seen as anything less than the academic oriented schools.

            So, to answer my question of what a wide gender gap means to an egalitarian welfare state that is Finland, despite the apparent lower scores, I believe that the Finnish education and society has not failed the boys because scores and rankings are just part of the outcome, not the outcome itself and ultimately, it is the wellbeing and happiness of the boys that is the most important, which leads to another question of why Finnish men have one of the highest rates of suicide in the world. Well, let’s just blame it on the long dark winters.

These are my fellow students at the summer school. 
Notice the female:male ratio here. This is what is happening everywhere I go. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Unforgettable little art exhibition

This is my dream come true. I had hoped and hoped for a group as they have in Penang and Singapore to sketch with but whenever I googled ' sabah sketchers', only frustrating, irrelevant results of skechers shoewear came up.

And so I had been sketching alone and lonely until about half a year ago when I met Kwan, the first person in Sabah who showed sincere interest in starting a group with me. One thing led to another, not long ago I met Nova, the manager of Wishbone, art cafe on the most happening street in KK, Gaya street, through Kwan, and the rest, as they say, is history.

We had a little launching of my sketch exhibition titled ' Travel. Sketch.Heritage' yesterday. Here are some pictures.

Me and my Ipoh sketches

me at Wishbone

My partner in crime, kuan yew, my dear friends and colleagues who came to join me on the opening day.

Dear Nova also invited reporters and here is the article.

The link to Urban Sketchers Sabah : or search for 'Urban Sketchers Sabah" on facebook.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sri Latha indian breakfast

A series of jetty

Ever since my facebook was automatically changed to timeline, 
the photos in my blog have broken links and wouldn't appear. Anyway, that seems unfixable. So here are my newest sketches. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sketching In a park with Kwan

For months I stared longingly at sketches posted by fellow sketchers on facebook and the urban sketcher website, and resignedly at hundreds of pictures, articles, and announcements of the sketchwalk that was being held in conjunction with the Georgetown festival. Sketchers from as far as Taiwan, Bangkok and Singapore were arriving at my favourite part of the world to sketch, while I had to work in the labour room, seeing babies after babies popping out. Attempts to look for like-minded people in my current city were fruitless, until that fateful day, when I met a local artist, Kwan.

And today, we had managed to sketch in a park I had never known existed before. We found a shady area in a traditional house. It was a quite area, with only mosquitoes as our company. So we felt safe when there were 2 PDRM guards near us, until they had to go off to investigate a fatal accident. We enjoyed a few minutes of solitude until it was disturbed by an army of excited, screaming children from a kindergarten called Tadika Didik Kasih. We were soon surrounded by little spectators. And so I sketched Debbie( who wrote her name wrongly as 'Deddie' which only added to her cuteness), Owen, Evangelis, Shira and the most adorable baby.


This is the beautiful lotus pond in the park.

The children loved Kwan's drawings, and wouldn't let him go until each of them got a drawing of a cartoon character by him.

This is an excellent drawing of the traditional 'perahu' by Kwan, on a cardboard paper.

So that's all on my first ever ' group' sketch in sabah. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Flying home


Today the day seems long and endless. 
My day begun at 5am.
I was well rested despite having had only 3 hours of sleep.

 After cleaning my face and teeth I started blood taking, in my personal record time - an hour.
I usually take around 4 hours.
and i am the slowest blood taking houseman I know.
so I felt honoured that I was able to help a fellow houseman with blood taking after I finished mine.
By the time my car's engine roared to life from a good night's rest,
the sun was scorching hot.
I left the hospital feeling excited.

A short respite- this one hour of sketching my lovely neighbourhood.
3 labour workers sat beside the road, hiding from the unrelenting sun
I finished the sketch,
and drove home.

Only to find out that I am having a test in 3 weeks' time instead of 4. 
But it's ok, I told myself.
I will start studying now. 

Lazy sundays

Post call days are the happiest days in a week.