Archive for the ‘teaching in rural areas’ Tag

Kalasiu picking   1 comment

Kalasiu – seen or ate it before?

I recently went off to the sea with my colleagues to find a particular seashell called ‘Kalasiu’, wednesday evening.  The idea came about during the staff meeting, when the teachers talked about having a craving to eat these things. It helps that it is currently their season, so they are abundant on the shallow sea waters. we managed to get 4 people, with 2 of our students as boat drivers and spotters.

Shafie, my student + sea guide

the sea was calm and the weather is merciful – theres some sun, but not too bright that it burns your skin. My students drove the boat for a good 10 minutes from Kuala Sugut, and we jumped off into the water about my waist high.

the process of picking up these ‘kalasiu’ is easy, you just have a walkabout around, if you step on something shell-like, put your hands in and pick it up. we didn’t really work much, we picked for about 10 minutes and then we had a jollyabout for a good 15 probably.

My two colleagues – Rudi and Mawi

overexcited after finding my first kalasiu – ‘orang bandar’ betul

10 minutes of picking

Towards the end, we picked close to a full pail of kalasiu, maybe about 30kg. Of course, that night, we threw a feast. the teachers all had boiled Kalasiu for dinner. you eat them like an escargot – use a toothpick, and pick out whats inside. I myself ate a few of them, but I don’t see what is so good about it, aside it being very high in cholesterol.

at least i enjoyed the picking process, and that a dip in the seawater and some walkies on the beach can do good, especially after a week or two of tense work.


The Pedalaman 3 pay – its doesnt look as good as the figures do .   2 comments

I have recently participated in two graduation, one in Auckland and another in Kuala Lumpur. Seeing the old peeps again is such a good feeling, especially when we chat about life at the new place, discussing about world affairs, how are we coping with the pressures of schools and all. Of course, of all that, the talk about money creeps in, and i found myself being the center of attention.

It is all because of the fact that I receive an extra RM 1500 a month from the government for teaching in a rural school. Coupled up with the fact that i too receive extra pay because Im from semenanjung and teaching in Sabah, i made quite a figure at the end of each month. Some are happy for me, some are envious, and some are just downright dissatisfied with me.

peeps, the 1500 a month is not as easy to earn as it seems. seriously.


some of the pain i have to go through to earn that 1500:

– be in school for at least 28 days in the month to receive it. if i go out berkursus for more than 3 days, there goes my allowance.

– live in  place without pipe water. all we do there is to store rainwater in big tanks. when it doesnt rain for weeks, we’ll run out of water, and probably have problems to even shower.

– live in a place with 20 hours of power a day only.  when the village generator runs out of fuel, the whole village gets no power for days. I have to fork out extra to buy petrol to keep our own little generator running suring those trying times.

– live in isolation from the world. Terusan is 300 km northeast from the nearest township, Sandakan. traveling to Sandakan form my place involves 2 hours of boat ride along the Sulu sea to Beluran(along with the risk of running into pirates), and 2 hours of car ride to Sandakan. travelling is a hassle, seriously. have sea sickness? welcome to the nightmare.

– live in a place without cellphone coverage. the only place you can get cellphone coverage is at the police comm towers, and that takes quite an effort too. not to mention lack of privacy when you make calls as others are using their phone too.

– live in a place where laundry is an issue. As Terusan peeps use rainwater, the clothes washed with it tend to smell one kind too, esp after you sweat on it. not even expensive detergent/washing powders can be of much help. a good laundry involves going out into Sandakan and wash you stuff there.

a place without church. Terusan is 99.9999% muslim, and therefore theres no church in the village. the best i can do now is to attend St. Mary’s Sandakan once a fortnight.


all of that for RM1500? think again. not as easy as it some of you might have thought. the government calls it ‘Elaun Kesusahan Hidup” for a reason.


To those who think they can do it, think again. there are people who asked for transfer, and new teachers run away from the place because they cant handle the ‘heat’ of being in Pedalaman 3. If you think you are ready for it, do take the plunge like me, and youll discover new things thatll make you more complete as a person.


*if you want more info on how its like being in pedalaman 3, do leave a comment, and ill see what i can do for ya.