A Big Chunk Floats Away

Hey peeps. I did my DELF test on Thursday. So how did it go? Well it went much better than I expected it to be sauf (except) for the orale part which as predicted went horribly bad. The part which I was worried the most, listening comprehension, turned out to be manageable. I think I will get the required 5 points for that part. I'm not sure why it didn't go bad for me. Maybe God was really helping me. Maybe it was easy. Maybe because thankfully our invigilator decided to start the listening part after the reading comprehension, which is a great idea since we wouldn't be so shocked and it's like immersing ourselves slowly into the pond of death :P Okay, overly dramatic there. Maybe also all the exercises that I had been doing daily really helped. This brings me to the 2 resources which I want to share with you, if you're learning french. I found it hard to prepare for it just by listening to radio or watching movies without subtitles which I did. By the way, Intouchables is a really awesome movie, go and watch it. For me, I think I was just focused in preparing for the test. So those 2 methods may help you understand things as a whole but I found that it requires a higher level of skill in capturing the detail and then retelling what you know in your own words. For me, I just want to be able to find information related to the questions. Often, I may not even have a full understanding of what's happening but then the questions enlighten that for me. I don't know if I am making any sense. I don't think my method is a good method. You should make yourself better for real not just to tackle some test. Still, let me just share the resources. The first one was actually used in Mr. N's class one time. It's 7 jours sur la planète. Once you reach the page, click on Téléchargez les activités pour la classe. It's a really good resource with levels that match up the DELF test. The bad point is, they only keep archives for 2 weeks and each week there are only 3 sets of exercises. So I found it not enough for me. The second resource is Canal Académie. I only did the Ecoute Attentive part, because it has the suggested answer key. The exercises are not as good as 7 jours sur la planète in terms of the questions variation and details, but they have a lot of resources. I don't know if they update it, but I found myself not finishing many of it. I guess it's also because I started late.

So anyway, yeah, I found myself not so riled up during the listening part. The reading comprehension was not as I expected it to be. The thing is we've been practising with pretty much the same structure and type of question but during the test, they were different. So I did feel slightly annoyed but I think it went okay. The writing part was also manageable. For the orale part, thank God they changed the schedule to remove all the people who didn't come, so I didn't have to wait until 4pm. Many people bailed. LF and Phil bailed. I don't know if Phil is still in the country, haven't seem him for so long. LF felt she wasn't ready and she had some issue that she had to deal with. It didn't stop me from being disappointed. She should just have come. It wasn't as difficult as we thought it would be. XF actually made a good case on why we should just do it. We paid for the test, we paid for the class, we should just come and try our luck. Maybe we'll pass which I think there is a good chance all of us will pass. I'm not so worried about failing each section. I think that should be fine, but I am worried if I get the required 50 points. I would like to be confident, but I don't know, I'm very unlucky this year.

Anyway, let me talk about the orale part. I was praying to get a subject with a very obvious opposing view, but out of the 2 I had to choose from, I didn't get the second one really well and I ended up choosing the same topic as XF about the lack of sleep. I presented my case in a problems - solutions form, but after it was done, I thought it was actually more like causes than problems :( I was supposed to do it with Ben and F who were my teachers at one time. I ended up not doing it with them. I don't know why. Maybe Mr. V made a mistake of bringing another girl to my slot or maybe because they were my teachers. I ended up doing it with Mr. V's team, but Mr. V was changed because (I distinctly heard this) he also knows me. Whatevs. I just want it to be done. I was the last batch. So I guess everyone wanted it to be over. I did badly. I'm pretty sure I did it after Sam and Sam is like awesome :( We supposed to talk for 10 minutes but I think I only did 8 because I spoke damn fast. One of them said ça va though. I really hope it's alright. Yes it's just my tendency to speak fast, even in broken french. There were questions that I didn't get. The guy was speaking softly actually that I didn't really get him :( Then there was the awkward silence when they didn't know what to ask me, err ... When it was over, I was grinning because it was over then I quickly texted XF. She met me in the library when she was done, saying the nerves was still all over her. For me, I was just darn happy it was over, but then the wave of disappointment came over me. I feel like one of those athletes who have a lot of potential, but can never win. XF told me she didn't have time to prepare all her thoughts in the 30 mins given to us. I had enough time. I had 2 pages full, but the execution was horrendous. It was like my mouth talked without my brain. It's always like that with orale. I blank out. I found myself being able to answer the questions (that I understood) with more ease but my monoloque was just awful. Alright. I hope I'll pass. Please God, let me reach the required 50. Please God, please.

So DELF is done. No more french class. I've packed all the notes. I felt this emptiness suddenly. Yesterday as I was getting home, I was thinking for the first time in a long time, I have nothing to occupy me. There's this sudden big emptiness for me to fill, which can be easily filled catching up on all those tv series and going back to crocheting. The past few months were filled with DELF preparation. Even way before that, before preparing for DELF, I usually have homeworks to do or the end-of-term test to prepare. Last time, my weekend would only start on Saturday afternoon. Now I have all these free time and no burden of anything. I like the fact that I don't have things to memorize and homeworks to do, but I do miss the "fellowship", if I can call it that. I had many many bleak days that meeting up with my classmates and teacher on a Saturday morning were often the things that I love the most about my weeks. I guess I'm pretty lucky that in every state of my class, I always have a group of people whom I was close with to do this together. Of course they came and were replaced by new people, but I am thankful that there's always someone. I don't know what I will do next. DELF result will come out in January, I think. So far, the plan is to go back to Italian class next year to make sure that they don't disappear completely and maybe after that back to french class, also for the same reason. I don't foresee myself doing any of it intensively though. I would love to do language #5, but I don't think it's wise to squeeze new things in my head when the previous ones don't have a stronghold. Whatever it is, it would be after Chinese new year. In fact, I feel like I don't want to think about anything until after Chinese new year. It's like there will be some sort of revelation after Chinese new year when the truth is I guess I just don't want to deal with stuff. Well maybe I can hope that the year of the snake will be better for me than this roller coaster year of the dragon which is draining me emotionally :(

Let's move on to other things. I watched Pitch Perfect last week. It was entertaining but somehow I thought it would be better. Today I watched The Life of Pi. I had wanted to watch it in Imax 3D after I finished my test but I had the worst bus driver ever so I missed the time. I of course can only blame myself for not moving faster. Today I was actually late for the movie, again I can only blame myself for being slow. It sucks when you paid so much more money for Imax 3D and you're late and you're ended up in a bad seat. I was so dizzy after the movie :( and I didn't enjoy the movie experience. The movie itself was beautiful I think. It's just my whole experience was awful :( The movie didn't follow the book exactly. I particularly hate the part that they added a girl there. I think Ang Lee made India looked awesome. There were some beautiful dreamy scenes in the ocean but I'm just very sceptical that it's possible for the ocean to be totally still like a piece of glass reflecting the sky. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe there is really a science behind it. I think the boy did a great job playing Pi. By the way, when I watched the trailer on tv, I was confused if it should be pronounced "pee" or "pie". I have been pronouncing it "pee', because π in Indonesian is pronounced "pee". Then I remembered that "pee" is the correct pronunciation because it's short for Piscine, which is the full name of the boy, but even in the movie it was pronounced "pie". Piscine by the way is the french word for swimming pool. When I read it for the first time, my brain took a split second connection to the word piscina in Italian which also means swimming pool.

So back to the movie, there were parts which I would have liked to see more, like the dramatization when there was a ship nearby. My heart was breaking when I read that part in the book because it seemed to be so near. In the movie, it wasn't that near, so as much as it was sad, I didn't feel that heartbroken. They also removed the whole blind conversation which I thought didn't make sense in the book. So in a way it was a good decision, but it was bad as well because that part could actually give us opportunity to hear what Richard Parker would sound like talking. They did keep the final part when the boy was telling the alternative story, but it wasn't depicted, which I think is a good decision since at least it leaves very little room to shake anyone's "belief" of what actually happened. I know that when I read the book, I was rather shaken that I actually hated this inclusion by the writer. Overall, I would love to watch it again, but I think I will not. It's beautiful really and do watch it peeps.

Let me end this post with my thoughts on a news that I heard today. You see there were some bus drivers from China who went on strike this week because of dormitory condition and salary. Apparently they're paid lower than the Malaysian bus drivers counterparts. In Singapore (and also Hong Kong), people from mainland China are not that loved, if I can say so. So I don't know how my Singaporean friends feel about this strike. I didn't really dig much into the story to know if the drivers had tried talking to their bosses many times of their condition, etc. It just became something that really caught my attention when some of them were actually charged by the police. Then today I heard that 29 of them will be deported back to to China. I think it's crazy. I think it's totally crazy. Indonesians took the street all the time for every little things that they don't like. Not that I like this kinda behaviour and since I was affected with hours of train delay due to a strike before in Europe, I do feel that the whole things are sucky for the people who are affected. However, I feel that voicing one's opinions is important and sometime one do need to take a rather drastic action. Lucky you if you have never had bosses whom you feel paid you unjusticely. For those who have, don't you ever wish that you can just go on strike? I guess in the end, I feel like the way the Singapore government deals with is it totally unfair. I have many things that I disagree with with the Singapore government but I think this is my first time writing about it. I know they have to mantain that reputation of being efficient and strict and most importantly ensures that this will frighten the people so they wouldn't do the same, ever! The transport minister was saying strict action is important because if they're seen as lenient then it will affect investors' trust in Singapore's capability. Still, I just cannot accept this punishment. I think it's just too harsh and it's awful. I see it as these people expressing their opinions and yet they are shut down unfairly. If they had taken it to the bosses without the strike, I think one of the outcome which may happen would be them losing their jobs for complaining. Now they are also losing their jobs, so they lose either way. I don't know if there are Singaporeans who feel the way I feel. Maybe? Maybe not? As I said, mainland Chinese are not exactly loved here, so perhaps many will feel good riddance for them?

:) eKa @ 9:27:00 PM •

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