Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Child Psychology

Okay, so before you guys think that History & Philosophy of Psyc is the only subject I took last sem, I also took Child Psychology. It's one of my favourite subjects because we studied an individual's physical, emotional, cognitive and social development from pre-birth to adolescence, and the problems and disorders which can occur at the various stages of development. Plus, my lecturer is a practicing psychologist from Canada, so he made it interesting by giving real-life examples instead of the same stuff which is already in the textbook.

So anyway, here are some of the stuff we learnt:

We learnt so many things about newborns and pregnant mothers and labour that I don't even know where to begin. Newborns are usually assessed using the Apgar Scale, which assesses the newborn's physical condition by measuring the pulse, breathing, muscle tone, general reflex response, colour of skin, etc.

Among an infant's primary emotions are smiling, laughing and crying.

A child's handedness (whether the child is a righty or lefty) can be determined at an early age. You can see in the picture that this girl is a righty.

Educational toys can help children to develop and improve their skills at an early age. Check out her motor skills too, among which is her ability to grip/hold objects.

When talking with babies, adults tend to use "baby language" to elicit a cooing response from the baby.

Language functions as a tool for children to convey their needs. Sometimes children also use it as a form of escapism, such as talking on their own, or while playing with their toys.

Eating disorders: Some children have problems eating - whatever attempt the parents make at forcing them to eat does not work. However, there are also children who overeat, thereby becoming obese/overweight.

Try observing a baby when he is left alone. One second he's looking at something in front of him, the next he's looking on the floor, the next he's looking upwards.

This 1-year-old is in Piaget's sensory motor stage of development. She is exploring the object (it's just a bench) and has discovered that she can climb onto it.

An older sibling can also help in teaching his little brother stuff such as constructing sentences, or opening the water bottle.

Credits to the mini models: Cousins Fawwaz, Zain, Fida and Hanif; "niece" Daania; brothers Zulfadhli and Basyir; and siblings Nusaibah, Rumaisa', Basyir and Hassan.
Credits to the XL model: my father. :-)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sophie's World

Hey people...once again, sorry for not updating my blog. Yes, it's the usual excuse...so I'm not gonna bother typing it again here. :p

Anyway, one of my assignments for my History & Philosophy of Psychology subject actually required me to read a book, do a book review plus a 3-minute recording of me reading my favourite part. Of course, I could hardly expect stuff like the Twilight Saga or Harry Potter to be in the reading list. Instead, among the titles we got were Confucius's The Analects, Sigmund Freud's Civilization and its Discontent, Ibn Khaldun's Al-Muqaddimah, Hamka's Tasauf Moden, and - oh, joy!! - Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. It seemed like the most fun book to read, and luckily it did turn out to be fun. Well, it was mostly about Philosophy, but the way the author presented it made Philosophy actually seem quite interesting. He used lots of simple metaphors to describe what a certain philosopher meant and the way that philosopher thought. Plus, the book covers almost all the philosophers to ever exist. The story is set in the 1990s in Norway. So I'm just going to literally copy-and-paste my assignment here...but just the synopsis. Let me know if any of you wants a copy of this book or if you suddenly decide to like philosophy. :D

Sophie’s World is about 14-year-old Sophie Amundsen who receives a mysterious letter in the mailbox when she returns home from school one day. The envelope is addressed to her, and in it is contained just one question: Who are you? The next day, Sophie receives a strange postcard addressed to a “Hilde Moller Knag” From then onwards, Sophie’s life changed forever. Everyday, Sophie would receive an envelope containing “lectures” on philosophy by a mysterious philosopher. In the beginning, the lectures explained the meaning and concept of philosophy using simple terms and metaphors but still managed to make Sophie look at the world around her with a newer and broader perspective. In one of the letters and a “video trip” to Athens, the mysterious philosopher introduces himself as Alberto Knox to Sophie. He teaches her many things about past philosophers, their philosophy project and their method of philosophizing. For example, Socrates was more concerned with man and his place in society compared to the forces of nature. His method of “discussing” philosophical matters with everyone he meets by asking questions and exposing their weaknesses, whether the highest-ranking man in the society or a servant doing odd jobs, aroused the irritation of those being questioned by him. Therefore, the people of Athens found him guilty and sentenced him to death. Other philosophers whom Sophie learned about with Albert Knox are Kierkegaard who suggested that it is more important to find the kind of truths which can make an individual’s life more meaningful, Freud and his psychoanalytic theories, and other philosophers like Marx, Darwin and even the natural philosophers of the pre-Socratic era such as Democritus and Empedocles.

At the same time, Sophie has also been receiving mysterious letters addressed to Hilde Moller Knag sent by her father, Albert Knag. She has also been finding properties of Hilde, such as a red scarf belonging to Hilde under her bed. As Alberto Knox was teaching Sophie about the Renaissance, Descartes and Berkeley, Alberto told Sophie that they are both in the mind of Albert Knag and that they have to find a way to escape. It is at this point that the story changes to Hilde’s point of view. Hilde is given a copy of Sophie’s World in a ring binder by her father on her 15th birthday as a way of teaching her philosophy. When Hilde starts reading, she is caught up in the story and she is sure that Sophie is a real character who is out there somewhere. Meanwhile, Alberto Knox has a plan to escape from Albert Knag’s mind, and they must carry out the plan during Sophie’s philosophical garden party in honour of her birthday, for that is when Albert will return home from Lebanon. As the party becomes more and more chaotic, the climax of the party being when someone rammed the Mercedes car into the apple tree, Alberto drags Sophie and together they “disappear into thin air”. They now live in the spirit world where they are invisible to everyone except for those who are like them, such as Snow White, Peter Pan and other fictional fairy tale characters. They drive to Hilde’s house where Sophie sits next to Hilde and tries to talk to her – but of course, to no avail. Sophie watches as Hilde’s father returns home and is lovingly embraced by Hilde and her mother. She feels envious of Hilde because Hilde is made of real flesh and blood and has a family, something which Sophie felt that she could never have. But Alberto tells her that since they have cut the “umbilical cord” connecting them to Albert, they can now do anything they wish, including returning to Sophie’s home. The story ends with Albert and Hilde discussing the big bang while Sophie tries various methods of attracting their attention, which she finally succeeds in doing when she manages to set the rowboat adrift.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

U Life Resumes...

A new semester - new faces (the naive, innocent juniors), old friends, newly-made friends, old luggage from previous semesters (basically the never-ending society stuff), and best of all...new subjects.

History and Philosophy of Psychology

Yawn. Zzz. Yeah, right. Not with the lecturer I got this sem, thankfully.

The philosophical part:

Lecturer shows a slide with a picture of a big, black circle.

"So, can anyone tell me what colour this is?"
Black, duh.
"Very good. How do you know its black?"
Sheesh. Through experience, learning, bla bla bla...roll eyes at the lecturer.
"Hmm...but how is your definition of black different from your friend's definition of black?" (With a big, wide grin on her face)
Blank stares. WTH?!

Why on earth do philosophers find philosophy interesting??? Do enlighten me.

The historical part:

"Why do we study history?"
Easy. To know our roots, learn lessons from the past so that we won't repeat the same mistakes, bla bla bla...
"Yeah, but the past is past, right? What's the point of learning about all these dead people?"
Tell me about it. I'm sure every single student has asked themselves that question each time they flip open the cover page of their History textbook back in high school.
"Think about it. I'll give you an analogy - when you want to marry someone, you have to know that person's history first, right? How many brothers/sisters he/she has, how many past relationships he/she has been involved in, and the cause of the break-up. And why do you do this? 'Coz you'll be investing your future with this guy/girl, so you have to dig up his/her history."
Hmm. When she put it that way, it does sound logical and pretty interesting.
"So how can we relate that with the history of psychology, or any other science for that matter? Because, although the people are dead, their ideas still live on."
Hence the reason we are all sitting in classrooms and slugging away over our textbooks and assignments - to study the "living" ideas of the dead.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Vampires and Werewolves

Ahhh...the main reason behind my silence. The Twilight Saga makes an excellent form of escapism - it still takes place in the real world, but the story provides an escape from reality. For me, anyway. I can read and re-read these books over and over and never get bored! Sigh.

I'd better stop typing...this is not the review yet!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Back in the Blogsphere

OMG. I dunno how long its been since I last updated my blog! I'd like to apologize to everyone, especially for not dropping by your blogs at the very least. Last semester was just crazy with all the research, assignments and the society (Psychology Students' Association - PSYCSTA) work. Sigh. Anyway, its now the holidays. Time to take a deep breath and unwind.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gaza under Fire

I recently attended an event titled Gaza under Fire which was organized by the Al-Aqsa Friends’ Society. This is the first time I attended one of their events, and I have to say, it was a big success. The main auditorium was packed with local students and international students from many different countries. This is also the first event I’ve attended which had an equal amount of Malaysians and foreigners, and also the equal amount of males and females (usually the females outnumber the males). It was very inspiring to see so many Muslims coming to show their support for Gaza.

There were two talks, several multimedia presentations and a drama show depicting the war scenario in Gaza. Even though a picture says a thousand words, I think video footages are better in this case. The audience was quiet as we watched women on the screen crying for their lost/dead/injured children with the remains of ruined buildings and smoke and dust in the background.

As one of the speakers said that night, this cannot be called an attack anymore. This is WAR. Just imagine, Gaza is only a small piece of land. Yet the Israelis are attacking Gaza by sea, land and air using army tanks and the latest nuclear bombs, which is why the death toll and the number of injuries are really high in just one day.

The people of Gaza have to be creative in order to survive. They make their own bombs and plan strategies such a releasing rockets across the borders and into Israel.

The Israelis are bombing schools, universities and homes.

They do not care whether they bomb children or adults, and for no absolute reason (although they claim that they “have their own reasons” for doing it).

They are so cowardly to attack Palestine in full force using all kinds of military inventions while knowing that the Palestinians have practically nothing. However, they are killing only the bodies of Gaza. They cannot kill the soul, determination and the mind of Gaza. The people of Gaza cry for their lost ones, but they do not regret what they have done. They have been doing this (fighting for their freedom and survival) in the past, and they will continue to do this to the end.

Some of them even thank Allah for the loss of their beloved ones (eg, I lost my mother, Alhamulillah).

There are deaths and injuries every single day.

There's neither fuel nor electricity. There is also insufficient medicine to treat the injured.

My dear fellow Muslims, this not a Palestinian issue. This is a Muslim issue. The issue of the whole Muslim ummah, for it concerns all of us as Muslims. Spread the word, increase the awareness.

Prayer for Palestine

In light of the recent Israeli attacks on Palestine, I would like to invite my fellow Muslims to pray for our Muslim brothers and sisters over there. As we go about our daily lives, it’s hard to imagine that in other parts of the world, our brothers and sisters are fighting - fighting for their life, and most importantly, for their religion. Our religion – ISLAM.

What are our problems compared to theirs? How sad is it breaking up with your boyfriend compared to losing your beloved family members? Or worse, how heart-breaking is it for a little boy to see his father, mother and baby sister blown up right in front of his eyes? Imagine not sleeping because you’re dreading a presentation in front of your lecturer and classmates compared to not sleeping the whole night for fear of not being able to wake up tomorrow.

While we throw away our leftover food, our fellow Muslims are starving or dying of hunger. Everyday, there are hundreds of Muslims killed or injured by the Israelis, be it in Palestine, Bosnia or any other part of the world. But what are we, their Muslim brothers and sisters doing to help them? Are we even aware that all this is happening? Or do we just turn a blind eye and continue about our daily lives, oblivious to the sufferings and the killings of our brothers and sisters?

Most Muslims aren’t even aware about all this. They are blinded by the worldly affairs and entertainment which, unsurprisingly, are created by the Jews and the Western people themselves in order to distract us from what is happening to our fellow Muslims. In fact, we don’t even realize how blessed we are to be able to open our eyes every morning, breathe in the fresh air and go on with our day. Since we are unable or incapable of helping them physically, the best way for us to help them is by praying to Allah. At the end of each prayer, please include a du’a for our brothers and sisters in Palestine.

“A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.”
- Martin Tupper