Thursday, April 29, 2004

Teacher Idol

There was this disturbing news about a principal who resigned from a school whose name can be unwittingly mistaken as the male genital. This was a result of a parent's (tale tellers) complaint to the police about a student who was hit on her head by the Principal with a soft cover book. And the best part about this whole episode, was that it was not the daughter of the complaining parent who was hit; she was merely performing her civic/moral responsibility. Neither did she expect that things would turn out this way. I caught a short snippet of her interview with CNA and she claimed that "Mr Ng" (Not me but the principal) was agood principal but he should take responsibilities for his action. However she did not expect the decision to quit. Well, to bring up the problem to the police and to escalate it to the point where the major newspapers and major broadcasting stations (CCN, CNBC, CNA, Channel I, Channel U, Channel 5, Channel 8 , Suria etc etc) turn this whole into a media circus, she should have already anticipated the damages done.

Let's get this straight ( homosexuality is frowned upon :P) Teachers and Principals are after all human beings and sometimes we are also susceptible to emotions. While I agree that hitting a student is not right, but I think students are generally overly protected. An ex principal interviewed succinctly summarise my take on this by saying that, in the good old days (as compared to the bad young days now) it is little surprise when teachers or even principal punished the students. I had my ears twisted to different form of contortions, forced to squat outside the classroom, given "karate chops", in a badly veiled disguise of massage from some frustrated teachers. We don't even dare to tell our parents about these acts of concern for fear that we will get an extra dosage of the acts of concern from our parents. In fact it was heartening to say the least for some of the parents who totally agree to hitting kids when they are in the wrong. Come on, that's how you learn. Sorry if I ascribe to the violent means of promoting education.

I am most upset by the behaviours of parents who want the best for their parents. They treated these kids like precious little gold nuggets, good to see but cannot touch. These kids grow up to be like little devils who had their parents' literally eating out of their palms. Teachers are like vehement demons which they are protecting the kids from. They rather listen to their children than the painstaking effort of the teachers to tell them the problems with their devilish kids. And worse the teachers ended up looking like bad guys. Sigh what type of jobs give you so much satisfaction like this?

In fact in a shocking parallel, I deduce that as the country get more and more educated, we started to treat the students with more respect so as to fit this "civilised" image that we had. But it has to be said that "Spare the rod and spoil the kid"; this statement will remain true for a long long time. I think that we need to now learn the art of "suan"ing or sarcasm to better cope with our frustration with the students. Just refrain from using word s that are too definitive such as "stupid" etc. Nowadays kids are soooooo sensitive, a small issue and they start falling from storeys above. Last time when teachers insulted us, we took in in our stride like men and get on with life. I think that is why we are much tougher than the kids nowadays.

So I decided to end this nonsensical rambling with a tribute to the American Idol 3, not the singers but to the witty Simon Cowell. If all teachers are so witty and of course dripping sarcasm, School would be a wonderful place to study in...YES. And by the way, John Stevens is out.. well it is about time for the Clay Aiken look alike. Let's put it this way, He had done well to advance and that I believe is good enough. All the best to his future endeavours...

Some excellent quotes from the man Simon Cowell

"If you would be singing like this two thousand years ago, people would have stoned you."

"If your lifeguard duties were as good as your singing, a lot of people would be drowning."

"You sang like someone who sings on a cruiseship... halfway through I imagined the ship sinking"

"My advice would be if you want to pursue a career in the music business, don't."

"Did you really believe you could become the American Idol? Well, then, you're deaf."

"We brought some people back to shine... you didn't. sorry."

"you had about as much passion as a kitten mewing"

"You have just invented a new form of torture"

"This is a pen not a magic wand."

"There's only so much punishment a human can take. I can't take anymore."

"Do you have a lawyer? Get a lawyer and sue your teacher."

"That was extraordinary! Unfortunately, it was extraordinary bad."

"I think you invented notes never ever heard before in music."

-Do you want to hear the chorus?
"No, I couldn't hear anymore."

-Well it's my first audition.
"I'm not surprised, and it should be your last."

"If you were to win and sing a song, you would kill the American record industry. That's how bad you are."

"You're one of the worst singers I've ever heard in my life."

"I'm going to reach out with a hook if you don't shut up."

"That wasn't dreadful and it wasn't horrible. It was absolutely ghastly."

"Phone up your vocal coach and demand a refund."

''I can honestly say you are the worst singer in America.''

''When you entered this competition, did you really believe that you could become an American Idol? [Contestant nods affirmatively.] Well, then, you're deaf. Thank you. Goodbye.''

''I think you're a boring performer. The laugh was hideous. I think you've blown it.''

Monday, April 26, 2004

Swept me off my feet

I woke up this morning and feel the earth move under my feet.. Vertigo again. Literally carried my sleepish "carcass" to see the doctor. He was surprised to see me again, since ourlast meeting is only a fortnight ago. What the heck! He said I need rest; my unkempt hairstyle, my unshaven look and most important my bad breath proved that his diagnosis is correct. Gave me a one day mc, though I could easily gotten two. No choice, tomorrow is the eigth period day again.. got to really be there to finish up the history lessons for the 3/4 girls. I am dying here!! Must have been getting on with the stress.. Exams coming, what is wrong with the teachers nowaday? We really need to take everything less serious, and stopped seeing the results of the students as ours.. I need an aspirin.. AWWWWWW...... My wife called me like 5 times this morning just to make sure I am ok. Can't really blame her, the last time I had vertigo, My head nearly ended up in the toilet bowl.. Anyway what is vertigo? For the non-doctors out there, vertigo is a rare illness which is caused by the imbalance in the ears.. (Don't ask me , that was what the doctor said) It mean that your brain had lost the equlibrum ( yes and to reiterate I am still sane) and you will feel like the world literally spinning around you.. Kool huh?? It is caused by stress, lack of sleep, lack of sex ( I added the last one :P) and there is no cure for it, just plenty of rest and exercise. Need to get my lazy bums to start exercising ( and of course changing the channels using the remote is not considered as one form of exercise)

Kinda look forward for tomorrow. I am all geared up for Tuesday.. Bring it on man!!

I feel the earth move
By Carole King
I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever you're around

Ooh, baby, when I see your face
Mellow as the month of May
Oh, darling, I can't stand it
When you look at me that way

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever you're around

Oh, darling, when you're near me
And you tenderly call my name
I know that my emotions
Are something I just can't tame
I've just got to have you, baby

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down
I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down
I just lose control
Down to my very soul
I get a hot and cold all over
I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down,
Tumbling down, tumbling down...

Sunday, April 25, 2004

The Ten Most Loveable Traits of an SBS Driver

1. Quick Reflexes Bus

Don't you marvel at the way bus drivers can swing into a bus bay at speed and not plough into the mindless mass jostling to board the behemoths we call public transport? They seem to go from 80 to 0 km/h in 2.06 seconds and are still able to stop on a dime.

2. Discrete Quality ControlBus

Many bus drivers seem to have a built-in need to put the engine, gears and brakes to the ultimate test each time they drive. In starting and stopping suddenly, bus drivers give their passengers a free bowel cleansing and chiropractic service. Picture this: a traffic stop (light already red) or bus stop is only 10 metres away but Mr SBS decides to gun the engine before applying the brakes so that the stuff in your rectum makes an involuntary backward tour to your mouth. Other assorted flying objects include groceries, empty Coke cans, soiled baby diapers and the odd senior citizen or two.

Other drivers opt to compensate for the lack of ABS and hit the brakes repeatedly so that everyone looks like they are doing the chicken-walk or listening to some funky music. If the braking action is rapid, then everyone (except the driver) looks like they are being exorcised of demons as they jerk about. It's their way of discreetly telling you "You are all jerks!"

3. Ambition Bus

Schumacher, Hakkinen and Villenueve wannabes, some SBS drivers treat their routes like well memorised race tracks. This benefits the passengers as they get to their destinations more quickly (but whether that destination is an earthly one or not is subject to change). Armed with powerful Volvos/Scanias, buses have been known to overtake puny Japanese cars with glee. I have been in a bus that overtook one such car while going up a flyover. Never mind the number of traffic rules that were flouted, I not only got home in good time but also got to enjoy the look of fear in the eyes of the car driver.

4. Appreciation for LifeBus

SBS drivers seem to know that too much of a good thing is not good. So in the ying and yang of speed, some take the time to smell the roses (or the ixora/hibiscus/orchids in our case). To do so, they often drive v-e-r-y, very s-l-o-w-l-y as they near a bus interchange. Just how slow do they go? Well, you could watch your toe nails and beard grow... and that's if you are a woman. I could almost swear that a toddler I saw on board a bus was somewhere in the throes of puberty by the time we disembarked... or was that his son?

Actually I exaggerate. To say that they go at snail's pace is an insult to the molluscs. A traditional karang guni man pushing a fully laden cart with one foot in a cast and the other in the grave could blow by while gesticulating every bad sign in his repertoire!

5. Good Time Management
Sometimes the rear view mirrors aren't adjusted properly before the bus leaves an interchange. So how? Well, I have witnessed at least one resourceful driver use the wait at a traffic stop to adjust the mirror that was outside the bus. He opened the door, stepped out, fiddled with the mirror, stepped back in, checked the view, went back out again, adjusted the mirror and repeated the process until he had a good view of the driver in the rear making bad signs at him. I have even had the privilege of watching one bus driver get off at a bus stop, collect a packaged meal at a kopi tiam near by and merrily hop back on the bus.

Such good time management is also illustrated when the driver hurtles the bus along like a diarrhoea victim in search of a toilet for 95% of their route only to slow down on the remaining 5% to enjoy the scenery... and, yes, to collect lunch.

6. Focus
Some drivers are so focused on getting from one interchange to the next that they blast by bus stops and leave commuters behind waving at smoke. One wonders why they are called bus stops. And has the following ever happened to you? You spot the bus a distance away and make a dash for it (squashing ants, snails and toads underfoot), you reach the bus and do a frantic dance at the door only for the bus to gleefully pull out of the bus bay.

Perhaps the bus cannot stop as the driver is one of very few who are not well-endowed in the bladder and rectum department. A nicotine fix perhaps? They won't light up in a bus, not with such prominent signs that say "Smoking is Against the Law, Buddy". Not with $1,000 fines dangling over their heads. No, they'll make their way to the next bus interchange where the signs are less obvious and the yellow no smoking zone lines are non-existent to suck on their cancer sticks.

7. Oblivious to DiscomfortBus

By and large, most bus drivers seem to have cavernous bladders/rectums and/or very strong sphincters to stem the tide and slide. Perhaps the din of the traffic deafens them to the call of nature. Or perhaps they let go of the mounting tension by transferring the excess energy elsewhere. That might explain the jerky movements of the bus!


Some drivers seem to have a temperature regulation system superior to ours. They do not feel the cold of their moving meat freezers nor the heat of their mobile saunas. Some drivers seem to show their support for our Antarctica team by turning the thermostat so low that even thought bubbles precipitate. Others don't realise that the air-con is gone so that you can almost see thirsty camels in a mirage.

And at peak travel time, even though passengers in the front are squashed into the windshield and each others' armpits, some drivers cannot see their plight. Perhaps their well-adjusted rear view mirrors only allow them to see the contented faces of passengers sprawled at the back of the bus.

8. Good Judge of Distance
Ever notice how buses go bumper to bumper as they line up at traffic lights or near bus stops (sometimes so close that it the buses look like a train pulling into a stop)? Some get really close to other vehicles too, e.g. cars or taxis that overtook the bus and showed the bus driver the finger. The bus drivers get so close to the next vehicle
a) they remind me of dogs smelling each others' butts
b) you can count the number of flakes of dandruff on the head of a passenger in the bus in front
c) subatomic particles cannot pass thru' the gap between the buses/light undergoes diffraction
d) all the above

9. Resourceful
Despite the modern design of buses, some drivers clearly feel that more could be done in terms of driver comfort. Not people who complain, they take action instead. Have you seen the novel sunshades constructed out of newspaper or old cardboard boxes? How about the selection of water bottles (one for drinking, one for windscreen, one for engine, one not for input but for, erm, output?) Or the small bucket for haaaak-ptui-ing into? Or the China-brand towel around the neck to absorb sweat?

10. Not Superstitious
Why else would they be oblivious to the "ghost" that often occupies the rear of the bus? Never mind that during the good old days, there were Hungry Ghost Festival huge altars spring up at bus interchanges to feed ravenous spirits. Never mind that they produce enough smoke to rival that of our annual haze. At least it keeps the mossies away... Well you won't find it in the good spanking new air conditioned Toa Payoh Interchange.

No, there is no ghost at the back of SBS buses as far as the drivers are concerned. There is also no point to this blog

Thank you for taking this trip with me, I hope you enjoyed the ride. That will be 2.10 cents, please.


Friday, April 23, 2004

The unbearing lightness of being

I did the unthinkable today.. I actually started to scold the two classes that I had cared most this year...

Actually I didn't really know what gotten into me.. I know some of the girls are trying but I was just plain frustrated with myself that I am not gettin girls to achieve what they should be getting.. A kinda of an over perfectionist I believe. Maybe it was also the stress that has gotten over me... The other classese results are getting better and most importantly the weaker classes are catching up.. any yet my 2 A maths classes are still doing badly. I really let everything out of my system today.. Am i too nice, or am I just over protective when I should have been more disciplined and really giving you people the pressure. I don't know... Sigh...

Mr Chan and Ms Yap were pleased with their classes' results; good for them, the classes had been putting in the effort.. not wanting to sound like sore losers but I believe that the two classes can do well in the A maths exams.. (In the name of the father, and of the son and of the wholy toast) In fact Mr Chan overheard my scoldings to the girls and claimed that he had never seen me so angry before. Sigh... What's wrong huh?? I can never be a good parent. I over indulge my kids and I over scold them when things goes wrong.. :P

Monday, April 19, 2004

Life is never fair

I am never known for my imparitality (*ahem*) but I have to say that for the amount of effort that my class had put in, they should have won the International Firendship Day Deco. I know my girls are pretty upset by it, twice they have been beaten by 3/1, actually it will be three, once they know that they have been beaten yet again for the Global Citizenry Award for the Best Class for Term 1. Sigh Life is never fair.. I remember a Secondary school teacher who used to tell me that "Life is never fair". He was one who stick to his mantra and advise us, his students to follow it religiously.. Bound to make us less stressful about the things that have happen. I should do that now....

The examination is coming in 11 days, time for a pep talk on wednesday. I need a pep talk myself too, judging by the amount of marking and the amount of reading I have to do for my 5000 words thesis. How am I going to write that out? Time to take out the trusty smoking gun...

I was having some food alone when I observed that there was a pretty "chio" lady sitting a couple of tables from me. She was looking and smiling at me??!! The observation by her was getting a little unnerving and i start to look perhaps for any "openings' which was not supposed to be open. She smiled at me again. Could it be that when I keep telling 3/8 that I was good looking and gracious, it actually rub onto my subconscious. The girl came up to me and introduce herself, my heart sank. well another new insurance agent friend.....

Guess I should be spending time reading and preparing for my thesis....

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Corny Jokes - and Pigs will fly

I was penning all this during my long MRT trip from Choa Chu Kang stadium back to Toa Payoh... Rushing back to have dinner and and to watch the Portmouth and Manchester United game. It seems like this week was like a whirlwind to me but at least I got my 11 hours worth of sleep.

During the MRT trip, decided to start sms-ing a friend and we started a conversation. It was kinda weird since I could have jolly well call her and speak to her directly. Decided against it as sms ing would give me the luxury to read my notes, draft my blog, watch happening in the mrt and yet at the same time giving her advice on her problems. (Now who say man can't multi task) However in the midst of doing so , I was extrememly careful with the choice of words and text messages to be send, especially nothing too "Beckham"ish.

The competition at CCK stadium was a breeze, well the girls tried but it since we are not getting the results we wanted. Talked to some of the parents, coaches and the girls; was a great time to bond and establish relationships. anyway one of the girls commented that she felt very unfairly treated by me; she also say that everytieme when I was in my form class, there will be roars of laughter, whereas every time I am in her class, it was just work and no fun and alas no jokes. Hm... so I am not be accused of favouritism. Another brutual comment made was that my jokes were extremely lame. GOOD GRIEF!! so now I got to be a stand up comedian too. Hey let me get the record straight ( not DJing , you idiot!) MOE pay me only a pittance to be an administrator, facilitator, imparter (if there is such a word) of knowledge, a cca coordinator, a counsellor, a role model, a friend, a mentor, an entertainer all combined into one. If I could do just any permutations of the the above 4 roles to perfection, I won't be in MOE at all... Seems like there is no easy task pleasing everybody.

Guess I got to come up with more corny jokes to entertain the class, as MOE would love to put it, "The customer is always right"

Friday, April 16, 2004

Flying without Wings

Just came back from the IJ Voices with Wings concert. While I admire the valiant attempts of the choir girls to be at their dazzling best for the big occasion, some of them really fall flat in their presentation. With megawatt smiles plastered on their faces, one would expect this whole thing to feel like a joyous event. But there were some girls who look a bit spastic in their smiles, it was as though there was a small little gun pointing at you from backstage. They have this like "buay song " look, you know the 5 cents face when you have 10 add maths questions to do for your asignment. There were also some who look like they were going for some beauty pageants, eyes sparkling, brandishing their ever plastic smiles to the audience. Now what they need is just the war cry of "world peace". Now not to take anything away from the choir, I think they had done a marvellous job. The selection of song were wonderful and I think the girls sang well. Need to work on the presentation though.
Ms Jo Teo was extremely unhappy with the wolf calls. well really can't blame her, people pay money to watch a choir performance not a 5566 concert. And girls, really, screaming and shouting out your friends name from the audience is not really very dignified of an IJ girl, especially in a concert where there were so many parents, staff, guests of honur and "good looking" ACS guys. And there were some girls in the audience who insist on letting the whole world know that they were there. PLEASE all teachers can recognise your booming voice from anywhere. We want CLASS not CRASS, ok? Hope this ring a bell ( no puns intended)
It has been a long day for me 8 period day with a 35 minutes break where i had to walk to St Michael to get my lunch as the canteen at St Raphael was closed. As for the morning, things went on pretty ok. I wondered why I didn't scold my 3/4 girls today. Seriously this is something that I myself was also really puzzled. The night before I was preparing for a long speech about class integrity and class spirit and most importantly discipline in school. But surprisingly, I did not even deliver anything. Hm what wrong with me... going soft with age? But I am quite happy with the spirit of the class in getting the IFD deco done. The girls are amazing, really have to take my hat off .
Today was the last , yes last time I am screening Angela's Ashes to the SS classes. I was quite pleasantly surpised that the girls actually like it. Maybe they identify with the protagonists, or maybe it is just because girls are generally more soft hearted, and the plight of the family was really something that struck them. One girl from my class was on the verge of tears, talks about overly-sentimental. But I guess this is something unique about the IJ girls.
The Add maths remedial was a a 3hr marathon. I was literally falling asleep with the questions that I was going through over again. Guess I have not really fully recovered from my illness. Actually teachers are like entertainers. actually shoudl say we are like getai singers during the hungry ghost festivals. running from one getai to another and most importantly got to smile and smile and entertain, like the choir girls. I wondered if the girls understand what is going on. Seriously i feel that this year I am spending more time with my form class. I don't remember spending so much time 2 years back with my girls. I hope my intimacy with the form class will allow me to know them better and not let take advantage.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

The Return of the Jedi

Today is quite a sickening day for me.

Woke up like a man who went for a swim, my head was pounding to the beat of Kylie Minogue "Can't get you outta my head", with beads of perspiration all over myself. I swear that it look as though I have gone for a swim. What could be a worse nightmare when the whole entire 3/4 class carried their Add Maths textbooks and charging towards you and asked: " Mr NG , why the questions like that huh?" "I don't understand" argh...

Yesterday was supposed to be a rest day for me. After I have taken the medication, I should have join Alice in search of the wonderland. But guilt started to creep in and I started to get my lazy bum in front of the computer and start drafting the exam paper for my priveleged 40 plus girls. And that took up the whole of my afternoon and evening and by the time i shut down the computer it was already 9.54 pm and 44 secs. Talk about efficiency!

Early this morning, Mrs Lena Siau came to me and reported my class behaviour yesterday to me. To be frank, I felt upset. It was like somebody else criticising your kids; it clearly show your inability to handle your kids. This was one point that made me angry. Upon tallking to two girls during recess, I somehow get a better picture. Guess I have to really talk to the girls tomorrow.

The Sri Lanka trip is comng on fine.. guess there will be a trip after all. The response from the girls had so far been promising. Let just keep our fingers crossed to hit the 36 girls target.

Had some fun reading some of the blogs though, it seem like most of my girls are enjoying themselves with the IFD deco. Sigh, thought that they will at least "miss" me. :P Walk up to class just now, to look at the decorations. Bernadette was reminding me to go up and have a look early in the morning, but I was still in a dazed manner. Sitting in the classroom, I started to enjoy the serenity. I could just visualise every single girl in their respective seats, just looking at the whiteboard. Upon doing so, I started to recall my girls from 4/3 2003. Call me a sentimental person, but it was not easy to forget these girls. I guess as they leave IJ, a part of me also left with them too.

With that I remember a song from a favourite group of mine... seems to suit my feelings at this present time.

Another day is ended
And i still can't sleep
Remembering my yesterdays
I begin to weep
If i could have it over
Live my life again
I wouldn't change a single day

I wish that i could turn back the clock
Bring the wheels of time to stop
Back to the days when life was so much better

Lying here in silence
Picture in my hand
Of a boy i still resemble
But i no longer understand
And as the tears run freely
How i realise they were the best years of my life


You might say it's just a case of giving up
But without these memories where is the love
Where is the love

If i could have it over
Live my life again
I wouldn't change a single day


Why can't i turn back the clock
Bring the wheels of time to a stop
Back to the days
Oh no no
I remember when
Life was so good
I'd go back id i could
Oh oh i wouldn't change a single day
Don't let the memories slip away
I wouldn't change a single day
Don't let the memories slip away

But what do I know... just my 2 cents worth...

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Baby Woes

Perhaps a lack of responsibility or maybe a sense of immaturity and insensibility that I have swear off my beer-guzzling comments for a long while. Taking anti-depressant pills for a couple months to cope with the many unfamiliar and unrealistic changes happening around the world today had no doubt dumbed and numbed my senses. But I am glad that I finally found new resolve to share what I had with an issue that has preoccupied my mind recently

Singaporeans are facing an alarming renewal rate of just 1.24 per couple in Singapore, second behind Italy. Well what does this mean? It mean that Singaporean couples are either having less sex or they just want to enjoy the process but receive the product. But pleasures aside (Excuse the pun!) It means that Singapore is not producing enough babies to keep up the present population in Singapore. What does this finally lead to? Well it only mean that Singaporeans are going to be an extinct lot, found only in history books and illustrated pictorials beside the dodo and Siamese tigers. Can you imagine the day that Singaporeans are classified as endangered by WWF ( Not that one with overgrown men with spandex trying to pin each other) together with the like of the Japanese and Koreans. But there is definitely a need for renewed pressure (not that, you idiot :P) from the government to get the baby producing machines working again.

But why is Singaporeans so adverse to the idea of having kids? Using myself as an example, On a dimmer note, Singaporean couples are choosing to have less or no babies, preferring to splurge the extra cash on a condominum or a dog.

To many, parenthood is a responsibility that comes with a lot of appendixes. Factors such as economic stability, maturity (not necessary bonds and shares) and time are necessary. Of course for birth control, birth control pills and contraceptives would be the main factors. I have female friends who are still contemplating on marriage less alone having kids. “Please” they would say with all the contortions on face. “I have spent so and so may years getting my BA/ BBA/ BSc/ Hons/ BEng/ Masters/ PhD (delete whichever applicable), I want to concentrate on my career.” So determined and so nonchalant, and the issue of childbearing will be cast aside, seem that they have got their “C” in the wrong priorities

In case any one of you feminists out there who think that I am someone who is a MCP, I am also having phobia about kids. As a preacher opps teacher, I see it as my social responsibility to share my take on this issue. I am currently married for two years with no kids. When it is the new year, relatives would ask the two of us about kids. I am not really against kids but I am just not ready for them. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, I love to play with them, but when they start crying, you would alos see me holding the wailing baby with extended arms as though I am holding a bomb, looking for their parents. To raise them and go through the whole round of anxiety of getting him/her into the best primary school, college and university and to see him/her getting married and to nag at him/her to start carry on the family line is a thought too scary to continue. Being someone of the teaching profession, seeing the poor kids going through all these agonies of studying and paper chasse, I start to ask myself, am I doing my kids a good deed by not bringing them to the world, especially in Singapore where the paper chase is so prominent.

Perhaps the only way to have kids is really by an unforeseen accident and mind you I am not leaving it to chance; In time of passion I have my trusty contraceptives to fall back on. I remember a friend who was shocked to know that condoms were only 99.9% safe against unwanted pregnancies. Then he commented and said, now I know why with all the condoms as protection I still get 3 kids. Well it was a little late to know that after 3 pregnancies huh? Another friend once share with me, to have a healthy life we need to do the following things, eat more veggies, eat more fish and have more sex.

To help the government to address this issue, I have come up with some practical ways to get it up ( Not Viagra but the number of babies)

1) Lower COE for cars for people with 3 kids and above
This is especially true for samll families who have to bring the kids to places of interets or even to a simple meal out side of home. You try trudging through swarms of people in the mrt with your bags full of baby essentials, a baby pram and a screaming baby on tow onto our most popular public transport and you will truly understand what it means. And the very fact that places of interests such as the Zoo and the Bird Park and the Science Park is not exactly accessible by MRT, you will have to spend extra money for a taxi. With the taxi capabity of only 5 inclusive of the driver, it mean that you can only afford to have *gasp* 2 kids including you and your husband. Take about being family friendly. Encourage more families to develop by allowing them specail discount to buy a car. It may not solve your congestion problems but it will certainly solve the baby shortage problem. Truly survivor huh??

2) Raise prices of condoms
To prevent people from smoking, cigarette prices had escalated. Over the years, the number of smokers had dwindled. It shows that cost is a factor. therefore to encourage more babies, raise the price of condoms/ femdoms, contraceptives, well u can't win them all.
(un)Break my heart

Here I am on a sunday afternoon, writing a blog

I guess this had become a way of releasing my stress and feeling about things around me
I am currently overloaded with work.. my paper which is a 5000 word thesis is due in 1 month and 3 weeks time. *sigh* The Sri Lanka fieldtrip which is still tentative with the number of girls going *sigh sigh*, my marking that is piling up *sigh sigh sigh* and my lessons to the classes which I have to teach them all the skill to be prepare for the exams *sigh sigh sigh sigh*. Guess this is quite a miserable Sunday for me :(

Spend the whole saturday at IJ St Raphael Staffroom setting the Add Maths paper with Mr Chan. The old man did not visit us, maybe we are too stressed to notice anyway. I must say I am really impressed with the end product. We should be expecting at least 50% casualties in the Add Maths exams. Later went out for dinner with Ms Yap just to catch up on some gossips. I shared with them the Add maths remedial I had as we tuck ourselves with the wonderful bak kut Teh opposite Balestier Plaza. Ms Yap was in her usual dazed mode, she kept complaining about the headache she had, must have been the setting of the Chem paper that is causing that. Mr Chan was still coughing and sneezing all the way and we might fall sick on monday *Hoorah no school!! :P*

Looking back at this past week, I felt a tinge of sadness when my good intentions is miscontrued as bad ones. I have always enjoyed a wonderful bond with my previous form class and I always want to do so with my present lot. I guess I have been too "pal-ly" with them and they seems to be more and more boisterious in class. Is it my fault? Hm maybe , Mr Eric Tan once joked that the form class will take over the character of the form teacher. I laughed then but now I am seeing some truth in it. 4/3 2003 was a nice class, a wonderful class but was a under achiever. I blamed it on myself that I was not able to make the class achieve what they were supposed to attain in the examinations and this was my biggest regrets. I am very worried that 3/4 2004 is moving along the same path as 4/3 2003. Is it a sign that for their own good I should give up the class next year? I reckon so. It is sad but I think I should be more concerned about their welfare rather than my own selfish intentions; I am someone who is quite resistant to change and I guess that continuity was a way for me to be comfortable. But I guess this had to change.

As for blogging, I realise that alot of the girls are uncomfortable with the fact that I am looking at their blogs. I believe that there is a lack of privacy. I fully understand that. I will announce to the class that I will not read their blogs anymore. I guess young people need that form of privacy, and that avenue of expression for their frustrations.

Sorry for those who read my blogs and finds it extremely depressing today. I guess this is just my two cents worth of comments

Sunday, April 04, 2004


Inspired by the IJ School Band for the rendition of Copablanca, I decided to feature THE STAR WARS CANTINA PARODY SONG written and performed by MARK JONATHAN DAVIS as a tribute to all the Band girls and teachers in charge.

Links to the sound file (wav) come after the lyrics. You just have to listen to it!

May the farce be with you!

(sung to the tune of "COPACABANA" by Barry Manilow)

"Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope..." (spoken by Princess Leia)

Her name was Leia
She was a princess
With a danish on each ear
And Darth Vader drawing near
So R2-D2
Found Ben Kenobi
He'd have to put the Death Star plans
Into the Rebellion's hands
So Luke and Obi-Wan
Had to get to Alderaan
So they stopped into Mos Eisley to have a drink with Han

At the Star Wars, Star Wars Cantina
The weirdest creatures you've ever seen-a
Here at the Star Wars, Star Wars Cantina
Music and blasters
And old Jedi masters
At the Star Wars...

His name was Solo
He was a pilot
With a blaster at his side
And a smile 12 parsecs wide
There with Chewbacca
He was a wookie
They met with Luke and Obi-Wan
About the Millennium Falcon
Docking bay ninety-four
Stormtroopers at the door
With a flash of Ben's light-saber
Now there's an arm on the floor

(repeat chorus)

"Mos Eisley spaceport... you will never find the more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious." (spoken by Ben Kenobi)

His name was Yoda
He was a muppet
Darth Vader was so bad
And by the way, he's Luke's dad
Luke kissed his sister
His hand got cut-off
In that galaxy far, far away
Luke has had a lousy day
Boba Fett was so mean
Jabba had bad hygiene
Why didn't they all just relax back on Tatooine?

(repeat chorus)

"The force will be with you...always." (spoken by Ben)

written and performed by Mark Jonathan Davis
backing vocals by Loretta Mendoza

Sound files

Jam Band!!

Just came back from my supper with Ms Stella Ho and Mr Chan. It was indeed well deserved after the long hard day at VCH helping out in the band concert, Fantasia IV.

Really don't understand why I was the only non band teacher to be helping out in the moving of the band instruments. Strength may be a serious consideration for the selection criteria, but then again it may not; I had great difficulties even doing 5 chin-ups to pass my IPPT test. Maybe it was friendship or just the very fact that I seems to be the most approachable teacher around. (I like to think of it that way). Too 'eng' is not really a good thing in IJ.

The band concert was a success; performance wise it was enjoyable, the programme looks professional and the band instruments expensive. In fact on my way out, some parents were lamenting that the programme looks too expensive to be thrown away. I reassured some of them that it will be put into good use, such as putting kachang putih or even to the garang guni man. Mind you, the paper weight itself would have added a couple more cents. But then I digress. Well as i propose a great idea to Mr Chan saying, maybe we should have a "IJ Symphonic Band plays Norah Jones" or even "A night with Josh Groban, with the IJ symphonic band", he gave me the three-and-a-half-cent face and refused to comment. Hey it is not a crime to dream!

Half way through the concert, Mrs Yvonne Selvam sms-ed me that Manchester United had beaten Arsenal in the FA Cup semi finals, and most importantly, with a team of second stringers. Was about to jump up and down and burst into the choruses of "Glory Glory, Man United" when I suddenly remembered I am supposed to do some filming on the concert. Die-hard fans would considered the very idea of missing the game an act of "blasphemy" but I saw this as my small contribution to the team. Not that I am superstitious, but every time I watch a crucial Man U game, they ended up losing. Guess I have to exercise some social responsibility there.

Anyway back to the concert, it was nice to see the band girls showing their appreciation to the instructor, and the two teachers in charge. Good work girls, learning to express gratitude is something that I believe will create a successful person. Well I was also beaming inside when the girls showed their appreciation for all that I had done today for the band. Yes girls, teachers do like to be acknowledged and praised and appreciated for all the things they had done, they are just over-grown "students" who need the reassurance from their "teachers and peers"

I was marking the Add maths test for 3/2 and was quite upset with the results. Seriously I don't understand why it is so difficult to learn about indices and log. Come on, it could had been worse. I keep asking myself what was the problem? Too difficult? Don't understand the lesson? Or simply the lack of motivation? However I decided to do an non-Andrew-Mathews philosophy and see it as a clear lack of motivation on the part of the students (I got to blame it somewhere). Maybe I should do what Little Tommy's maths teacher did in order to get the right motivation...

Little Tommy was doing very badly in math. His parents had tried everything; tutors, flash cards, special learning centers, in short, everything they could think of. Finally in a last ditch effort, they took Tommy down and enrolled him in the local Catholic School.

After the first day, little Tommy comes home with a very serious look on his face. He doesn't kiss his mother hello. Instead, he goes straight to his room & starts studying Maths. Books & papers are spread out all over the room and little Tommy is hard at work. His mother is amazed. She calls him down to dinner and to her shock, the minute he is done he marches back to his room without a word and in no time he is back hitting the books as hard as before. This goes on for sometime, day after day while the mother tries to understand what made all the difference.

Finally, little Tommy brings home his report card. He quietly lays it on the table and goes up to his room and hits the books. With great trepidation, his mom looks at it and to her surprise, little Tommy got an A in math. She can no longer hold her curiosity. She goes to his room and says: "Son, what was it? Was it the nuns?"

Little Tommy looks at her and shakes his head "No".

"Well then", she replies, "was it the books, the discipline, the structure, the uniforms, WHAT was it?".

Little Tommy looks at her and says, "Well, on the first day of school, when I saw that guy nailed to the plus sign, I knew the Maths Teachers weren't fooling around.

My haversack on Monday should be heavier due to the hammers and nails that I will be bringing...

Friday, April 02, 2004

Simply Bochup

damn bo liao...

... decided to do something bo Liao... got some of these puns from the Internet.. Shoulde be funny...

Energizer Bunny arrested; charged with battery.

A man's home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.

A pessimist's blood type is always B-negative.

My wife really likes to make pottery, but to me it's just kiln time.

Dijon vu: the same mustard as before.

Practice safe eating: always use condiments.

I fired my masseuse today. She just rubbed me the wrong way.

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.

Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.

I used to work in a blanket factory, but it folded.

I used to be a lumberjack, but I just couldn't hack it, so they gave me the axe.

If electricity comes from electrons, does that mean that morality comes from morons?

A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.

Marriage is the mourning after the knot before.

A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

Corduroy pillows are making headlines.

Is a book on voyeurism a peeping tome?

Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.

Banning the bra was a big flop.

Sea captains don't like crew cuts.

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumor.

Without geometry, life is pointless.

When you dream in color, it's a pigment of your imagination.

Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.

Reading whilst sunbathing makes you well-red.

When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.


As I look back on the many ex colleagues who had left the school, some busy doing other things (like having babies, then again there is more pleasure in doing so), another just recently who had to pay back a cool 30K, I started to wonder how on earth (or Mars and Saturn) did they get hookwinked into joining the profession. I reckoned that the media must had been drumming up the passion for teaching. Trust me, with all the media invasion, even the government is using it to tell us we need to procreate more (Yes, now you can put the long thing into the hole, not digging your nose you idiot!)

I did a double-take when I saw the latest series of poster ads commissioned by the Ministry of Education? It caught my eye but it left me asking, "What were they thinking?"

The aim of the poster is to recruit teachers who will nurture creativity. Notice how the words are painfully crafted: “I can change the world, if you teach me how” What on earth were the people in the Ministry thinking? The next thing we need is another Hitler, Stalin or a Saddam. The way the message was conveyed was that Singaporeans kids were ignoramus or the like. That assumption we made is the very reason why Singapore kids are not creative, we teachers basically need to teach them from procreation to producing bombs. Never ASSUME, it make an ASS out of U and ME.

Man, that poster is deep (read cheem). So deep that light refracts and certain colours get lost. So deep that you suffer from oxygen deprivation and the condition known as the 'rapture of the deep'. Does MOE hope that this poster will lure* the right kind of fish into the teaching profession?

*(Maybe it's an IQ test and the job interview might go something like...
Interviewer: "What do you think this poster means?
Candidate: "Um... dunno."
Interviewer: "Next!")

Teaching sucks?
A mentor once mentioned to me that ‘teaching sucks”. The mere utterance of the statement had the whole class of us holding our breath(es) {some did a double take}. It was as though we had mentioned the You-know-who thingy (Voldermort! Don’t you read Harry Potter? Where on earth were you?). He later quantified his statement by saying that “teaching suck the energy from the teachers”. We heaved a sign of relief; and that bring me to my earlier point about not assuming. Seriously, if teaching suck, why are there so much people joining the profession? Is it really the calling - the ‘teaching god” start knocking on your head and then imbuing the “be a teacher” messages in your subconscious? Could it also be the flashy posters or rather could there be other reasons?

I would rather see it as the same old bait of 'high starting salary' and 'job stability' (something that posters don't advertise but teachers-to-be hear about anyway)? Now I'll be frank (you can be Francine), only a fool would believe the earlier TV ads where everybody moves in a slow motion world where the dry ice machines work overtime. Just like how they glorify the army when we guys who had contributed the most fertile period of our “sperm-y existence” know it is an organization that grossly overutilise tax payers’ money. But then again, recruitment was one of the best things that MOE could put on paper. In fact, it was during the economic crisis that the teacher intake went up. So let's have a reality check (read cheque) here: in a country where paper is the strongest known substance, there is no juicier bait than the Almighty Dollar.

But that encouraged a more mercenary lot. Not all of them were like that, mind you, but noticeably more. I could literally see the difference in the intakes. Seeing the batches of teachers go had come and stayed, many were walking though the front door, some with unrealistic expectations. But some were leaving though the back door too. Others where jumping out of windows, going through the roof and digging underground as well but MOE has got good building contractors and gardeners ( No offence to the gardening projects in IJ). All is not that happy in the schools but most of them have such bright and cheery coat of Nippon paint on their outside walls that no one thinks twice. However, there are some dramas and clashing of swords that take place in schools that would rival "Masters of the Sea" and "Growing Up" combined! Let’s just put it this way, if you have a teacher half as pretty as Cynthia Koh in Moulmein High and that idealistic teaching environment when all issues can be resolved in an hour plus commercial break time, I guess teaching isn’t so bad after all. But let’s face it, this over rated TV programme is merely glossing over what can be really felt in school. Trust me, problems cannot be solved in a hour, though you can sent a student out to bask in the afternoon sun for an hour, drinks provided.

Let's start at the beginning: recruitment of fresh blood. I would do away with slogans like Do something worthwhile with your life or Mould the future of our nation. (The first slogan implies no other job is worthwhile. As for the other one, I think moulding a nation is not just the responsibility of teachers.) My suggestion? Teach... if you dare! MOE came close with If you've got what it takes, teach. But I recall some nitwit commenting in the Straits Times forum a couple of years ago that it should be rephrased as If you've got what it takes, they will take it away from you. Teaching can and will be a huge drain. Teaching can suck.

A good move by MOE was to allow untrained teachers to venture into classrooms for a first hand experience before undergoing training in NIE. That way, trainees would have a better picture of the situation in schools. However, I would go further and dare them to make this a requirement rather than an option. It's just one way of retaining teachers and doing away with unrealistic expectations . But then again with the present lot of students who can sniff a trainee/untrained teacher from a mile, I am quite worried about the teachers who had absolutely no way in handling waylaid kids. Trust me, it is not easy having a 200-pounder in your class who just yak and yak and yak without even getting her neurons working. You literally can’t push her around.

Just how ignorant is the layman about the plight of some teachers? Take the common misconceptions of "Wah, so good, work half day only!" and "No need leave what, got long holidays!" On behalf of all teachers, let me give all who think like that a cyberslap... ... now go stand in the corner and don't play with your mouse or yourself! If teachers only spent time teaching, then the first statement is fair as school is restricted to certain hours. But don't forget that many teachers conduct extra classes for weaker students. Many teachers come in early or leave late or both. Don't forget the bane of all teachers - marking! Teachers mark work in school, at home and a few like me, on public transport as well! (They don't call it the paper chase for nothing! You are always trying to catch up with the next pile of marking.) Don't forget extra or co-curricular activities, counselling students, dealing with disciplinary problems or police cases, administrative work, ad hoc projects, committee work, training hours, and other assorted "joys of life". I can also now add in learning about your students by reading blogs. Hey we got a social responsibility here! The holidays are no better with courses, invigilation, camps and other mind-numbing, toe-cramping activities. The slogan should be Teach... if you can or Teach - Be all that you can be (and much, much more) or Donate blood generously. Teach or Get an extra-ordinary career – Teach (for it will be what you will get with all the beyond ordinary workload)

But as I say, it is just my two cents worth.