Friday, December 22, 2006

The One about Korea

Since I am back I have been catching up with my emails, tiding up the pictures ( yeah I have plans to make a calendar with the shots) clearing laundry ( damn the wet weather) catching up on local and international news ( the newspapers in Korea are all in Korean and I am illiterate) and of course palying with my baby girl Vernice.
Anyway just a picture which I felt was nice.

Now I should go and watch my Korean drama and eat my kimchi
The Ego One

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The One with the random thoughts

it is 1am in the morning. on MSN with a couple of ex colleagues. Was actually planning to get them out for supper at 12 in the morning, but decided against it, as I was comfortably sitting in my newly created hifi room enjoying my sound system.

Going to leave for korea in about 20 hours time, and I find myself totally oblivious of what to expect when i reach there. This has to count as the least prepared trip that i have taken since BC ( before i embarked on my career) Anyway I badly need the break before going back to the grind in about 2 weeks time. Yes 2 weeks if you count the mandatory last week when we have to go back to school and prepare for all the jazz and stuff, well times really flies when you are idling. :P

Anyway I felt that i didnt waste this holiday. I had a much shorter holiday, started only on 28 november due to some national obligations, I managed to finish my first draft of the report which would determined whether we have to go through the whole interview and site visit process in 2007. But i guess deep inside I know that the school is not ready, and it woudl be a waste of manpower and effort. But what the boss want, you just do. Anyway isnt awards now a representation of the school worth - the more the merrier?

I think i should just enjoy my trip and worry about them when i come back...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The One about when love first struck

I decided to spend some time with my wifey since I was making good progress with my master assignment. Knowing that there had been a change in operator at the heeren marche ( it was replaced by a new concept food centre known as the Village… YMCA…) So decided to go with my wifey for a relaxing dinner from the usual babysitting chores.

Having a dinner at 6 plus at Orchard road on a friday evening seem to be relative early as it was barely packed at the village. The admission was hassle free, no queue even at the pseudo looking Marche looking Village( they probably save up a lot on renovation… other than the signboard changes and the investment in the new uniform)

As I tucked in my delicious lamb stew, I happen to glance at a table about 6 meter away from the pizza counter. There seated a family, a boy of 2 years old and a little girl who look like barely a year old. Together with the maid, they were enjoying their dinner. But what caught my attention was the mother. She was dressed in a pair of dark red 3 quarter pants which was not at all flattering. In a worn out t-shirt and equally unflattering flip flops, she started to look at the items on the menu board on top of the pizza counter.

She looked a tab plump, flabby arms and posterior not withstanding but the features were unmistakeable. Her baby face look, her innocent look, the one that memerised me about 13 years ago. The one who was so close to me when I was in my JC. We would share a same walkman ( there was no mp3 player or ipod or even discman then) as we sang to the tune of Liang Weng Fu ( a Singaporean composer). She was my little baby sister who I always thought I will shield and protected. She was the first girl who I would take a bus to my junior college when she was studying for her promos exam and send her back to Clementi and take the long bus trip back to toa payoh. She was the one whom I waited for my visitation when I was in Nee Soon Camp for my Basic Military Training. She was the one who I asked to go to the BMT Post-out-Parade (POP) and the one whom I asked to be my girlfriend on a romantic cruise. She was the one whom my camp mates and my buddy said bring the sparkle in my eyes. She was the one who I sang Rick Price’s “Heaven Knows” when I am having my shower which of course made my army mates cringe.

My wife noticed that I was having that lost-in-space look and asked me if I am ok. I was deep in thoughts and started to share with her during dinner. I told her that she was the only case which I have absolute no idea why we broke up. It happened so sudden. She was having her A levels and told me that she would like to concentrate. I was told not to call her for 2 months which I did as a dutiful boyfriend. When I did call her 2 months later she was cold and our conversation become monosyllabic, to the extreme that there was awkward silence. I remember when we last meet before the breakup at kallang bahru,she returned everything to me and said goodbye. Even much persistent attempts to ask what went wrong, she left the KFC restaurant, the very one which we spend countless hours sharing our dreams together. To cap the lousy day, I was at Kallang watching the Musical “Cats” with an empty seat beside me. Till now the song “Memory” still reminds me of that.

Thinking back I havent seen her for almost 10 years. The last time I saw her was in my uni days. in fact it was quite an awkward experience. There I was, carrying my trusty haversack and she was at the canteen getting some food. She said hi in her usual megawatt smile and ask me how's things. without waiting for a reply, she walk past with a tray of food. And that was the last time I saw her.

My wife may have never heard me talk about this. Maybe it is just that unwritten rule not to talk about our exs. But I guess with Vernice into the family and after 4 years of marriage, both of us are comfortable to accept and hear about how our journey of love came to the point when we meet. Ever as curious, she took some glances and even went to the extreme of walking near her so as to have a look of this girl who stole her husband teenage heart then. In an egoistic and smirk look, she declared that she is better than her. She even asked me in a surprising generous portion of generosity to go over and say hi, and bringing her along like some trophy of victory :P

In fact I had to admit she look really different. Being a mother of 2 apparently took toll on her. In fact she look a little like the present day Chen Li Ping of then “Aiyoyo” fame. I resisted to say hi even after much urging and egging by my wife. I walked away, stealing glances at the picture of family bliss and contentment. In fact at this point of time, I was wondering whether I should have just go over and say hi graciously, shake hand with her husband and played with her little ones. Then I resisted this opportune moment. Maybe it will take me another 10 years to see her again. Maybe I will never know why we ended up breaking up. But I am glad she was part of my life at some point of time and I am glad for the life that I have now. Maybe it was just that we were all learning from each other to prepare ourselves for the persons that we are with now.

At this point, the only song I could think of was this:


Maybe… Maybe…

P.S my wifey think that I am getting into bout of depression....

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The One about the top things teachers wish they could tell their students but can't

Adapted from the talking cock

I found this really farni.. it is abit late though but I decided to add a little stuff of my own :)

1. Actually, you’ll never need to know most of what I’m asked to teach you.

2. I wish they didn’t make you come to school either.

3. Wait till you see what I’ve written about YOU on MY blog –

4. Don’t take this the wrong way, but where your father and mother brother and sister?

5. I really wish you were as smart as you think you are.

6. You know, it’s true. You really don’t have to go to study hard and go to university. I did, and look at the crappy job I got.

7. Please don’t breed. Please!

8. Jack Neo was wrong: you damn stupid (and you damn stupid too!)

My own additions:

9. Seriously you really think you are that good?

10. If you are going to do something stupid like breaking the law or school rules, just dont get caught.

11. You make my life miserable and I promise I would make yours too, 10 times more!

12. If you think that you are going to be like Sim Wong Hoo, you are so damn wrong.

13. You are not stupid just intellectually challenged

14. "Idiot" is too nice a word for you, and so is "monkey"

15. Seriously if you really feel that there is nothing to live for, go ahead and jump and commit suicide, I am not going to stop you.

anything else to add?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The One with the Withdrawal Syndrome

Today I officially declared my holidays. After been involved in official duty which earn me quite a good amount of money for the past 2 weeks, I finally felt a sense of loss when the team of teachers said goodbye to each other yesterday.

"Take care, Wei Kwang", "See You next year!" It was interesting how all of us bonded in a space of 2 weeks cooped up in an airconditioned room for more than 8 hours daily, with of course a well deserved 1 hour lunch to Tiong Bahru Plaza ( SorryI have to put everything in codes as I was sworned to secrecy about my appointment... abit like 007)

I am glad that this 2 weeks had kept me out of school that I now dread and of course extremely pissed off. fFor 2007, I am going to just do my stuff, do my best and hope that I would not do career harakiri again with the next school I choose. It has been a largely unappreciated and unmotivating and unhappy year for me, and I am so glad to see the end of it.

Tomorrow I go back to school to do my CCA obligations. The next week the same until I leave for my Korea trip. My concerned friends asked me to enjoy myself in Korea and look forward for next year. Yes 2007 is something to look forward to. I hope.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Santa Claus

Baby Vernice blog invasion...

Daddy and Mummy brought me out on a rare friday night excursion to Bishan Juncion 8

And I was pretty intrigued by this fellow. In fact mummy was so amused that she decided to take a picture.

Who is he anyway? He badly needs a diet.

Baby Vernice
The One with the Thoughts on my head

I havent blogged for a few weeks. Needed some time to just clear my thoughts and vent my frustrations. In fact I am so tired of blogging that there havent been any interesting stuff that happen ( other than the shocker you-know-what) And currently I am in school just performing my obligatory CCA duty and later there will be a work review with my supervisee.

It is almost a month after the last day of school and yet there are so many things in schools that have to be done. Well things are never done and will never be done. For the minute one do the last hurrah of clearing the pile of stuff, another came crashing down.

I know I dont make much sense

I dont make much sense of what I know

Maybe it is the writer blogk again

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The One about writing something I may regret (2)

I need some advice on the previous blog entry. I cannot deny that i am upset about the things that is happening. After talking to the missus who was indignant with the way that I was treated, she gave me some advice. Now I have a couple of options and would really want to know what you would do if you were in my shoes

A) Should I just stay and try to work with my new "boss" for the next 2 years before contemplating leaving
B) should I look out for an open posting next year and just heck care and leave?


Thursday, November 09, 2006

The One about writing something that I might regret

The time is now 11.33 pm, and I have just come home from a heavy dinner with some ex-colleagues. As usual our conversation revolved around the grouses of the things that we faced. Generally the complaints will gravitate towards the people, the colleagues and of course the management that we work in. And of course it evolved slowly into a bitchfest and everybody get their two cents worth of the "if-i-am-the-MOE" thingy.

I have been in this present school for almost a year now. From the time I joined the school for the staff retreat, it has been an eventful year for me. My ex-colleagues asked whether I am settled in the school and my future plans. I had no qualms in telling them that I will leave when my 3 years obligation is up. Don't get me wrong, I am not a quitter, and I have never been known to quit but as I have subtly or not so subtly implied/insinuated, I am not really appreciated in the school. As a KP I found myself constantly slighted and overlooked, and I never feel that I was given a fair chance in proving myself. The unrealistic demands of "The KP must adjust faster than the teachers", "In this school, if the teachers run, the KP must fly" meant that I was never given an opportunity. Coupled with the fact I was brought in by the previous P seems to put this constant tag of the "renmant of the old dynasty" on me.

The school has brought in a new HOD, the status quo of 2 SHs looking after the department is over. My other SH colleague who was the georgaphy SH, had graciously stepped down for the new Geography HOD. I have to work under somebody new, under a new HOD, a position which I have to shamelessly say that i covert, a position that I applied for a year ago, a position which the former P feel that it would be bette for me to be an Sh to feel the ground and move up, a position now given to someone who entered the profession the same time as me, which the new P had felt that she is the right person for the job . I do sound bitter, and the fact of the matter is I am, I don't think it is fair but then again life is never fair :). The very fact that I only knew about it 2 mornings ago when the rest of the department had known about it (excluding the teachers) only served how perhaps ignorant or unimportant I am in the management.

in fact I should be thankful for this new person for it has given me a definite clear direction what i must and will do and that is to pack up in another 2 years time. For if I want to move up the leadership track, this is not the place for me. And I look forward to my new challenge in 2 year time.

It is sad that my inital optimism and hope was dashed in a year. yes two years is a long time, but i guess it would be easier now that I have set my deadline to leave.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The One with the results

The mad rush this morning to clear the sec 1-3 results with the Principal before giving out the examination scripts to the kids. As usual the age old issue of "geography-results-better-than-history" and "what-are-we-going-to-motivate-the-students-to-do-better-in-history-so-that-they-will-choose-history" thingy surface..
As usual, I refrained from giving my two cents worth knowing that it is a perennial problem which I will not be able to resolve within my level. :P Sorry for the cynicism at play, but as usual I see this year results as an indication that we, the history teachers are closing the gap if not going on par with the geography results.

Then again the bottomline is still pragmatism - I have seen students who "inherit" the "disdain" of the History subject from their parents who were tortured mentally by some old history teacher fogeys who wear black long-sighted glasses which could magnify a fire from a bush of twigs. It was always "Geography-more-relevant-and-easier-to-score" and "history-is-all-about-the dead-people-and-dead-things" You see things in geography, you learn map-work which ensure that you dont get "lost" running away from your parents or the general orientation of Changi airport and Jurong Shipyard. You understand why people love to go the seaside in the night ( Not just for the privacy but also cooler there!), why the stupid haze is poisoning all of us in singapore and how our economy will be affected because of all these environmental conditions.

Sad to say the recent nuclear testing by North Korea and the 'hoo-haa' in terms of the UN sanctions and US and China and South Korea protests failed to ring a doorbell in the thick head of the kids who feel that this has nothing to do with me - haze -yes , North Korea - no. There is no need for them to learn about how this issue came about, how this was implicated by the past history of these countries. Sad to say Geography 1 History 0

Not that I have anything to complain about it, for there is always the school priorities to look out for. Call me insensitive or call me impassionate about my subject but I would always advocated kids to give up my subjects when push come to shove. Many teachers were aghasted by my lack of passion but I was really grappling with the kids' well being, results and finally school ranking to say the least. I always ask myself that if the kids cant even do well to get a basic advancement to the next level ( EMS to say the least), there is no use for them to appreicate the fine points of the humanities which I so strongly believe in. I told the sec 4 kids that they need to do well in their Maths and Science and most importantly EL so as to advance to the poly of their choice. Forget about the humanities as they would not need it in the poly (they dont even need to count it in their L1R4). So where do humanities stand? At the edge of the cliff I guess.

I know that I will ruffled some feathers, with my frank comments about the realities of the world. Don't get me wrong, it is not that I am not passionate about the subject, it is just that I am being pragmatic about...

Saying that, maybe I should have taken Geography instead :P

Monday, October 16, 2006

The One with the new changes

2 years, 1 blog design....

finally due for a change

then i realised... i can't let go of the old color scheme, the old thing...

That's me.... oversentimental, overly attached

That's me, the history freak... who ended up dwelling about the past

Well at least i got my tag board off... guess I wanted more comments instead...

Friday, October 13, 2006

The One with the Post Exam Depression Syndrome

Engines warmed up, red pens aplenty, marking schemes carefully laid, displayed and highlighted for starking effect, comfortable seating positions, and endless cups of aromatic coffee, Yes it is the time of the year again.

It is marking time! The ritual before a break, the final lap...

Good Luck to the students... they will most probably need it.

Good Luck to me... I will almost definitely need that to clear the piles of A4 papers before deadline.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The One with Contentment

I took you in,
And gave you my heart..
You said I was your only angel
In a place you call Hell..

I opened my arms..
I opened my wings..
I took you in,
And gave you my love..

I made you feel safe..
I made you feel loved..
I made you feel happy,
In a place where you can belong..

I embraced you with my heart..
With my wings and my arms..
For I am your angel..
In a place you call Hell..

Monday, October 02, 2006

The One with the A-B-C

It is such a brutal exercise, trying to pigeonhole the teachers in levels and then finally trying put a number beside their names and eventually a letter which will not just determine the fatness of their pockets come next year, but eventually how you are going to move on - to continue to excel, to try to excel or not to excel and wallop in self pity.

It is such an ironic thing, you hear about it, you read about it, but when you are actually doing it, the experience turn out to be so unnerving. Well at least for me... Point for Point, achievement for achievement, contribution vs contribution, impact vs impact; it is the issue of realism at play, it is reality at work, and it is real to the core.

I sat inside my cubicle, swore to secrecy the verdicts. I sat in isolation as I tried to clear my mind bout the things that happens in that snap 4 hour marathon meeting.

maybe it is just the virginal experience... maybe i will get used of it. Maybe I will just be as I say Always Bo Chup about it. But then I asked, can I really do that, when I have the career of a person in my hands.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The One with all the peace

Peace prevails.... Exams has started
Let me enjoy the peace and tranquility before the marking settle in...

Peace out

Monday, September 25, 2006

The One about the class gathering

My first upper secondary form class, the batch of graduating students still keeps in contact with me. The infrequent sms-es that never failed to warm the heart, the yearly CNY visits. And before I knew it, most of them are already starting their tertiary education.

We met up for brunch on Saturday ( actually it should be lunch since so many of them were late) to bid farewell to one of the girls who got a scholarship to study in the UK. Vanessa, had to, of all professions, choose to join the army and was offered a scholarship to study in York University. I haven't seen some of them for almost 2 years since they left IJ and thus I was kinda looking forward to see how they were getting on. Sad to say, many of them couldnt make it at such short notice and many had to leave for other appointments and we were left with only 5 - 6 of us at Marche. It was quite nice catching up with my ex students. Seeing them talking about their dreams and aspirations, boyfriends and stuff, I suddenly felt really old. There they were, a figment of my memory, sitting at the respective areas in the classroom. Vanessa was always the hyper-active and studious one. Her affectious laughter and her "omigosh" everytime when there is a difficult maths question. How times flies as right in front of me then was a mature lady embarking on her new phase of her life.

I am happy to see all of them happily moving on. But like all parents, there is always a part of me that hope that every single one will stay the same as they use to be. Maybe they still do, Maybe I still do.

To Vanessa, I am sorry that I would not be able to send you off on Monday as I guess it might be too hard for me to say goodbye (and of course you will be coming back like December for your semestral break) It seems like yesterday that I wrote your testimonial and remember you in your blue pinafore. And there you are now, a confident lady going to embark on something new. I hope that you will read the gift I gave you as it was one book which i felt will be something impactful and meaningful. I am happy to see you moving on so well in your life and hope that you will do well for your studies and come back and make your family and friends proud. Challenges await you ahead and believe me the fruits of labour will be even sweeter with each trial and tribulation.

As i was writing this, a tune started ringing in my head. I googled it and there is the lyrics

Joel Mcintyre

"Stay the Same"

Don't you ever wish you were someone else,

You were meant to be the way you are exactly.

Don't you ever say you don't like the way you are.

When you learn to love yourself, you're better off by far.

And I hope you always stay the same, cuz there's nothin' 'bout you I would change.

[Verse]I think that you could be whatever you wanted to be

If you could realize, all the dreams you have inside.

Don't be afraid if you've got something to say,

Just open up your heart and let it show you the way.


[Bridge]Believe in yourself.

Reach down inside.

The love you find will set you free.

Believe in yourself, you will come alive.

Have faith in what you do.

You'll make it through.


Take care and God Bless!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The one with the About my teacher career

In continuation with what i set out to do in my previous post, I decided to write a little bit about how I was enticed into the teaching profession and finally took it up as a calling and a career.

Memory lane back to 1989, when I have exchanged my khaki shorts for the long white pants of an upper secondary student. In the only class in the entire cohort which take history and literature as the humanities in the pure science cohort, the class 3s5 was considered as an oddball. However I guess that was where my love affair with the subject started.

Young man with hormones raging, and there she was, a sweet history teacher who left the NIE just a couple of years ago. She was not really the prettiest thing on earth, but in my eyes she was a goddess, someone who was kind enough to give us help and explain history, and of course satisfy our curiosity for the bloodiest and gory stuff of the 3 Java wars. I can always remember the many times where she would take up the afternoons ( yes then school really ends at 1.00pm) to get to know us better and of course to enthuse us with all the history books with the troves of information. She was not really the most interesting teacher, in fact she fall into those category of a typical history teacher who flashed transparencies with summarized versions of the textbook which we would so studiously strained our eyes copying and busily highlighting our textbook. Perhap it was her ( I guess most probably) that got me my consistent A1s for history, and with success you start to breed interest. In fact I find myself working harder and harder for the subject to impress her. I guess it was then the seed of the love of the subject and finally the decision to become a teacher like her was laid.

Fast forward to the present, a casual comment by a member in the school who mentioned that there were only 30 out of the entire sec 2 cohort opted for history in the trial streaming exercise only served to tell me that history is a dying subject. Maybe kids nowadays are not as "guillible" as I was or I was deemed to be "not-that-attractive". I guess the under the belt insult that I am not as fresh and as goodlooking as the Geography teachers only bring the harsh reality that I am indeed getting old (Sigh!!)

I am really quite sick of all this, unjustifiable comparison between history and geography and this peddling of the subjects like commodities or shares which were perceived to have better returns or values. I think I just need to sit on the toilet bowl and flush out my thoughts.

( PS I think I am having my mood swings again.... must be the stress acting up... I think)
The One with the earned recognition

Sometimes the honours of a leader has to be earned

2 incidents which so happen in quick succession showed me what it meant to be slighted....

1) When the P introduced the key personnel during the parents-teacher dialogue, guess who was the only one present not mentioned?

2) when the sms was send to all Key personnel regarding the cancellation for the photo-taking session, guess again who was the only one oblivious and dressed to the nines?

It is already hard being a Key personnel, and it is even harder when you are not recognised as one ( sure th meagre allowance do soften the blow a little)

Maybe it was a mistake.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The One with the Nothing Positive

In my blog surfing to find equally depressing people in the teaching profession, :P, I saw a comment written on a fellow professional's blog

In the blog, Mr A wrote that teachers blogs are generally depressing, and it had in some way made his cousin think twice about joining the sacred profession. He was glad that Jeanie had address this issue and I quote
"Your positive tone helped remove the depression I felt. And I think you are right. We must remember WHY we joined and if we have not left yet, we must still feel the passion somewhere in us. If there is no more passion left, we should leave. And not gripe and moan and do a greater disservice to our profession."

I totally agree with what A say about depressing teacher blogs. In fact it is not usual to see teachers griping about the system, the students, the colleagues and every thing under the sun. Sad to say, as teachers, sometimes we do not have the proper channels to address our frustrations, our unhappinesses or even our take on certain governmental policies which would have been dumped if we were the Minister of Education a day (hey everyone is entitled to their own opinion). But as an individual, everyone has their own take on issues that concern us and the very fact that we gripe about it, show that we are passionate and bothered by the things we see and experience. I do agree that griping too much can be detrimental to the service and to our own physical well being but I also understand that we need to let it out our systems at times. The fact is teachers do complain and the fact is that teachers who do complain do have this passion. Sometimes it is this passion that really got us burned out and frustrated.

I have to admit I do moan and groan and the sad/true thing is that the very fact that I have made my identity known means that my every actions, words are under constant scrutiny to the students, parents, fellow teachers and *gasp* MOE officials ( Now I wonder whether it is because of this that I am not being promoted as fast as I hope for, or maybe it is just my CEP ;P) But then again, I stand by what I have written and I know that the very fact that I bothered to even write a blog to document what has happened, is a good indication that I have *sadly* made teaching my life and my mission. And I must say life is always bittersweet and never rosy :)

( Maybe an audacious appeal to all the teachers bloggers who read this, to write about why you join teaching in the first place and what prompted you to continue on and on everyday. Maybe as what A say, this would be a timely reminder about our "mission" in life. :)) Not if you would excuse me, I got to overcome my initial depression of the blues from coming back from my reservist)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The One with the TLLM

I attended a IT class on how to do podcasting and was fiddling with it with a colleague during the computer lab.

This is my first attempt at podcasting. So the quality is really bad. Do give your comments.


PS the issue may be a bit controversial and I have to acknowledge that I drew some inspiration from a fellow teacher blogger's blog entry ( This blogger had gotten quite a lot of flak recently and I shan't add fuel to the fire). Contrary to what people may feel, I put this up not to whinge about the things I am doing but rather as a form of trying out a new way of expression. As such I am just experimenting with the topic.

If of course the content is too rauchy or too controversial to your liking... Well.......
The One about the N Level SS exams

Waiting in tredipation, outside the examination hall, as my 4n kids handed in their SS scripts.

As they swarmed out of the hall, my first question upon seeing some of the dejected faces was "why? what happened?"

"cher, very difficult, no time to finish leh, I left with only 5 minutes to answer the 25 mark structured question"
"Mr ng, aiyoh, why the question so like that, how come the topic that you spot did not come out, I study so hard for it leh!"

My heart sunk a little. To give myself some credit, I did managed to spot about 3 out of the 4 questions correctly which will give the students ample choice to answer. Even the question styles were similar, and I was hoping that the kids would have aced the paper. However sad to say, many had forgot or did not remember the important things that I had so emphasized so many times during the course of the revision and the state of shock when I rattled the answers and the sources ( midyear, prelim, and the countless practice papers) I gave them which were so similar to what they had encountered in the exams. Many of them then realised that the answers were there for them. It was whether they had made the attempt to just look for them and scrutinise them.

As I walked back to the staffroom and plonked into my little cubicle, I just have to pray that the markers would be a little more lenient with them, for even they had forgotten some of those that I taught, I knew that these kids had tried their best. And I would like to see that that in itself is already a commendable thing.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The One about Teachers' Day (Part 2) edited

So teachers' day celebration came and went. On the whole, it was a yucky feeling. For me at least, for it was a quiet and largely ignored teacher day celebration. Fast forwarded, when people move at lightning speed, when conversations were engaged, and there I was sitting in the little cubicle I can call my workdesk as I ploughed laboriously on this entry.Lost was the feeling, Indifference is the attitude, and of course downcast was generally the mode of expression.

I was wondering why I can't feel anything. Maybe true to what my principal ask, "have you adjusted?" Yes maybe the hustle and bustle of stuff, the need to finish stuff at lightning speed, and to literally run rather than walk the pace. But sad to say, to the students, a firm no when it come to adjusting to them?

It was in the school culture that the students will write dedications to nominate the teachers they like as the most caring teacher for the year, and it will be painstakingly compiled by the admin staff into nice little folders with all the sheets of dedications. Kinda Teacher Idol. The one with the highest number of dedications will be the most caring teacher. I was very appreciative of what the admin staff do, and it was a painful reminder :P to say the least, how the students see you. With a pathetic number of 4 or 5 dedications, I must have been the feeling of a Gayle Nerva in SI 2006. And interestingly, it was the normal class which wrote the bulk of the measly 5 for me. It did warm my cold cold heart and got my spirit up from the depth of netherland. Likewise the thing where not even 1 from your form class do sum up my relationship with my class. I do not want to bear grudges, for I have to admit, investment to build up a relationship required both parties, and I seems to have this fatass inertia.

I shared at a causal gathering last nigh with a bunch of my new colleagues. I couldnt comprehend why is it that I could touch lives and make a difference in my previous school, where students in their Uni years now, send me congratulatory smses and gave me phone calls of concern, why is it that kids are comfortable enough to have opportunities to have lunch, dinner or tea with me. But yet in this new place, I have become just a education officer ( not a teacher). I read a book by John Maxwell "the 17 Indisputable laws of teamwork" and I remember particularly 1 episode which I read, where he mentioned sometimes a person can't perform in the environment was due to the fact that he/she is not a lousy player, he/she was just playing in the wrong team. Recounting this episode to my colleagues, I asked myself, could it be I have joined the wrong team?"

My wife once said that I have joined the right profession. Being narcissistic in a non-obsessive manner, I strive on recognition, external or internal. Motivation play a very important role for me. And it has to say, it is a sinking feeling today to say the least.

Sometimes I do understand that recently I have been showing too much of my vulnerabilities and idiosyncracies, to the people that I have loved, and people who loved and unloved or not even know me.. :P Unlike trisha, thatjedi, kelvin, who are shrouded in secrecy. I am literally foolishly brave, or bravely foolish to reveal myself ( call it narcissistic! :P)

Maybe things would be better next year. There will be a next year.

(PS I do miss the presents from the IJ girls, edible, inedible cookies, functional, dysfunctional pieces of art, beautiful words and sentences, I miss reading them.... Opps here I go again. :( )

(PS thank for the concern, but I am feeling much better now, the dinner I had with some of my new colleagues until 2 am in the morning was a good reliver.)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The One about Teachers' Day

In another 9 hours time, I will be on my way to school for the Teachers' Day Celebrations
Maybe it is the fact that this is a new school for me, and I am only about 8 months into the full ritual of the school. Maybe it is the fact that I am so bogged down by things in school that I am not able to really focus on the emotional aspect os the students, the absence of quality time to bild bonds and of course the absence of any particular reason to do so.

Teacher's day will just be a day, a holiday of songs and dance, but I guess it will not touch my heart.

Maybe this view will change. who knows?
To me, I dont feel appreciated when I know that I have not invested in the relationship. Any overt show of gratitude to me is just a show.
Maybe I am cynical, maybe I am just cranky. Or Maybe it is just me.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The One with the Save and Thrift

I guess for the next few months I got to start eating grass....
I have just signed up a 8 day tour package to Korea with Chan brothers. This will be like a second honeymoon for me and my wife

Skiing here I come... :)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The One about Career Choices

Maybe it is the signs of burnout and fatigue. But recently I was actually wondering, what my life would have been if I have choose to do some other things than the "Calling"? In the profession for a good 6 years now, I asked myself when I was still that eager beaver, the never-say-die gungho attitude, with that willingness to do just about everything, anything, how would I have fare if I have chosen something else. How would my life be? Better or for the worst?

Actually i is bad to even contmeplate about other career choices when it is all about making life choices and sticking with it. Live life with zest and move forward with no regrets. But it would be interesting if I had actually done the following....

dreaming music..... smoke machines creating the misty effect and I am brought to 6 years ago where I have made my career choice..

"cut!" a voice boomed. "what the heck is all this... we will never be able to get that documentary on time.. Where is the assistant producer? I asked him to go and get the newscaster like an hour ago, don't tell me he lost his bloody way again. With a sweat drenched t shirt, and beads of perspiration, the assistant producer rushed to the director and apologie profusely, there was a mixup in the schedule and the newscaster so happen to be involved in another place for filming. His hands were still holding the packets of food for the production crew, while he faced the scolding from the producer for not getting the schedule. The rest fo the crew moaned and took the packets of food and found a shady corner for lunch.

The director lamented " aiyah, why you so blur one? Wei kwang, like that how to be promoted to producer...."

Poof back to reality, screaming at students does seems like a better option now... :P

Monday, August 21, 2006

The One about the weekend

To cap a lacklustre week, I had a miserable weekend. The routine of looking after Baby Vernice and the mad rush of marking the examination and test papers and of course my stupid comp had to die on me. I was actually hoping to edit all those video clips I have taken of Vernice and post it on her blog but the computer obviously had other plans. After 1 couple of abortive starts, I decided that it will be a waste of my time to continue and thus the lack of internet activity during the last 2 days.

It was not that bad though as I got to spend some time for myself on Saturday morning. Other than shopping for a present for my wife ( it is our dating anniversary tomorrow) I get to do what I enjoyed most, looking through the array of CDs on display and testing out the songs on the sound system.

This morning is going to be quite a day for me for I will be in class for almost the whole of the day. I am not really that excited about going into the class again, after what happen on friday. But then again a teacher got to do what a teacher got to do. Just like Superman, he pretty much have no choice....

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The one with that there is no failure, just feedback

A short 15 minute in a sec 3 class was enough to get my blood boiling. Sometimes I wondered if my threshold for masochism had reduced appreciably.

I am never someone who believe in completing syllabus for the sake of it and believe in my inner purpose of developing the whole self. I mentioned extensively about the things I believe strongly about the growth of a person and the meaning of life. And sometimes I do get cynical looks and comments but in general students are usually receptive. Maybe it is too much of the “good” thing and I find myself facing a crowd who were skeptical to the things that I said. I did not expect students to treat what I said as “gospel truth” but I was hoping that deep down I could touch hearts and got them thinking about things and about life in general. Maybe it is the intellect level, maybe it is the maturity level, but it was frustrating to say the least.

I wanted to set some work relating to self discovery - maybe it has nothing to do with the curriculum, maybe it has nothing to do with exams and Maybe it has nothing to do with them. In view of the cynicism, I erased my instructions on the board, the instructions for their weekend task. I retorted that if they feel that it doesn’t matter to them. They do not care about it, then I think it defeat the purpose of the exercise. I walked out of the class.

This was it....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The One about a poem

The wind one brilliant day
Called to my soul
With an odor of jasmine

And the wind said
“In exchange for the odor of my jasmine
I would like to have all the odor of your roses.”

I replied,
“I have no roses, all the flowers in my garden are dead.”

And the wind said,
“I will take the withered petals and the yellow leaves.”

And the wind left…

And I wept!

And I said to my soul,
“what have you done with the garden that have been entrusted to you?”

Antonio Machado

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The One about NDP

so national day comes and goes....

Thankfully I did not show my over-zealousness by singing "we are singapore" out loud during the school national day parade, for there were as usual some hiccups here and there in the preparations. However I am glad to see the end of that for it means now I can finally settle down and deal with my core business - teaching and learning..

In fact I spend the entire ND catching up with my sleep and of course playing with my audiophile stuff. Got a couple of CDs - namely the soundtrack for the Pirates of the Carribean 2 , Jim Tomlinson "the lyrics" featuring Stacy Kent, Danny Chan (陳百強) Greatest Hits Collection ( SACD), Sissel" into Paradise". Actually buying the cds allow me to test out my sound system and it is always relaxing to lounge in my sofa and play the music in the background. I was doing some packing yesterday and found so many cds that I have bought. I almost forgotten that I have bought them. In fact I realise that this year I have gotten so many cds, maybe it is just an indication of the stress I have.

Anyway back to the theme of ND, as i look back at the past few years national day, it always seems to come and go. The extent that some of the people would go to get an NDP ticket or two is always a question beyond me. I am never a fan of the hot and sweltering heat, jammed packed like sardines in the National Stadium and I am ashamed to say I have never watch an NDP in its entirety. Sometme I do wondered, if I am really patroitic or such but I am always sad to say finding more interesting to do than plonking myself in front of the TV to watch the 2 hr plus proceedings. Guilty? maybe sometimes... But i really cant understand the fuss about it.

Seems like today rantings dont make much sense.... Sleep deprivation do have a funny way of influencing your thoughts and words.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The One about Questions about the Humanities

It was a-spur-in-the-moment thing. I was just teaching in my sec 3 class when I shared with the students when I started to share the importance of the humanities. In a society where traditional emphasis is on the EMS, it is no wonder that the Humanities teachers had the unenviable task of enthusing and motivating. Many colleagues teaching other disciplines green-eyed the freedom and flexibility that the Humanities teachers had; it was always a subject that was interesting, with stories, andecotes, with forms and features, with people and achievement, with forms and features, with crises and conflicts. However it is also a discipline which is regarded as the poorer cousin in terms of priority. I remember asking one of the DD during the Meet-the-DD session and I discreetly probe about the issue of increasing the emphasis of the humanities. I got a no-answer answer where he asserted that the very fact that it is considered in the L1R5 already suggested its importance, which of course got me thinking about the next issue - is a subject deemed as important if it is an examinable subject or is a subject emphasized deemed as important?

A colleague passionate about Geography shared with her students that "Geography is the master of all subjects"* She qualified this by highlighting the different aspect of the discipline which showed shades of the other subjects, whether it is maths, science, or even economics. Undeterred I continued my tirade with the class and told the kids that History do not claim to be the master of all subjects but rather it is the training of the mind - You understand the causes and effects, you comprehend the truths and untruths, you differentiated the different perspectives. These skills can be used for all disciplines.

Anyway in class, I told the kids that whatever they learn in humanities in terms of facts, sadly is not really that important (for my discipline to say the least) The most important thing is to find relevance and learning about yourself and to understand about life in its microcosm. I left the class leaving them with more questions. I told them to learn is to expand your horizon, to talk to people, to see, to observe and to listen. I told them that the type of person you are depend on:

1) the books you read
2) the movies you watch
3) the conversations you had and
4) the friends you made

Which of course lead to the last questions - how can one be human when one is oblivious to the humanities?

* In fact one of the students intepret it as the "mother of all subjects" and i countered that by saying history is the "grandfather of all subjects" :P

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The One about Gratitude

My previous entry apparently struck a chord among many of my ex students who had hear me religiously proselytizing about this quality that I held so dear. Many students would remember the "lectures" I gave during those "teachable moments" to reinforce this. I am saying the one quality which I believe will define a great man from a good man - "Gratitude". Sorry if I do sound deterministic at times like this, but this is one trait which I hold strongly in my beliefs. In fact I was pleasantly surprised to get this mail in my email mailbox this morning when I logon.

Now I would shamelessly quote from the mail.

"hello mr ng,

i havent gotten a chance to speak to you much since a very long time.even though we had the bbq,there was no much chance for me to talk to you and stuff.that explains this rather sudden email doesnt it.

so i was just wondering what you were up to in your new school,new environment,new kids and of cause no more nonsensical ij your blog and while reading your most recent post,i thought of something you taught us in sec 3 - one which stayed in my heart this long.
you once wrote on the board "gratitude" and told us that that was the most important word so on and so forth.and i was just thinkin bout it.

i dont know if you know but i was asked to go back to ij for honor's day'06 where i received,well my prize for coming in first for my combined humanities.i had always wanted to message you before to thank you and to inform you that i was goin back and things like that but the hectic jc life never gave me a chance to.i guess i shldnt blame whatever jc life or anything cause i know for sure that if i had really wanted to there wld have been enough time for me to squeeze out abit of time out of my busy schedule to message you or something.i know this mail is a little late,afterall honors day is already over and things like that but i just wanted to thank you for all that you have done in terms of my academics,you were there and tried your best as a history cum social studies teacher,making sure that your students got whatever skills that they needed in order to face any kind of questions during an examination!(though i remember that for a certain exam there was a certain question that was an attempt of phrasing it cheem but faild thus causing everyone to misinterprete the qs!haha) anyhow back to this,and i probably have never said this before, but you were the best form tcher a class could ever asked for. it was good to be able to be in your form class and at times work 'hand in hand' with you as the class chair.thank you for all that you gave to the class, made everything so memorable.

not only were you there as a teacher, you were there as a friend and a mentor. giving valuable advice whenever we needed it. the difference between a secondary school tcher and a jc tcher is that the secondary school tcher cares alot more for you then the ones in jc.haha. its true. but o wells. thanks again mr ng for everything. from sec 3 and sharing the "white monkey' joke with us to going through sec 3 adventure camp, parent tcher meeting, mid years then final years, the whole gruelling sec 4 year, preparing us for the o's as a amaths,history,social studies tcher and a mentor cum friend, to the sec 4 self awareness camp, mid years and finally the o's. encouraging us constantly and giving us your full support. thank you for having faith in us! we got through it together as a class.

yes gratitude is one important word.
thank you mr ng for the many things you have done for us. it will definitely not be forgotten!

hope you're doing fine now,
take care.
god bless!"

Hi amanda
It was nice to hear from you even though I am no longer in IJ. I apologise for not being there as a form teacher to award you with the prize for it would seem so inappropriate, even though deep down inside I would love to just hand the prize over to you. I am definitely surprised that my personal mantra of life would one day be an impact in some way or another to my students. Ye gratitude is indeed something important and I am thankful for the honour to be a part of your life which you felt significant and memorable and I am glad that I have in some way or another be a part of it. I am happy that all the Sec 4/4 have move on to your new phase of your education. Deep down inside, I do miss those times in class when all the class antics never fail to amaze/frustrate/anger/please me.

Thank you for the kind reminder of what I am here for.

Mr Ng
Sometimes I just hate myself for being so sentimental :(

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The One about the Man of Steel again

Bryan Singer's "Superman returns" brought a lot of inspired entries on the son from Kryton. Many know that I do draw similarities with this man ( wearing read underwear in the right way not withstanding) and it was a pleasant surpise to see another fellow professional writing something about the Man of Steel.

As I mentioned about being Superman the last time, things have so far not been good in school. If you have been reading the past entries, you would see that the world is infested with problems so big that even the Man of Steel would have a problem deciding which to settle first. Which is also why I shamelessly ask the author of the blog mentioned whether she was refering to me per se. I guess she might be talking about teachers per se, people per se, or even problems in general. (Hey the world does not revolve around the superman wannabe :P)

It is always at this period of time, I tell myself to be thankful of stuff and be grateful with things I have. I was having a conversation with my baby girl on the car. I told her she was a lucky girl for she get zoomed around by her chauffuer dad when I never had the opportunity. I guess she may not be listening as she was just cooing around and smiling. However even though this term had been hellish to say the least, I find it a good opportunity to look around and ask myself what things i should be thankful of. I do feel better when I do so.

Who are the people and events I am thankful of? Let me count thee

What about u?
The One about another big D thing

Maybe it is the stress of term 3, maybe it is the inhumanely punishing schedule. But people are acting really peculiar in these few weeks. As a form teacher, you prayed that other than the rushing of syllabi, pestering students for homework, the almost obligitory teacher observations, the deadline of setting papers and the preparation of the 4E/4N/5N students for the end of year "BIG THING", the least you need is of course a disciplinary problem, a BIG disciplinary problem.

I was literally hit with that on Friday after the dialogue session with the Deputy Director (Personnel). To cut the frivolous short, the DM came to me, spoke to me in hushed tones, while gesticulating me to go out of the conference room. Sensing the seriousness of the issue, I stepped out with tredipation, thinking what could have happen again to my ever notorious hyperactive sec 2 form class. To have some sense of inanomymity and privacy, I shan't reveal the full details of it,but le me just say, these type of problems will never happen in IJ where the cohort is all female, even if hormones are raging and interests in the opposite sense will befuddle you to do things beyond your wildest imagination. SIGH..... And the best thing about this was that there were rumour that he had done something similar before however there was no concrete evidence nor witnesses who stand out to "testify". Therefore I gave him the benefit of the doubt. After repeated counselling and even a "warning" on wednesday, this time he was caught red-handed AND red-faced.

Now he has to face the music, parents are called up, meet the P session on Monday. How is that to add to the insanely crazy term three?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The One with the Something good to start the day

I saw this on a friend's blog entry archive and decided to put it in my blog to motivate myself and my friends.

God: Hello! Did you call me?
Me: Called you? No.. who is this?

God: This is GOD. I heard your prayers. So I thought I will chat with you.
Me: I do pray. Just makes me feel good. I am actually busy now. I am in the midst of something........

God: What are you busy at? Ants are busy too.
Me: Don't know. But I can't find free time. Life has become hectic. It's rush hour all the time.

God: Sure. Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you results. Activity consumes time. Productivity frees it.
Me: I understand. But I still can't figure it out. By the way, I was not expecting YOU to buzz me on instant messaging chat.

God: Well I wanted to resolve your fight for time, by giving you some clarity. In this net era, I wanted to reach you through the medium you are comfortable with.

Me: Tell me, why has life become complicated now?
God: Stop analyzing life. Just live it. Analysis is what makes it complicated.

Me: why are we then constantly unhappy?
God: Your today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. You are worrying because you are analyzing. Worrying has become your habit. That's why you are not happy.

Me: But how can we not worry when there is so much uncertainty?
God: Uncertainty is inevitable, but worrying is optional.

Me: But then, there is so much pain due to uncertainty..
God: Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.

Me: If suffering is optional, why do good people always suffer?
God: Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don't suffer. With that experience their life becomes better not bitter.

Me: You mean to say such experience is useful?
God: Yes. In every term, Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.

Me: But still, why should we go through such tests? Why can't we be free from problems?
God: Problems are Purposeful Roadblocks Offering Beneficial Lessons (to) Enhance Mental Strength. Inner strength comes from struggle and endurance, not when you are free from problems.

Me: Frankly in the midst of so many problems, we don't know where we are heading..
God: If you look outside you will not know where you are heading. Look inside. Looking outside, you dream. Looking inside, you awaken. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides insight.

Me: Sometimes not succeeding fast seems to hurt more than moving in the right direction. What should I do?
God: Success is a measure as decided by others.. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you. Knowing the road ahead is more satisfying than knowing you rode ahead. You work with the compass. Let others work with the clock.

Me: In tough times, how do you stay motivated?
God: Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.

Me: What surprises you about people?
God: when they suffer they ask, "why me?" When they prosper, they never ask "Why me" Everyone wishes to have truth on their side, but few want to be on the side of the truth.

Me: Sometimes I ask, who am I, why am I here. I cant get the answer.
God: Seek not to find who you are, but to determine who you want to be. Stop looking for a purpose as to why you are here. Create it. Life is not a process of discovery but a process of creation.

Me: How can I get the best out of life?
God: Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence.Prepare for the future without fear.

Me: One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.
God: There are no unanswered prayers.. At times the answer is NO.

Me: Thank you for this wonderful chat. I am so happy to start this day with a new sense of inspiration.
God: Well. Keep the faith and confidence and drop the fear. Don't believe your doubts and doubt your beliefs. Life is a mystery to solve, not a problem to resolve. Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live.

"Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The One about Trafford

I brought Trafford to the animal clinic last evening. Like a irresponsible parent, I was trying my best to fit in the medical appointment even though I had the whole weekend to do so. Trafford was suffering from a mild ear irritation and I have been procrastinating to send him to the clinic ( such irresponsible owner!)

Ever since Vernice came into our family, Trafford had lost the status as the apple of the eyes of the family. He cuts a forlorn figure when attention and love were showered on Vernice. Sensing that his status as the “pet” (sic) of the house is fast disminishing, he accepted willingly his fate as the “donggong”东宫 whose popularity faded when the emperor found his concubine.

Nevertheless, he continue to show his affection to all in the family and wagged his tail and demands for a tummy rub everytime someone he knew stepped into the house. He also take up the additional responsibility as the “gor gor’ and look after vernice when she is lying on the bed. Like a big brother, he can be really protective of Vernice and lie besides her, somewhere near but not too near to create any form of discomfort for him or Vernice. There were times when he wanted to show his affections by licking her and patting her, but was shouted down by my mum and dad. I think deep down inside he must have felt really hurt.

The visit to the clinic was a relatively short one. Within 45 minutes, Trafford got his ears checked and cleaned, his vaccinations injection done and I came out 88 dollars poorer. But I could see a little sparkle in his eyes, when he was looking out from the car window ( an act he loves) and letting his fur down. I think he enjoyed the bonding moment with me. And that made me guilty, for I realize how much attention I have not given to him and how a little attention got him so happy. Sometime I am wondering if I might be so partial if I have another daughter. Then again One Vernice I already cannot handle liao.. :(

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The One with Kelynn's Gift

I was doing some work when I cam across Kelynn's (an ex-student) gift to me during the class BBQ. It was a collection of quotes about teachers in squarish pieces of papers which is placed in a small little box. One quote caught my attention

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others"

Hm... is that why I am feeling so burn out :P

Anyway 6 weeks to end of term 3...


Saturday, July 22, 2006

The One with the God's help

I heaved a sigh of relief yesterday morning after the reenactment of the RH riots. It didnt turn out well, the monologue was inaudible totally overwhelmed by the music and the poor kids did not hear the cue, and thus was not able to come in and "act" when it was time to so. The "rioting" kids were disappointed especially the girl reading the monologue; she felt that she was to blame for the whole failure of the performance. However I had to reassure them that it was ok and most importantly they had done their best. even though the story was not heard clearly, the students did enjoyed the performance and were exceptionally quiet when the girl read the reflections. At least the message for that did get through.

After the first bell went and lesson started, I sat alone in the canteen, getting my regular coffee fix, hoping to nurse my bruised ego if there is any, and thenI realised however I ended the session more relieved than disappointed, perhap my anal perfectionist attitude had waned or I am just too drained ? As i was looking for some answers and hope, I saw this

Guess it did help to be in a convent school for a while, God has been providing answers everywhere even on the metal shutter.. :)

The Ego One

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The One with the RH Prelude

I was in school till the unearthly hour of 7.15 pm as I watch my "rioters" fighting against each other on the school assembly area. This was one of the events that we had for RHD 2006, where we will be reenacting a riot scene to impress upon the kids the importance of RH even though what we will be trying to do is to put up a hypothetical situation in the year 2030 with a monologue and of course "extras" acting out the rioting scenes. After the initial attempts by the sec 2s to fight each other ( it ended up like "Brokeback Mountain" meet "Mortal Combat") the moves were refined and of course the "brokeback" ness was reduced together with an increased sense of realism. In fact it got so real that I was going to shout "cut" at certain junction until the kids started huddling together laughing.

Anyway I went back home with a spliting headache and felt that the best thing to do is just to let me thoughts flow through words on the net. It has been an eventful day for me, first I got to know in the morning that I was supposed to be a counsellor to a bunch of students who has apparently commmitted some offence during the Perth fieldtrip. They feel that being a guy, a young man, a married man I would be in a good position to share about the nos about certain things. Anyway I shan't wash dirty laundry in the cyberspace public but I must say it is quite a unique experience for me though I had to call my wifey, who happens to be a social worker btw to give me some advice. Then there was another case of another student in my class who apparently have been missing school for a while even after her suspension. Even though the form teacher ( a close colleague of mine) emphasize that there was nothing wrong. But as a typical humanities teacher who is blessed with the skills of inference and analysis. i was able to put two things together and got the conclusion ( Anyway the two issues mentioned is not related but yet related at the same time, if you are not so dense :P) Sometimes curiosity do kill the cat.

Now I am just crossing my fingers and hope that everything goes on smoothly tomorrow or should I say in about 10 hours time sigh!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The One with the Week 4 of Term 3

How time flies, and let me hang on to my cape and my ever slipping red underwear.

Term 3 comes and before you knew it , it is already week 4 ( and counting down the week to September). It is the usual hush and puff and of course the seemingly mad frantic and punsihing pace of school. Grouchy look and stressed faces had started to appear among the many residing in the staffroom. Colleagues losing their usual bubbly nature and losing battles against simple viruses. There were others who literally took the "s" from stress and got a new haircut, a new hairdo with maggie mee- like tresses. In fact one of the canteen vendors asked me in hushed tones whether the hairdo was part of the commemoration of Racial Harmony Day, even though I am not quite sure whether how is that so. Anyway, there were many revelations of teachers applying for open posting, many contemplated on quitting and many started bingeing. It is such a typical sight of Term 3 and as one of the members of the relief committee, it is quite usual to see a LONG list of absent teachers everyday. I guess stress really take its toil.

In fact I told one of the Sec 4N class who is still apparently in holiday mood to literally "wake up" their ideas, and all I got were sleepy looks which disappeared almost instanteously when the recess bell goes.

Anyway I have no answer to the increasing stress and stuff. For I tried to adopt a "Zen"-like attitude towards work during term 3 where "work is no work" but "no work can also be work" type of mentality. Seems chim and it took me a while and a few stacks of marking to fully comprehend the gis of that. But then again I digress.

I was going to tell you all about what happen over the week and how things are going now with the little addition in the family. But I guess you can pretty much read it from here. Someone who I was subconsciously thinking about, had actuall found my blog and made contact! I was so surprised and happy. Took some time to read through her blog entries and am really happy that she is doing well in Sydney. It has been a long while almost 2 years plus since I last saw her. In fact i wrote an emotional entry then which I guess she never managed to read it. How time flies and how we have aged over time!

Maybe time had been kind to both of us, and bringing us apart at a time when our differences threaten to spoil our relationship. Maybe time was bad to both of us, and it seems that metaphorically speaking we are now isle apart in our pursuits.

After my trip to Perth, I was telling myself that one day I would leave the sunny isle and live in a place where the pace of life is less stressful and idyllic. Maybe I will make good my promise one day when I am sick of all the worldy pursuit and finally willing to live life as simply as I want. But till then I am still having a world of a time; hm... maybe that is where the stress is coming from? :)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The One with the obvious drop in standard

After almost 3 week i finally got down to marking the sec 3 holiday work. The quality to say the least was grotesque if you can actually use that adjective. Anyway this was a history homework where they are supposed to do a newspaper frontpage. I thought it was pretty interesting and enough to get the students excited about history. On top of that, I had the best band of the sec 3 history class. So imagine the horror when I took out from my locker the loads of salted vegetables.

This is one :

Dont they understand the meaning of the word A3 Tabloid. I frantically look for the student name and there it is ...

My MNFC chairperson of last year would definitely hand in better work. She was an AEP student and extremely good in her writing... Sigh...

FYI MNFC is Mr NG Fan Club... haha

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The One that I saw him smile to me for the first time

It is a special day today, as i dragged my feet into the infamous class which I so dreaded. However surprisingly, the lesson went on smoothly and I had about a couple of minutes to spare after completing what i wanted to cover.

I took the opportunity to talk to this boy which I have so infamously mentioned before. He happened to be one of the athletes who were taking part in the Nationals. I spoke to him and congratulate him on his qualification for the High Jump event. I told him that he has potential and I would like to train him for his event. He listened to me intently and was thanking me profusely. He smiled at me!

Another boy from the class was called by me. This is also another problematic boy whom I have shouted and screamed at for disruptiuve behaviour and not handing up work. I told him that I knew he went to the hospital with a couple of his friends on friday to visit his form teacher. I enquired from him the form teacher's latest conditions and praise him that what he did was a "nice gesture". he said thanks and He smiled at me!

It was nice and it really made my day.
The One @ Choa Chu Kang Stadium

A new appointment was entrusted to me. with my previous experience as a track and field teacher, I was asked by the school to look after the ad-hoc group of athletes tand prepare them for the National School Track and Field Competition. Seconded to the Basketball CCA, I was given the sacred appointment of "Special Projects" In Fact the acronym "SP" got many colleagues curious and they were asking about it. I told them it means "Secret Projects" and if I divulge the details, I would have to kill them :P...

Rushing down immediately after lessons, I was overwhelmed by the familiar sight and the used-to-be-routine-yearly responsibilities of bring the girls to the stadium for competition. As I parked my car, I was welcomed by the enthusiastic Track-and-field girls from my previous school who were eagerly trying to fill me in with the latest happenings in school and their performances so far. As I make my way to the grandstand seats, the familiar sight of students in their ever familiar school track attire, doing their warm-ups, striding, the cheering and the bangs of the starter gun brought back some much memories.

Ex students in their JC sport attire came over and say hi. Many were asking for my reasons for leaving the school which they thought I would never leave. I replied with a weak smile and a brave front before digressing to their schoolwork and other mundane stuff. it was nice to be back but then again i thought it was great to be able to feel that i have moved on..(or have I?)

A colleague once asked me whether I regretted leaving my ex-school and all i could say was I believed that I left for a better place for a better me. Maybe it would be and maybe it should be this way. The school had moved on and so should I. But it is always the niggling thought that preoccupied me.

Sorry if I sound rhetorical at times. It is just the bustle of stuff which made me reflect on things.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The One with the Interview

Our school was compassionate enough to let the students and teachers come late at 8.30am on Monday morning and lessons resumed at 9.00am. It was well deserved as I was really tired from the Excel Fest. Baby Vernice was also having difficulty sleeping because of an uncomfortable blocked nose. But then again I digress..

My colleague came to me, telling me that she got an interview for a post in my previous school. it came as a shock ( maybe 2 shocks?). Firstly she seems well settled and adjusted in the school that i though she would be the last one to leave. After going through the previous principal's dynasty, and surviving and being the last (wo)man standing from the same batch, I did not expect her to have this fleeting thought of leaving.

Perhap my work review with her got her thinking about her future, her path from now. In my usual story telling mood, I told her about the story of a flea. I asked her whether she knew that a flea is able to jump about 200 times the length of its own body. Then again I digress again... I shared with her that there used to be a flea caught in a glass cylinder. As it jumped, it hits the top of the container; which proves to be extremely painful for the flea. the flea tried again and again and everytime it suffered from the collision with the glass cylinder. Slowly it started to adjust the height of its jump so that it would almost touch the cover. This went on for weeks. One day the lid was open and yet the flea was not able to get out, for it has been unable to jump out. it has gotten use to the height which have given it no pain..

I guess she understood the story behind the analogy. She told me that this story got her thinking about what she want and she realised she did not want to stay on and realised she cannot jump out anymore. She did not want to be the flea in the story. That was why she decided to try for the open postings and my former school was one of the choices. This happened to be shock #2.

Much as I was unwilling to see her leave, I was happy that she is moving out of her comfort zone and doing something that she had in her words "lost the courage a long time ago". As a friend and a colleague I decided to help her by giving her the insider's view of the interview... what the interviewers might ask ( my former P's and HOD's likes and dislikes, possible questions and standard answers as liken from a TYS)

As I was preparing her for the interview, it got me thinking that it was almost a year ago that I was going through the same process, the emotional roller-coasters and the anxiety and hesitations.

As I plonked myself in my little cubicle, I said a silent prayer and hope that everything will go on smoothly for her.

She came back telling me that the interview went on smoothly, though they were more interested in the different systems that my present school have to offer. However as a friend and colleague she now can fully emphathise with the cultural shocks I initally have coming to this school after her brief encounter with my ex school's students and the school management.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The One with the end of the Excel Fest

Bitching time... be forewarned

Yes it is finally over and let me catch my breath momentarily. Piles of work awaiting me to mark and a huge school event,"racial harmony Day" and my NE committee awaiting me to give a go-ahead with the preparation. Sigh! talk about Responsibilities. in fact I was so tired that I had again failed to watch the 3am 3rd/4th placing game in the world Cup. Infact I am disappointed to say that I have only watch like 5 matches throughout the whole world cup in enitirety and like mayeb another 5 which I never lasted to watch the ending, only waking up to turn the TV off after catching it "sneering" at my laborious attempt to keep awake.

Anyway back to the Excel Fest, after weeks of intense preparations, It finally came to fruition on Friday. With so much aplomb and anticipation leading up to THE event, it was supposed to be a GREAT Event. However I looked back with more disappointments. There were plenty of learning points, plenty of good stuff but somehow the negative things since to outweigh the pros.
First and foremost it was a great learning experiences with showcases of great ideas and plenty of interaction ( good and bad) between the various participating schools. The experiences had been exhilrating. But there were a couple of points which I really have to get it out of my system.

1) Bad Idea of Decentalisation

This year the organising big-wigs had decided that they are going to have a decentralised system of having 4 -5 anchor schools in each zones so as to facilitate more outflow of innovative ideas and better interaction between the schools of the various zones, however the idea backfired bigtime. A lot of people were in fact put off by the fact that they have to travel ala amazing race to move from one holding school to another so as to view the other exhibits. On top of that the schools are do not have the logistics to cope with a huge turnout (if there were any). Carpark lots lacking, food for the visitors were also lacking in variety. Maybe it was just a case of over ambitious.

2) Bad Turnout

If I have not remember wrongly, they expected about 600 people a day to visit the I & E exhibition and the Classroom experience per day, but sad to say it is the teachers and students presentes who were sweating in the hot and stuffy halls who are making up the numbers in the school where I was having our exhibition booth. My school entourage included a total of 4 teachers, 3 technical support ( one for each shift), 1 D & T support, 6 student presenters and 12 NCC boys as mobile exhibits. I guess we were one of the , if not, the largest group in the whole exhibition. However other than a coupl of disinterested teachers who were idling their time before they rushed for the classroom experience in about say 10 minutes, my student presenters only managed to introduce our creative ideas to just a handful of them on the first day. In fact the primary school kids were in awe when our NCC boys were performaing their rifles displays in their camouflage kit. We came back feeling than it was amore of a marketing stunt rather than a showcase of our ideas. In fact kudos to our hosting primary school, for ingeniously putting plenty of fringe events such as story telling session, dances to entice the audience. However it doesnt really seem very I & E but more like a school's attempt at attracting students in view of the Primary one registration. I guess that is the "Excel" part in the "Excel Fest"

2) Bad Venue

Many teachers I spoke to, agree that to have such a place for an exhibition is quite a turn off. The hall was stuffy ebven for the 100 odd presenters and students in the hall and I can't imagine if there were indeed 600 people in the hall at one time viewing the exhibtion. It woudl have been a burning furnace in there. Although the coolers did help a little, but I believe many would love to showcase our innovative ideas with a smile, and not grouchy looks, with beads os perspirations streaming down our cheeks, ruining makeup and stuff. One of my NCC boys was perspiring so badly that his whole uniform is drenched and his camouflage makeup was dripping and he look like a cross between the grinch and paris hilton in the "House of Wax" It was so extremely uncomfortable there and one of my colleagues had a little argument when he place a chair in front of the cooler. he was told to move the chair away as it would obstruct traffic. But the point is ( see point 1) where was the traffic.

3)No Publicity

i guess the exhibitors were disappointed with the relative poor turnout of the public. In fact some question why the MOE did not make any effort to advertise the events since it is like the whole singapore school and the entire teaching population was involved. Many of my friends, even in the journalism and media did not even know about the event. And all of us know, without any publicity there will be no crowd. Many teacher presenters who were there commented that if this is going to be the case, then they would put in lesser effort next year. I totally emphatise with them. My team had put in alot of effort but there were others who put in much more than ours. It was such a pity and a waste ofresources showing it to maybe less than 100 people. I seriously think that it would be difficult to get the trust of the pariticpating schools again if we did our part but yet there was no publicity to tell the whole of singapore about this.

To entertain ourselves to kill boredom, my school student presenters and NCC boys started playing with the primary school children. The teachers were also bored. Some went for extended tea, other took time to chit chat and for the us, we were so bored that the four of us pulled out a table and 4 chairs and started playing....... scrabble. In fact we managed to attract quite a crowd there. Enough said...

A couple of teachers commented that we should have this event in Suntec City, where it was last year. firstly it has the "glam" factor and of course much conducive environment which will invite publicity. Second, it will attract crowds especially the public over the weekend who are in town. It can also be a whole family outing affair. As for building out bonds and interaction between the different zones, separate exhibition halls can be arranged at Suntec City ( they do have different halls not just one) for each zone. Anyway it is just 2 cents worth and let see if the bigwigs would learn from this.

Sigh back to the drawing board...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The one with the Gate Keeper

It is weird that going back to school in my red underwear and spandex failed to inspire me to perform superhuman feats. I was again caught in the mundane of stuff with the nitty gritty preparation of Excel Fest firmly at the top of my mind.

But then again today I was indeed vested with power, the power to be in charge of the locking up of the school. As a KAH, I am given the sacred responsibility of locking up the school after everyone ( and I mean everyone) has left. Being a dignified gate keeper also mean that I have the power to chase people out ( even the Principal :P) if they stayed beyond the locking time.

I have been preoccupied with work and the preparation of Excel Fest. Will be a relieved man come 8 July

Wish me luck.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The One down memory lane with Superman

So England is out of the World Cup and the bettors' favourite, Brazil was also booted out by the group of grand old fogeys. I guess many will say that these are old news, but sometimes old news is good news, especially for people like me, who literally depend on old news and history to keep my job going :P

Anyway missus and myself decided to spend the afternoon having a little quality time on our own, and what good thing to do then to indulge in our usual favourite pastime - spending the time in a dark room and in an air conditioned environment.... in a cinema hall ( what were you thinking anyway *wink wink). And what better movie to watch than of course a show that draws its inspiration during our time. And of course, if you know which movie I am talking about. Yes that is "Superman returns"!

Let me tell you, when the credits appears, and the familiar superman theme plays throgh the booming speakers, I sworn that I could feel goosebumps. It was such a familiar sight, with the costume clad hero ( with the matching or unmatching red spandex underwear) and of course his love interest Lois Lane. It was literally going down memory lane as i remember the Superman franchise with the late Christopher Reeve as the faster-than-a-speeding-bullet, building-leaping, x-rayed vision misfit hero. Seeing Superman performing all those stunts again albeit in better CGI effects made me fall in love with this hero again. Forget the crap about how those editors panned this movie, and how they mentioned that nowadays people love superheros with a flawed past, I said, give me Superman anytime, for, as I shamelessly quoted from the movie, the world need Superman :P

I realise that I am over-zealous, almost religious about this movie, but it was just something I learnt from the show. For in teachers, I feel that all of us are like Superman, ready to help everyone in need in the speed of light. One of the scene that got me into this reflective mood was when Lois Lane asked Superman why he left, Superman brought Lois Lane to the earth atmosphere and asked her did she hear anything. Lois replied "no" and Superman answered, " I hear everything, the people need me." Call him narcissistic, call him egoistic. But he was there to save the day for he believe as what his father said, all people are good in nature.

With this, I return to school tomorrow with a renewed zest. But first let me iron my superman outfit and my red spandex underwear.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Excel ExCEL

I am buried to my nose, even to the strands of my nose hair with work. The holidays is barely a week ago, and I feel like I need one again. thank god for the holiday of youth that let me revitalise and recuperate again.

Given my first sacred task to head the school project in the ExCel fest, I am so overwhelmed with the amount of decision I have to made for this 2 day show. incase you are wondering what this excel fest is all about, It is actually to showcase innovative and student initiated activities; besides this the festival will also showcase interesting teaching strategies which made learning interesting. This year for totl defence day I came up with the idea of letting students design their own lessons to encourage them to have better learning and ownership of total defence day and thus they made videos based on that theme. This idea was perceived as innovative and will be showcased in a booth at the school hall in Ahmad Ibrahim Pri. This year, instead of having it in Suntec city like the few years before, they decided to spread to the different zones and bring these ideas to the teachers. Well they do understand that teachers are so busy and they have no time for all this innovative learning etc..

Anyway back to my stress and predicament. Since I was away the good part of the holidays, the team only managed to meet up last week to finalise ideas. that is when the frantic writing of the write up. brochure designs and the booth design come in. It is such a mad rush and on top of that the Sec 4N exams are coming soon and now we are in the midst of preparing them for revision for the N levels. It can be oh so stressful...

Nevertheless wish me luck, and if you have time, dorop by Ahmad Ibrahim Primary on the 7th (for fellow teachers) or 8th (teachers or parents or any inquistive person) and say hi. :)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The One with the last night before school reopens

Procrastination is a difficult word to spell but yet such a easy thing to do. But I am gald that I finally got my avalanche of photos from my Perth fieldtrip into bubbleshare. A freaking 800 plus pictures, no wonder it took me almost a whole day to get it up. I am jsust going to shamelessly insert the itinerary of the trip which I have gottten from the tour agent to my blog. I guess you smart people will be able to make sense of all the pictures while keeping in mind the itinerary. Here it goes..

10 June
Singapore / Perth
Assemble at Changi Airport (Terminal 2)
SQ 225 Flight leaving for Perth.

11 June
Welcome to Australia / Lucieville Farm
Flight arrives at Perth International Airport, met by our local driver cum guide and proceed to a rest area to freshen up and have breakfast.
We will visit Kings Park where you will get stunning views of Perth City. A short drive orientation drive around the city, taking you to Northbridge, Hay Street.
We will then begin our drive down south.
Lunch enroute.
Arrive at Bunbury to visit the Dolphin Discovery Centre
We shall then proceed to Lucieville Farm.
Afternoon, take part in the activities on the farm.
Tonight, we shall do the animal spotting. Lots of opportunities to see the Australian norturnal animals.
Dinner on farm.

12 June

Lucieville Farm – Margaret River – Pemberton
Breakfast on farm.
After breakfast, bid farewell to our farmhosts and we shall proceed to Margaret River to explore the local attractions as well as Geographical features.
Get a glimpse of the River tributary systems.
Learn how the climate and soil in this area is suitable for grape growing and how it has helped make Margaret River a world famous wine region.
Visit to Jewel Cave. The cave is noted for its Beautiful formations including the longest straw Stalactite found in any tourist cave.
Also, visit to Cape Leeuwin, where there is a lighthouse to guide the ships away from this rocky coast.
From Margeret River, we will proceed to Pemberton.
Visit the Tall Tree Lookout.
Overnight Gloucester Motel

13 June
Pemberton – Albany
After breakfast, we depart Pemberton and proceed to
Albany. En route, we will visit the Valley of the
Giants-Tree top walk where you can explore
Western Australia’s world famous forest of gigantic
Tingle trees and take a bird’s eye view of the towering
Forest from Tree Top Walk.
At Albany, we shall visit the Albany Wind Farm.
Overnight at Metro Inn Albany

14 June
Albany - Perth
Breakfast in the hotel
School Visit. Cultural exchange with Albany High School.
Students interaction and classroom experience.

At Albany, we will view the coastal features. Visit The Gap – a 24m drop to the sea and the Natural Bridge a monumental span of granite, demonstrating the awesome power of the sea when a heavy swell is running. See also the Blow Holes which is a series of fissures in the granite rocks on the coast, which make loud hissing noises and act like geysers when water is forced by large waves through the rocks

Lunch followed by coach journey back to Perth
Overnight at Aarons Hotel

15 June
Perth – The Pinnacles / Kalbbari National Park
Breakfast in the hotel.
After breakfast, proceed to Nambung National Park
is 19 km south east of the township and it’s here you’ll find the amazing Pinnacles, thousands of limestone stalagmite-like formations that measure up to four metres high and resembles the ruins of an ancient city.
Join the 4WD tour and sand tobogganing.
Lunch is a picnic style.
After dinner, transfer back to Aarons Hotels & Resorts

16 June
Perth – Wave Rock (B, L, D.)
Breakfast in the hotel.
You will spent a day visiting Wave Rock. The Wave on Hyden Rock is one of Australia’s most famous landforms, situated 4 km east of the town of Hyden. Rising 15m above the ground and more than 100m long. Wave Rock looks a giant surf wave of multicoloured granite about to crash onto the bush below. En route, we will also pass through township of York. Here you can get a glimpse of the townships dependence on its location in the 1900s when it was serving as the crossroads for the farming communities traveling to Perth and the Ports at Fremantle.
(Lunch and Dinner will be at local restaurant.)
After dinner, transfer back to Aarons Hotels & Resorts.

17 June
Perth – Singapore
After breakfast, check out of hotel.
We will proceed to Fremantle to look at this Historic Port City as well as visit to the famed Fremantle markets.
A quick lunch, then its transfer to the airport for our flight back.

The trip was a great eyeopener to see Australia and most importantly bonding with my colleagues and getting in groove with the way the school do things. Anyway here is the link

The lazy sunday was spend by having some bonding time with Vernice and my wife. Went out for lunch at Paddyfields. And just wanted to share that this is a great thai restaurant with great food and great ambience. Situated at copperdome just at Anchorpoint, directly opposite Ikea, the place is a quiet place to catch up with my two friends who wanted to see Vernice. However the zen-like tranquility whole place was marred by Vernice incessant crying because of her need for moo-moo and her unhappiness of being interrupted from her beauty sleep. Thanks to my dearie wife who spend the whole entire lunch carrying her, we were able to keep her crying in alas short spasms/spurts?? do go and try the food there. But be forewarned it is a little on the pricey side....

Let me just spend the last few hours walloping in self pity.. :P

The Ego One