Monday, December 31, 2007

The One about the New Year

in 2 hours time, we ill say goodbye to 2007 and say hello to 2008! How time flies... this is also the time that all students and teachers alike dread, the morning rush, the last minute rushing of the holiday homework which was supposedly to be done like a month plus ago. In fact I am surprised that I am not really suffering from the "back-to-school" syndrome... maybe it is just because I was not really on a break this 2 months. While my colleagues who came back from holidays struggle to get back the momentum of work.. I am but preparing for my first day of school.. sadistically excited about going through another year again.

A colleague in school decided to say good bye to the teaching profession today. I dont blame her for the short notice... Things had in fact not been going well for her. She was perceived by the management of not performing up to expectations and the management felt the need to help her. But of course through the process of constant and vigilant monitoring, more and more inadeuacies were "discovered" and bigger and bigger issues were magnified. In fact when one come under the microscope of the management, it is almost impossible that any speck of error can be swept literally under the carpet. I agreed wholly that there is a need for teachers to be almost saintly and error-free but there is always a point of time that we err as we are but children of god. But as it always say, "with greta pay come great responsibilities". While the government tried to increase pay to commensurate the amount of work that we are doing ( which i think is more for the keeping of talented teachers who were disillusioned with the profession.. seriously what make them think that by increasing our pay will help... we are already doing far beyond what we are paid to do... I believe more teachers would prefer to have either 1) lesser work to justify the present salaries we are getting... or 2) higher salaries to commemnsurate the work that we are doing now) but sad to say , with more pay, they expected all of us to do more work... and with more work that is when we all get

As I sit down in front of my laptop, I decided that it would be a good time to pen down my thoughts for 2007 before the year come to a close. Let's hope the new year will be a good one...

Monday, December 17, 2007

My new (erm old) hobby

Since Vernice came on board and literally became the third party in our family and bed, the bed had been pretty much a place to sleep ( wink wink... it must be the late night and the excess caffeine)
Since my little princess came to our family, mrs ng had been trying very hard to be a good mother, to the extent that she forgot her other duties like careerwoman, daughter, daughter in law and of course a wife.  But forgive my chauvinistic comments and let me get to the crux of today topic.
I have always been a music fanatic, and although i am not musically inclined, I am proud to say that i have always pride myself with my taste for music and of course my constant exposure to different genre of music - classical, opera, techno, acid jazz, pop, rock etc.  And as i started to explore more music stuff, i see the need to have a proper system to play my music that i like. and behold.... i invested on a new sound system, and put it in my spare room as my little sanctuary.  It is a place where I spend my relaxation time away from the stress of work and nothing beat playing a cd and hear sheer musical poetry coming from the speakers.  It is a divine feeling and i have never regretted this path of no return.  Although i must say that it has been an expensive hobby which I never thought I would put in so much time, money and effort in it.  But then again, the satisfaction of seeing all the musical components, from the cd player/ turntable, to the pre amplifier, to the power amplifier and finally to the speakers, connected by the choice of speakers cables, interconnects and of course the power cables and hearing the music is a great feeling.  I have only been fiddling with hifi for about a year and it has been a great learning curve for me.  And i agree that this had given me new zest ( sadly not in my work).
Enough said... a tour of my humble system :)

I managed to convert the small unused room to accommodate my system.  Luckily for me, mrs ng had been supportive.  She rather have me in the room than gallivanting outside :P

This is a super audio cd player which weight almost 12 kg!  It is a japanese made marantz player and i really got this for a bargain from a fellow hifi enthusiast who wanted to upgrade to a better system.

This turntable is a vintage one and i had a hard time looking for it.  This is almost 20 years old but it still spin like a brand new one.  Like old records, vintage turntables and music are still the older the better.
The equipment above are ( from top left, clockwise) the pre amplifier, the phono amplifier and the power amplifier.  For the uninitiated, the phono amplifier is the one that convert the signals from the turntable, the pre amplifier is the one to convert the signal from the cd player which is transmitted to the power amplifier and then to the speakers.  That how the sound is produced.

With the maid coming into the picture, I had to give up my room for her quarters.  Better enjoy the room while it last.

The One about another new "addition to the family"

For the next few days, my wife and myself will be embarking on a search journey- to find a FDW for the family.

For the uninitiated the FDW stands for Foreign Domestic Worker or commonly known as the maid. I am afraid that with my number 2 coming into the picture, both of us, with our hectic lifestyles and working schedule can no longer just depend on my mum to look after Vernice, "Varick"* ( yah, I know this is just at the moment thingy) and of course our very own Trafford.

However this search, initially on the internet, had exposed us to much horror stories of 1) horrible maids, 2) horrible employers, and 3 ) horrible maid agencies. It had instead brought out more stressed in a less stressful holiday period, the exact opposite that the FDW should be doing. Staring through the computer screen, as i was sieving through the tons of information, accolades, abuses and the biodata of the maids and the agencies, i was overwhelmed by the stacks and stacks of details which required me to sit back and reevealuate the whole entire situation. There are the procedures (official and unofficial) of what to look out for in a maid agency, there ar the things to do, the criteria to look out for, things to ask etc etc.The list is really long and exhasting (not exhaustive)

I do understand that relationship between people are fated in some ways or another, and thus it all depended on how it work out when we meet, but these stuff had undoubtably make me do a second take on the maid issue. Well as the famus saying goes, come what may... hopefully I have not done too much bad things to suffer from bad maid karma. :P

Friday, December 14, 2007

School and Crazy Telemarketers

i got my macbook back today :)  It felt so handicapped without the flexibility of online world.

i went back to school today for my CCA - basketball.  I must say that I am slowly getting closer to my girls.  Maybe it is because for the past few sessions, they have been seeing me :P  I guess it gave a whole new meaning to "frequency breeds familiarity".  Spend the whole morning tidying my already very tidy table.  I just hope I have the perseverance to keep it up when the mad rush starts in a few weeks time.

anyway with the festive season coming and the fattening of the pockets with the end of the year bonus, it is no wonder the telemarketers are working overtime with the well rehearsed sales speeches to get one to subscribe to a new credit card and/or credit line.  For the past 3 weeks or so, I have received like a zillion calls from people who had this great promotion of a new card, which is like the 2345,3748 th card that I got from that particular bank.  If it is not irritaing enough, apparently they do not keep track of the people they had called and kenna scolded and in a few weeks time, they are again back in their ever chirpy tone asking you to subscribe to a new card which you had said no to a few week ago.  As part of the retribution of rejecting one bank, the other banks "conspired" to call you one after another. And I had to waste valuable time just saying "no" to them.

If not for the telemarketer, it would be this stupid chinese woman scam who tell you that you have won 1st/2nd/3rd (delete whichever not applicable) prize and you are to collect it.  I had some fun of my own a couple of days back when i was getting some books from kinokuniya when this particular chinese lady called.  Seeing an "unknown number" on my hp, i pick it up.  Below is an extract of the conversation. (For the anglophiles, I have translated the whole conversation into english)

Me:  Harlow ( in my most bored tone)
Lady: (in a chipmunky excited voice) hello, is that mr ng wei kwang?
Me:  Yes speaking
Lady:  Mr Ng, I am calling regarding the survey you did the last time.
Me: Huh?
Lady:  Mr Ng, you have won 3rd prize! they are calling out your number here at the genting convention centre.  Where are you?
Me: I am here! I am here!  I am walking to the podium now.
Lady : (silence)
Me: Yes Yes YEs I have won!  I am walking over now, did you see me, I am waving to you, yes, me in the blue polo shirt I am coming over now, wait wait wait
Dead tone on the other side.

Anyway after that silly bout of fun, I found out that there were other mean ways to deal with them.  Actually i was inspired by this youtube video.  It is really great.. Enjoy it!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Randoms thoughts

3 months plus is a long time for not blogging...
well just to add an entry before this blog really goes into cyber obscurity...

This had been a very quiet and uneventful holiday for me. While all of my colleagues are overseas to recharge their batteries to prepare for the next year of mad rush, I am stuck in Singapore preparing for my long overdue dissertation. Not that i anm really in the mood to do so... but I got to start sometime if I dont want my masters to expire...

Anyway just some random updates

1) the arrival of a new born babe
My no. 2 will be coming soon.. sooner than I thought. 28 February 2008, mark that on the calendar as I anticipate his arrival. Anirresponsible parent I am, and of course showing favouritism, I have not thought of the name for him. Actually I had a girl name for my number 2, but I was half expecting a boy. Wanted to have a sister for vernice and called her veralyn and guess I got to keep that name in hiatus. To continue with the V tradition, I am thinking of calling him "Varick" not that there are any good boy names that's start with V - Vernon being out for peculiar morbid singaporeanish reasons. I initiatlly wanted to call him "Eljiah" but received some not very favourable feedback from the non-catholic friends who claimed that it sound a bit "indianised". Guess "voldermort" would also not go well with the harry potter fans. Well back to the drawing board and wait for a bright idea to strike..

2) the move to the light side
as part of my self imposed detention in singapore during this holiday, i decided to spend the money supposedly to go overseas to get a new gadget for myself - toys if you need to know. I was contemplating on 1) x box 360, PS 3 or even a wii but i guess getting all these stuff who really make it even more difficult for me to settle down to do my research. Tempted by Steve Job ingenious convert ads, I got myself a macbook. Yes I am a converted apple junkie. the mac os is so intuitive and easy to use, at least i am not confronted with the bloody blue screen every now and then. Paid 2 grand for this sleek white baby and immediately plonked in another half a grand on accesories to make it look even cooler. Well so far for 3 week plus, it had been great until last night when the stupid keyboard goes bonkers and i had to end it for repair. guess machines are just as unpredictable after all, whether they are white or black...

3) My outlook to life
with my baby, spending more time with tem had become a bigger priority, in fact since the no.2 came about, i have been seriously evaluating my priorities on my career. I know people wanted opportunities to move up the ladder of success, but my priorities seesm to have shifted. Maybe I have gotten sick of all those politicking, bitchslapping stuff and wanted to have more time for myself and my family. Recently I have witnessed the change of people when power started to "corrupt" them. It is sad to see that young people who got overwhelmed by power and the way they behaved as a result of the power they think they possess. i remember when I left IJ, a colleague gave me a advice that never to let power corrupt me and up till now, I still hold this mantra close to my heart. Maybe seeing it from a third person view allowed me to have a better perspective of things.

I will try to blog more often now hopefully before the avalanche of work come piling in again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The One about the students nowadays

Overheard a conversation between 2 very senior teachers in the school regarding students' sense of gratitude. As you already know in a couple of day time, the students will be showing their appreciation to the teachers in a one day one off event known as teachers' day. In the spirit of the school, where they focussed so much on helping the students and teaching the students the right values ( read right values in the eyes of the managment) it was no surprise that the conversation came about.
Apparently every year around this time, all the students will be given a piece of paper for them to write down their vote for the most caring teacher. they are to write down why that particular teacher deserved the award, by stating specifically what the teacher have done. For example,hypothetically, Student A feel that Teacher X is a good teacher, A must write down why he/she feel this way such X is a very caring teacher, on 27 July, he consoled me when I did badly for my test and encourage me to work harder. For this I am eternally grateful. Interestingly for all the things and effort that the teachers had done tohelp the sec 4s and 5s, there had been a shortage of entries from the sec 4 and 5 cohort. This apparently upset the people on the top who described this as act of "lacking in gratitude" and in fact the students will be given a speaking to the next morning.
What is so interesting about this episode. in my view, there are a couple of interesting facts that surface:
1) What we have done for the students had not really impacted/impressed them. All the teachers in the school work very hard for the students, this I can testify, which is interesting. is it because their perception of what is good for them is different from what we feel that is good for them?

2) Are our students ingrates? just because they didnt take this special day to thank the teachers, jsut because they did not write any good things about the teachers, just because of the whole multitude of issues in place? I find it interesting. i do admit that teachers do like the bit of acknowledgement that we have done something to a student's life and outlook, but seriously this whole paper chase thingy can be quite ridiculous at times. Are we doing it for the sake of doing it? Why cant we let the students do what they want to do. Why do we need to interfere in their free expressions of showing thanks to a teacher? All of us in the teaching profession know that teaching is like putting money in a unit trust - in the short space of time, we will not be able to see the rewards. infact it is more important to see the reward in the long term that we have actually put in the effort for.

I know what I am saying may ruffle a few feathers, and I know people will be talking about my cynical approach but then, we are dealing with a new generation of students who ahve different approaches and view towards life. Is it relevant to place the 1980s way of running and teaching values to the new millenium. I think that is a food for thought.

I saw this article which i believe was placed by a teacher in the class notice board, and i found it really relevant.

Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this!

To anyone with kids of any age, here's some advice. Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair -- get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping -- they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

After googling this on the web, i found out that The text itself a pared-down version of an op-ed op-ed piece that appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune on September 19, 1996. It was written by Charles J. Sykes, best known as the author of "Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good about Themselves, but Can’t Read, Write, or Add." D

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The One about Ado about nothing

The boy from my class who got into trouble last week was given a reprieve and send back to class this morning. As the form teacher, i was given the special duty to escort him back to to class. The DM clarified that the issue had been resolved and he will be given his punishment in public in due course.
As i walked him up to his classroom, the boy apologised profusely for being rude to me during that day of the incident. I wondered whether it was a sign of resignation on my part, or that i have really forgiven him, i nodded silently and mumbled some words of encouragement and assurance about the class attitude and perception of him. As he rejoined the class, there were a couple of odd stares from my class which I was quick to dismiss. Seeing him settled and accounted for, I walked back to the staffroom, in deep thoughts.
I have no high hopes that the boy will be able to mend his relationship with the rest fo the class, and I am not sure if the class is willing to take in this loner who had so far rejected all their advances of a closer friendship. But it is just another 2 months more, another 60 days, another 1440 hrs and all of them will be in the midst of their exams, in a couldnt care less about other people attitude.
When will that day of reckoning come?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The One about one disappointment after another

Up to my eyeballs with things happening this week, it is hardly surprising that I am finding no time to blog.

this week had been an eventful week for me, especially with regards to my sec 5n form class. The O levels are just 3 months away, the prelims are just about less than 1 month away and this should be the period of time where generally every going-to-graduate student were to stay out of trouble and focused on the most important thing in their lives- the o levels. However apparently they felt that their form teacher, yours truly, apparently need some spices in his life, and there I was, trying to diffuse a fighting case that happened just outside the school. Swear to confidentiality, i should not reveal too much of what exactly happen, but the kid was suspended from school for 2 days, and his future hang on a threat with the crime of rioting.

I cannot tell all of you how sick and tired I am as a result of all these nonsense that had happened in the school since I haved joined. Many blogger colleagues bitched about irresponsible, incompetent, showoff colleagues who did nothing to help their kids, but merely trying to impress the management about the wonderful things that they were doing amidst the "actual" taching stuff that they should be doing. At least they had kids who do sit in class and try in any semblance to pay attention. As for me, it felt really disappointing that for what I have done, things had not gone really smooth for me especially the very thing that I should be excited and enthusiastic about - my students.

With many of my kakis colleagues leaving, I am going to really a forlorn figure in the staffroom come 2008.

So i am not enjoying my stint in management, I am disappointed with my classes, I have lost passion in teaching and I am losing my social support among my colleagues. I think I badly need a break to reevaluate my priorities.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The One about making a mark

Several conversations with my coffee drinking kakis in school surfaced this question - what am I good at?
Of course I will refrain from that self condescending phrase that i am a good for nothing but I would rather look at the deeper meaning behind this.

What am I good at? In school this is always a perennial question that we ask of ourself and sometimes unfairly imposed on some people. When we had an issue/problem ( read S*** ) which we need a fast remedy, there will always be a person that will come to mind. when we need a snazzy powerpoint lesson, when we need someone to host a certain event, when we need someone who got plenty of resources for music/food, when we need someone to plan a major event, inevitably names do pop up. It is the stereotype, but it is also the reputation that one had gained; it is the thing that one is good at.

I was told in a very un-"subtle" way that I am a "good for nothing"- of course I dont mean an imbecile, but rather someone who have not really find a niche for myself. I have yet to make a "mark" on things that the upper management wanted me to, but I seems to be making "dents" everywhere. Light ones, things that obviously showed my work but yet not big enough to creat any obvious visual impact.

I may not be able to make a dent or mark so as to speak in the areas that I am supposed to. Maybe I am just a jack of all trade but master in none. I find it sad that for all the little dents, they were looking for marked improvement. The swashbuckling confidence had diminished and I realise I can never see myself as the person who came in this school as a leader. I have degenerated into a follower who have lost my direction. I can never put myself as the guru in my subject matter ( ironically) or even in National education a portfolio which I am given. The little dents made hardly create a ripple. And sometimes big marks will require not just perservance but also the preparedness of the tsunami that come along.

What am I really good at? Maybe you people would know. Maybe you people can tell me...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The One about being treated seriously

recently it has been very very difficult to get people to treat me seriously.

I am not sure if this comment is made in a good or bad sense. It is nice to know that I have this penchant to make people laugh by giving my 2 cents worth of comments in almost every thing that is happening in school. I am those people who people would refer to as "benjamin" in Animal farm - the cynical donkey, but with a dash of humour and sarcasm which never failed to crack people up.

But then again, I wondered if this is something that people failed to treat me seriously as a KP as it is very very important that I have the credibility (with the capital "C") so that people would take my comments seriously and act on it, and not think that I was merely joking. Sometimes been too affable and too funny make it even more difficult for me to carry out my "ruthless" implementation of policies as I am just sometimes, plainly speaking, too nice at times. As a leader it is important that i show that I am the boss and most importantly I mean what I say, and my crazy nature just failed to put this across at times.

MAybe I should just try to start anew in a new place where I can really be treated seriously. Seriously.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

About Potatoes and Burdens

Listening to the broadcast on the school PA system, there was a story which caught my attention. It was about the story of a teacher, who asked his student to bring a sack of potatoes and a empty bag to school. He told the students to think of a person who they bear a grudge or had hurt them or someone they can't forgive and based on the amount the hatred and put a comparable size of a potato in the empty sack. After the students were given time to think and do the activity, many students had bags full of potatoes. The teacher asked the students tocarry the bag otatoes with them everywhere they go, even to the loo or the bathroom. It was a heavy burden, and most important it was hurting and tirign to carry it around, not the say the embarassment of carrying it around even on the bus or to class. At the end of it, as the days goes by, the bag started to smell as the potatoes turn soddy and smelly. The students were in fact glad that at the end of the week. This story had a direct relation to what we are and how we behave. Many a time, we are unable to let go and allowed our hatred to be a burden to us, which we carried from place to place. We thought that forgiveness was something good for the other parties, however, this example show that forgiveness is actually for one.

I felt so strongly about the story because recently I was consumed by anger and my words were peppered with sarcasm. My inapporpriate comments and jokes became my defence mechanism to re-direct any negativity aimed at me. I felt that someone up there ( and that I dont mean the upper management) intended me to hear this story and let me let go of that hatred that is affecting and consuming me. I am glad that it happened today but then again the incident that happens to me let me reevaluate my priorities and my future direction. At least I know what I would be doing in the short term.

Treat each difficulty like a tennis ball coming to your side of the court, just keep hitting them back. :)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I am leaving to Yunnan in about 26 hours time. Rest assured it is not migration.
It is the obligatory fieldtrip that I have to do as a middle management. This year i was throw the mantle of being the overall in charge of the fieldtrip to Lijiang china, taking care of almost 37 students and also 4 of my colleagues who have so courageously joined me either out of duty, or pity.

Months of hard work, ding-dong over the choice of teacher chaperones and almost many changes to the teachers going, I am finally embarking on my trip, rest assured that my teachers are all ready to go. I remember 2 years back I was supposed to go on a fieldtrip to Yunnan with the Ij girls but had to pull out the last minute as I was really sick then. It seems like it had gone 1 round backa nd 2 years back I am going back to China again, albeit in another school, with a new set of colleagues and a new group of student from a new school.

I realised I was really getting nostaglic as I typed the post, but do rest assured I am happily settled in my new school. I have found new friends and confidantes in my new colleagues who do shared the same passion as I. It is so weird that after gripeing about it for almost a year ago, I am now really to just move on and continue to do my best for the school and for the students.

I have a different set of students as my form class, the 5N which is the flagship for our results in the O level. management do really have a lot of confidence in me, and I must say that it was a really eye opener to try to motivate and work with students which is in my opinion, trying in ability and attitude. These few days I was in and out of the P office as my perennial underachievers were given the mandatory meet the principal session with their parents. Tears shed, angry words exchange and the unfolding of family melodrama within the small cubicle of the Principal office. It was emotionally draining sessions one after another as my co form and I stepped in and out of the P office again. deep down we hope the scolding would turn them around.

Tomorrow is my 5 year wedding anniversary, and it is hurting to leave my wifey and baby. But responsibility is responsibility. As I dust off my luggage and backpack, and started the process of packing, i prayed that the next 7 days would be smooth sailing...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Mid Term Blues

It is the time of the year again, when the frantic search for materials and sources to set the mid year examination papers. After the school long and stressful EV ( external Validation), teachers are going back to the huff and puff of setting paper, screaming at students and losing their voices.

In our school, the teachers are governed by a set of basics which is pretty much like the corporate values of companies. In my department because of the vigour of the setting and papers ( excellence being our pursuit), we always end up setting a very difficult paper. In fact we actually punned the basics for teachers (Leave no child behind) to change it to fit the Humanities Department (leave no child alive) Yes and that tell you how difficult the paper is.

Anyway for the teachers happy setting, and for the students, happy mugging...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The One about the hiatus

I have not blogged for almost a month. I guess I am just caught up with my work and of course my family. Blogging had become secondary to what I am doing now. Hopefully now I will be able to find the renewed zest to blog again.

Even though I have not been blogging, I have been keeping myself updated with the blogs of my students and my fellow teacher comrade-in-arms. Just to put down some random thoughts for the past 1 month...

1) CNY
This year my preparation of almost 60 angpows came to a waste as there were less than 10 Ij ex-students who were able to visit me during that period. Blame it on the JC common test schedule which was right after the CNY. Guess I will be keeping all the angpows for next year.

2) My frustrations with work so far
Surprisingly the new term had actually started pretty well and I am having an "enjoyable" time with my new 5N form class. Perhaps it is the maturity of the kids ( yah it take them 5 years in a neighbourhood school to be considered mature) I didnt really enjoy my sec2 form class last year. found it extrememly difficult to communicate to them. But I am glad that this year had set out on the right footing. I have come to terms with the fact that i have a new reporting officr and so far our relationship have been amiable to say the least. I am looking at this collaboration as strictly professional and will be glad to see the end of it the sooner of next year.

I guess that all I have to update for now... Let hope the momentum will be sustained..

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The One with the Wake

This was the type of gathering with ex colleagues that I would never like to attend. An ex-colleague husband passed away in a freak sailing accident. Upon receiving the sms early yesterday morning, I was still in a state of disbelief, thinking if it might be an early april fool joke. My doubts were confirmed with an sms from another ex-colleagues who certified the piece of information.

The evening was spent at St Joseph Church, Many of my ex colleagues whom I have not seen for months were there. But the expressions were solemn. As I walked to the altar to pay my respect, there cut a forlorn figure. Her expressions were hollow and she looked extemely pale. We did not exchange any words, but rather I extended out my arms and hug her, telling her that everything will be fine. In that few seconds, I can only feel her hold tightening and i could sense the sadness she had.

It was sad to see her in that state, for she was always the bubbly, fun loving colleague who dont mind being poked fun at. I guess those who were there especially the throes of ex-students, friends would be saddened to see her in this state. It was nice to see her ex students of so many batches who made the effort to come to the wake at such short notice. I believed her late husband would be comforted by the fact that she will be cared by the many still around.

Maybe it was the general mood, maybe it was the venue, but most of us were seated silently. A flurry exchange of words, and of course questions on the cause of death. Many present were just as puzzled as me, and the conversations got more confusing and left many more questions. But then seriously what is the point of pursuing this since it is all over? The dead is gone, it is most important how the living continue to live. Knowing the school, they will give support to her to get her to tide over this. I know it is difficult and painful to lose a loved one, albeit in such a sudden way. All I pray is that she will be able to be strong for her 3 children, and be strong for those who have loved and comforted her.

(PS for those who would like to attend the wake, please do so before thursday)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The One with the SICK

I am down with flu, and a sexy voice. Topping that, I have this irritating itchy throat which make this annoying cough with saliva all over the classrooms that i visited today. As a result of my casual manner of leaving watery evidence all over place, I got a file of peons who are coughing all the way. Thus I decided to see the doctor in case I incapacitated the entire teaching communtiy in my school.

Many of the teachers in the school are also in a similar state as me. The absenteeism rate for the teachers had not reached a point for cause of concern. On an average , the gungho teachers in the school are really trying their best to come to school to deliver the lessons. Never mind the coughing, never mind the flu, the sniffing of the noses and the sneezing. Most important, the students have to be taught and lessons still goes on.

Serious there are times I wondered not at why the teachers are falling sick, but why the management dont realise that there are so many sick cases because of things in the school. I came back from my reservist and was immediately struck by the low morale and negativity in the school. Yes low morale do breed low immunity which lead to sickness and illness and of course lead to MC.

Colleagues are happy to see me, for I do try to see myself as someone to lighten the mood and lift the morale. I made nonsensical remarks, send words of encouragement and concern, and most importantly sharing a joke or two. I guess I am more of a people person and enjoy the fact that i can make a difference in a person life, even that of a stressed teacher. Management are too high up in their helicopter view, middle management are too caught up in the middle to please everyone. well someone have to do the work to lift the morale. If someone have to do it, why don't I be the one?

Wish me luck! (even though I may be giving the impression to many people that I have nothing better to do...)

Friday, January 26, 2007

The One with the flu

They said laughter is infectious

so is the damn flu

damn the SAF protocol of getting the IPPT 2.4km run to be done within an hour after completing the static stations. It is certainly not cool to run in the drizzle. And it is certainly not cool to be down with the damn flu...
The one about the end of a relationship

I have this weird sense of separation depression. but then again who doesn't ? you know when you feel unrationally upset when you are throwing away the stack of history notes from university, or when you have to discard the old t-shirt which you had worn or the old swatch watch which can no longer tell greenwich time. i guess i am what people call as the old school romantic, those who just have the needy sense of trying to hold on to the past so as to make sense in the future. As I said it was plainfully obvious (to others) that my feel is not going to be reciprocated.

As a loyal M1 customer, I had always stuck by them since they started business in singapore. Being one of the first few to hop onto the already defunct CDMA network and carrying the obiang sony cdma phone, I have been a loyal customer who bunked at the idea of total corporate bigots and of course a cool supporter of the "david vs the goliath" thingy.

Recently I was tempted by the new MIO plan that was offered by Singtel. After watching the news, the various advertisements on tv and papers and much intense research on the net and numerous phonecall to friends, supporters and detractors alike. I was half tempted to "jump ship" to take up a singtel line since I am already a singnet user and I do have a residental line at home. However there was this sentimental part of me to end this relationship. I was hoping to get the telco to make an attempt to at least try to keep me by enticing me with offers such as hp upgrades etc. ( it works for the credit card annual fees) Thus in a last bid to save the relationship, I gave a phone call to M1 customer service.

M1: Hi this is XXX, welcome to M1, how may i assist you?

Me: Hi, I was wondering if I were to switch to singtel what is the procedure?

( seconds of anticipation..... the desperate need to be hold back...)

M1: oh it is actually quite simple sir, may i know if you have any contract left with M1?

Me: No actually, I was actually in two minds whether to continue with a new M1 contract or to move to a new service provider

M1: oh i see, to move to singtel is actually quite simple, all you have to do is to terminate the line with m1 and sign up with singtewl.

Me: But i am unwilling to give up my present number, can i keep this number?

M1: yes you can , there is this number port system which will trransfer all the call to your new number, it is quite hassle free. sir would you like me to terminate this line for you?

Me: let me think about it thanks

M1: Thanks for calling M1. Have a nice day..

I ended the phone call, "heartbroken" especially hearing those such "callous" remarks, such heartlessness. Aall my loyalty and my devotion all gone to waste. I have to say I am "hurt" by the comments, how superficial this relationship is..... especially after standing by them for the past 6 years or so...

Anyway I am now sporting a new K800i phone, you can still reach me on my M1 number, but you will receive a sms or call from me in another weird number, yah that is my new singtel line.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The One with the Red Tape

As a head/middle management, what is most frustrating is that the seemingly helplessness that one encountered when implementing policies and programmes. Perhaps it is the general culture of the school but there was no delegation of power. Many a time, we are merely carrying out the wishes of the establishment to carry out certain ideas and plans, as mindless pawns to shout out command to our teachers. And the irritating thing is that we are perceived by the teachers as being indecisive when we do know what are the things to be done.

The frustrating thing about being a middlemanagement - you can't have a meeting with your members until you clear it with the upper management. How is that for red tape?

Sigh... things just can't be done when my hands are tied....

Monday, January 08, 2007

The One with the overwhelming feeling

This is day 1 of week 2. And I already have this sinking feeling of this "pig"usting year. The term had started expectedly hectic and there were deadlines, workplan, action palns, schemes of work, schedules of implementation and of course te whole hurrah of meeting new students, setting the tone, setting the expectations, collecting of money, marking of attendance, collecting of holiday assignments, dealing with errant cases. I have already been leaving school at close to 7 pm. I guess more to come soon. And the list goes on and on...

After the -what-i-thought-was-a-damn-hectic-year honeymoonly first year in school, I was mildly shocked to see myself with a bountiful of responsibilities and new appointment for the year 2007. Infact I felt like being hit by an avalanche of tasks which no doubts have given me something really no time to think about. Let me just spelt out my workload and responsibilties for the purpose of proper documentation for workreview in afew time. I am teaching 4 levels- sec 1 history, 3 ss/history, 4 ss/history and 5 ss/history. with sec 1 being something entirely new to me and sec 3 with a change of syllabus, i am actually doing 5 preparations and almost for only 1 class in each level. Given that sec 5 is our school flagship, i am entrusted with the holy responsibility of getting decent results for the combined humanities. As for the sec 4, they are the best for the subject combination, and thus I am expected to produce the distinctions. Phew!

to further nurture my skills as a form teacher, I am given a sec 5 class as my form class. And of course to make me more student oriented I am also thrusted into one of the more high profile ccas. To dvelop my people managment skills, I am given 8 committees, heading 2 of them.

I guess if i dont screw up and survive this year, I should eb able to get a pretty decent grade for my ranking and also a fat bonus next year..

If i survive...... :(

The Ergo One