PINK

•September 5, 2008 • 10 Comments

HALLO to everyone who’s been checking in but find me not updating my blog.

I’ve been kind of busy in school and of course with my new found status as a married man.

Life’s good and I’m generally much happy than before. You might have notice that I’ve changed the picture on top. My darling is truly like the pink sun that has illuminated my dark existence. There’s so much more that I look forward for with each morning.

It’s amazing how God brings people into your life and how much impact they can have. If anyone ask me a few months back whether will I find the love of my life and be happily married, I would have said no.

Life has turned a hundred and eighty degrees for me and I’m happier for it.

I shall blog about school some other time because there’s a fair bit. What was significant about this week was that I lost my wallet. It was at Suntec and to be honest, I felt angry with myself. It’s been a long while since I’ve lost something.

And losing a wallet is not just about losing the money you have in there. It’s about the hassle of having to replace all your other cards, including your identity card. You have to call your banks to cancel your ATM cards and credit cards. And the replacement for IC is not cheap. It cost $100 to replace it for the 1st time and $300 for every subsequent replacement.

$300!!!! And then you have to rearrange for your bills to be linked to your new credit card and a new set of 16 digits to remember. Like I said, it’s a hassle.

On the same night when I realized I’ve lost my wallet, I received a call from DBS telling me that my wallet has been found and I have to give a ring to Toa Payoh Neighbourhood Police Post. Surprise of all surprises, my wallet was returned INTACT with every single dollar and dime to the police by a kind hearted angel. I’m not kidding. Every single dollar!

Of course I’ve called the banks earlier and cancelled my cards and all. But at least I didn’t have to replace my IC. I went to retrieve it the next day and when I walked out of Toa Payoh NPP, I had this feeling of wanting to do the same for other people.

Not that I was looking around for a dropped or lost wallet but I mean doing a kind deed and not asking for anything in return. And I believe that’s what generous deeds do to you. When you are on the receiving end of a totally generous act, it makes you wanna repay that kindness. And it doesn’t have to be paid back to the person. It makes you want to be generous to all around you.

And I am thankful for the support and love that was showered on me by my dear wife. I mean when I was terribly frustrated with myself for losing the wallet, she was my comfort.

Life’s beautiful because I have a beautiful partner for life. <grin>

News …

•April 19, 2008 • 22 Comments

I’m in the news thanks to Kaypoh Teddy.

Who’s he? What news?

Check it out … http://married180408.wordpress.com/

I’m happy … beyond measure. ūüôā

JYSC …

•March 14, 2008 • 3 Comments

JYSC

Alright people who left comments on my previous entry, I shall comment on that at a later post when I have the time. But for now, SOTA students, please take your fight elsewhere. Hahaha! Like what Lip said, I know where each class stands in my heart.

I met up with the Junyuan EXCO’07 yesterday at Terminal 3. Gosh I really miss them so much. Really enjoyed all the laughter and jokes we shared. Brings back so much memories of all the¬†battles we fought together and getting things up in school.

I am truly amazed at Hafiz’s batch. Even when I was back for the Sec 1 Camp 2 weeks back, I saw how they remembered everything I taught them and organized the camp with such finesse.

I’m quite thankful that I actually left Junyuan. Because in my absence, I truly saw how much the EXCO and Council has learnt. When they complained about certain things and asked why aren’t things done in a certain way, I can observe that they are being very critical and analyzing the whole situation.

I can see the standards they try to achieve in their work and organization. I can see them understanding the need to be meticulous in their planning and making sure that every corner is turned and every contingency is covered.

Even when they were lamenting about the current situation in the council, I could see the reasoning behind their thoughts and how they appreciate what we used to do. That could only spell well for their future as leaders.

I seriously had no idea how well they learnt from all the interactions and planning sessions we had. If I’ve been still at Junyuan, I wouldn’t be able to know too. Now, I know beyond a shadow of doubt that they know what to do, how to do¬†it and why it should be done in a certain way. I’m just so proud of them.

Looking back, I don’t recall having too many training sessions with them. But I do remember alot of interactions and planning discussions. I believe many things in life are not taught(explicitly) but are caught. During those intense meetings ladden with lame jokes and bellyaching laughter, I believe they caught what I was always trying to inculcate in them.

Those were precious moments that you never get to appreciate because you were so tired and stressed out with everything. Now, you treasure them like the pages of an ancient text passed down from generations eons ago.

I do love them heaps. Seeing them grow from tiny innocent enthusiatic Sec 1s into the wonderful leaders that they are now is a kind of joy that you will never find elsewhere. Ok maybe except in the arms of your lover. Hahaha.

On another note, the break is coming to an end. At least I get to get some rest but I think the new term will be a blast! Looking forward to the camps coming up end of May. Sigh it would be great if I can work together with the EXCO on another camp. Whooosh!

Blessings …

•March 2, 2008 • 19 Comments

BLESSING

It’s when you count your blessings that you appreciate how much the Creator loves you.

I’m blessed because I’m teaching in a fantastic school full of fabulous staff and students. SOTA has been an AWESOME journey so far.

I’m blessed because I’m the Class Mentor of the best class in SOTA. Alright I’m biased but R6 is really super. I believe they have the right mix of character and personality. They are also a very united bunch of kids. Love them to shreds.

I’m blessed because I’ve got such wonderful bosses. I mean it’s a dream come true for anyone to work under visionaries who are humble and have a heart of gold. All my bosses, starting from the P, the 2 VPs and my HOD, all of them are such forgiving people.

I’m blessed because all my PE classes are¬†incredible¬†too. I truly enjoy every class I take for PE whether it’s G1, G2, G3, R1, R5 or R6. Sure some are more enjoyable than others but I enjoy the different dynamics and the different strengths from different classes.

I’m blessed because each day I work with extraordinary colleagues who are just out of this world in their attitude and love for the kids. It’s really a dream team in SOTA. We spur each other to become better educators and motivators.

I’m blessed because each day I¬†teach the most outstanding students. They are not perfect and each day, the teachers attempt to guide them in the right way. Yet what’s heartening is the fact that they really want to change. And they are appreciative people too. One girl wrote me such an encouraging note that really made my day(probably week!).

I’m blessed because of the angel God has given to me. Finally I can truly learn to love myself and let the healing process begin. She’s the best thing that’s happened in my life.

Saint …

•February 16, 2008 • 8 Comments

SAINT

Saint Valentine is the one who’s been¬†credited with the beginning of Valentine’s Day. For me, I just think it’s modern advertising, commercialism and profiteering that have churned the¬†innocent sheets¬†of love into a gigantic romantic pulp.

I mean how else can you explain people spending $100 for 6 stalks of roses, howbeit wrapped beautifully with other flowers and greens, another $100 for a box of heart shaped chocolates, not forgetting some $50 balloons or cute gifts and another $100 for a Valentine’s Day special set meal?

The most appalling thing about this money making ‘day’ is how much the gifts usually cost during non-Valentine’s days. A keen observer will note that this happens all the time. During the recent Chinese New Year period, cookies, a visit to the hair salon, among many other things, cost a bomb too.

Logically, it doesn’t make sense to spend that kind of money on that day. I mean shouldn’t everyday be Valentine’s Day? Shouldn’t you tell your special someone or your loved ones that you love them from time to time? Shouldn’t you give flowers on non-Valentine’s Day?

However, spending that much on that person also tells her/him that he/she means alot to you. Put it this way; you can always earn back the money but maybe you cannot afford to lose that significant half. It’s all a different approach. It’s easy to say you love someone but the crunch really comes when you have to spend the money or the time to show that love.

School has been hectic physically for me. Having 2 hours of PE lesson is no joke. So is doing all the exercises with them. Hahaha! I’ve always wondered when will I stop all these but despite the pain and the aches, I will still do it with my kids.

Things are also hotting up in school. I guess the character building is running into gear. Different ones have been reprimanded and reminded about their behaviour and their choice of words. I believe this is good. It bodes well for the future and SOTA is not just about producing talented artists but also about turning those artists into responsible leaders in society.

On a totally not so random note, I spent Valentine’s Day with someone special. And yes, I bought flowers and paid for dinner.

Cats …

•February 6, 2008 • 2 Comments

CATS

I know a more appropriate title would be rats since it’s the Chinese year of the rat. But hey, I’m only changing one letter from ‘R’ to ‘C’. Besides, it has to do with an observation I made the other day.

I was waiting for my bus at the bus stop near the Old Airport Road hawker center. There was this fine feline(READ: cat) scratching and grooming herself at the bus stop. Anyway, a healthy cat is supposed to be pretty well groomed. They lick their furs, their paws and basically take care of their personal hygiene.

Here and there, she would be trying to scratch herself at the railing beside the drain or the pillars at the bus stop. There was this other old lady, probably in her 60s, waiting for a bus too. She would sometimes give a disapproving sound and the cat would stop. Strange thing was she would allow the cat to rub against her plastic bags which she had placed in front of her.

Finally her bus came. She picked up her plastic bags and told the cat to go home. Now I know what you are thinking. The cat is her pet and has offered to wait with her at the bus stop. I know cats and they are pretty aloft creatures. They are definitely not dogs. And the cat didn’t respond immediately. She sat there licking her paws again.

My queries were answered when after the lady had broaded the bus and the bus had left the bus bay, I turned around and the cat was gone. It was really nowhere to be found. I didn’t even see it’s hind as it makes her exit.

I’m throughly impressed that the cat has the emotional quotient to wait at the bus stop with the owner and when told to go back, she would actually obey her commands. And the cat waited for her owner to board the bus before leaving!

It reinforces the fact that everyone and anyone can be taught and conditioned. If you can even teach a cat to do that, and for pet owners, you should be able to identify habits in your pets, how much more for creatures of habits like us?

On a separate note, the CNY celebration was good today. I missed out on the earlier part of the ceremony. Was in the hall trying to get the sound right and all the actors ready for the performance. The actors did very well, kudos to them. Short of perfection but nevertheless entertaining.

Mrs Chew wanted the school to end with a loud bang so we did the Everybody dance now cheer with a little CNY spunk at the end. Hahaha.

Singapore is really small. It’s exactly 12midnight now which means CNY is officially here. And I can hear all the fireworks even though I’m residing so near to the northern coast. I believe if Singapore doesn’t have so much high rise buildings, the whole nation would be able to catch fireworks from anywhere on the island. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Three …

•February 3, 2008 • 9 Comments

THREE

 That was the number of injuries I had in one PE lesson this week. It was really a bad day for me. I mean I did what I could to prevent those injuries, telling them about keeping their body upright so they do not dive into the ground. Yet, you will always have that lousy feeling when such things happen in your class.

For all my years in Junyuan, I seldom have any major injuries. And to have that many in one single lesson was simply too much for me to bear. Strangest thing of all, it only happened in that class. The rest of the lessons went smooth as hitch.

I was throughly impressed with R1 this week. They were not only enthusiatic but they took to my instructions very well. If every class were like them, I would be grinning from ear to ear at the end of every lesson.

Then again, if every class was the same, I might die of boredom. I guess the basics must be there. 100% participation, excellent team work and a strong sense of focus when the situation calls for it.

Just traded in my phone for¬†a 3G phone. It’s a Hearty Red Sony Ericsson W910i. It’s really cool except the key pad is alittle too spaced out. Having some problem adjusting to the pad. The resolution of the camera is better too so hopefully I can snap some pics and post them here.

Chinese New Year is coming and seriously, every year it gets worse for me. I just don’t feel the festive mood. Is it age or the fact that society is changing? Anyway, I probably wouldn’t be going home visitation this year. Might be away and my parents are very ok with it.

My whole body is aching from the excessive running in school. I’ve lost close to 4 kgs since school started and my knees are feeling the strain. The pain is getting worse at times. One thing remains the same though. I love SOTA. <Big Fat Boyish Grin>

Cabs …

•January 27, 2008 • 2 Comments

CABS

The recent hike in cab fare is really giving me 2nd thoughts about taking a cab each time. Especially during the peak hours and when you are in town. Then again, when there’s a necessity, you just have to take it.

Taking cabs is about you wanting to use money to save time and let yourself rest from too much travelling or walking. I’ve always believe that you can always earn more money but you cannot earn time. Then again, the counter argument would be you have to use time to earn more money.

However, some ways of earning money is easier or less time consuming than others. And so the battle rages on, the debate continues and what is the answer? You decide for yourself.

Point is if you look deep enough, anything can be argued against or for and the argument can become cyclic. Education gives you that ability not to be narrow minded and to learn to consider all perspective and angle.

There are also more varieties on the roads now. It used to be the boring blue or yellow Toyotas that dominated the roads. Now, there are so many different models and brands. Technically speaking, one would expect the newer models to be faster and you have to admit, the ride is definitely smoother due to the better suspension.

But I’ve noticed what makes for a fast ride is the driver and not the car. When you are rushing for time, you would really appreciate those cab drivers who weave their way in and out of lanes just to earn you that extra minutes. They are the real kings of the road. However, I’ve taken the newer vehicles and sat in frustration as the driver seemingly takes his time and conspires¬†with the traffic lights to waste my time and burn a hole in my pocket.

What am I driving at? Before you blame any piece of equipment, remember it’s the operator of that equipment who can turn a mediocre piece of metal into a deadly weapon. In the army, they always say it’s not the rifle but the man behind the rifle that matters.

On a separate disjointed note, I think I seriously need help. I just cannot continue to live like this anymore.

Aches …

•January 26, 2008 • Leave a Comment

ACHES

My whole body is aching like crazy, especially my knees, my hamstrings and quads. It’s no joke to run a total of 8km because I had 4 hours of PE lessons. It’s really not a joke to have that many lessons in a day or for that matter, a week.

And I’ve lost 2 kgs since school started. Perhaps it’s partly because of the lack of ‘proper’ food. I shall not elaborate on the details but let’s just say the canteen in SOTA leaves much to be desired. But the uncle makes one of the best coffee I’ve ever drank. And it’s only $0.50. Compare that to a Starbucks!

Ok it’s definitely different from a cuppa Starbucks. The flavour is different since they use different beans. But at least the uncle’s coffee is aromatic and full bodied. That makes for good coffee.

I’m really very tired and almost exhausted to the point of collapsing. This has not been easy and maybe age is truly catching up with me. Yet I’m enjoying every SOTA moment as they come. Each day I fall in love with my kids more and more. I loved all the PE lessons right now. Even G2, which started with the week with a bad lesson did so well on Thursday that despite the extreme exhaustion, I felt happy.

The Sports Interest Groups will start soon. There is no CCA in SOTA. I mean their specialized art forms are, in every sense of the hours committed and effort, their CCAs. However, it’s important that the students do not just focus on their art forms but also develop¬†fully as an individual. Therefore, the school has organized some¬†sports interest groups to help¬†them achieve some balance.

On another note,¬†the teachers are concerned about the students eating too much snacks and drinking too much soft drinks. There’s no checks at the moment. There have been discussions about the need to curb¬†the excessive munching. Maybe even take away the snacks and drinks totally.

I personally feel it’s better to educate the kids on why they shouldn’t be eating too much of these. It’s really no good to their development and¬†health.¬†

Next week will be their Napfa trial test. Guess I’ll know how fit my students are.

And for those who have not watched Cloverfield, I suggest you go on an empty stomach. Hahaha. The unstable moving shots on the big screen has an undesirable effect on your tummy and I believe they use subsonic bass to induce the emotion of fear and discomfort. You can literally feel the seats and your legs shaking.

BLU …

•January 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment

BLUThat’s the acronym for Borderless Learning and it has been such a thrilling ride. At times I wonder who’s doing the real learning because in every station I’ve participated in, I’ve learnt something.

Every BLU lesson is based heavily on activities. Each session is about one and half hour and you find the students engaging themselves in some form of activities for at least half an hour or even an hour.

That means there’s very little ‘teacher talk’. It’s all about the students discussing, experimenting, experiencing the lesson for themselves. I was looking at all the lessons and wondering why didn’t my teachers used to do this with us?

Just to give an example, there was a station to highlight the scientific method used in collecting data to substantiate a hypothesis. The station was called Scientific Mentos. And what the students did was to actually conduct a super duper fun experiment using mentos on soft drinks.

For the unintiated, you can click here to go have a look.So the students were supposed to find out whether different types of soft drinks, like normal sugar and diet soft drinks, have an effect on the height of the fountain created.

Just imagine 15-20 groups of students doing this along the drain. Of course it wasn’t just all fun. They really measured how high the fountain was and it was not easy to conduct the experiment. Every step was important to the success of the experiment.

But you can sense the excitement in the kids and their enthusiasm. That was the trademark of BLU.

I’ll have to admit I’m really proud of the students. I’m not exaggerating when I say they come up with very intelligent answers despite their age. I was at the back thinking to myself, “Would I have given that answer when I was 13?”

And I was extremely impressed and glad that some of my R6 were discussing the US Election with such enthusiasm and insight. It shows how much they read and how interested they are in the affairs of this world. That is important and one of the mark of an educated person.

All in all, SOTA’s been cool and great so far. I hear my colleagues saying they couldn’t wait to wake up and come to the school again the next day. And I hear the students saying that too. Hahaha. What a blast!