Wednesday, January 30, 2008

NTU CAC Chinese Orchestra

Dropped by Yinglei's Chinese Orchestra performance at NTU and was pleasantly surprised at the music on show.

Well, firstly, she had to catch her hand on the door as she went to get something. Cue some silent, frantic hand-waving.

The emcees, both in English and Mandarin, were really lame. Can even put Teckseng in the shade. Their languages were all rojak and they kept mispronouncing and stumbling over words, butchering some foreign languages for good measure. Plus they had to shamelessly plug their upcoming concert: Can't blame them there. They whispered to each other but forgot that everyone could hear them.

That aside, the performances were actually really good. Enjoyed Yinglei's guitar-like duet where they did a Tchaikovsky. Her instrument (forgot what it's called) is very similar to a guitar, only with a G-D-G-D tuning. They play mostly two-note chords while harmionising with another instrument. They also play a percussive role on the more upbeat songs. Can understand why she doesn't want to learn guitar first as this would really throw her off with the guitar's E-A-D-G-B-E tuning.

The one that took the cake was the erhu solo that mimicked chirping birds and galloping horses. The guy got it right down to the whinnying of the horse. Such virtuoso technique! Would make an interesting intro if there was a lesson on animals.

The $10 concert in March sounds like an altogether more attractive proposition now. =]

United 3-1 Spurs

Goal: Luton Shelton, Assist: A. Balloon

Luton Shelton scores a farcical goal for Sheffield United to upset Manchester City in a FA Cup fourth round upset. Michael Ball was confused by a balloon's inspired flick on and Shelton was the beneficiary. Ironically, it was City fans who released the balloons.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Skoda Fabia ad

Peugeot 206 ad

Sony Bravia ad

Australian Tourism Bored

I think I want to work for the Australian Tourism Board; they sound like my kind of people! These were posted on an Australian Tourism Website and the answers are the actual responses by the website officials, who obviously have a sense of humour.
Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia ? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (UK)
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not... oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia? (UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is... oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay night clubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (France)
A: Only at Christmas.

Q: I was in Australia in 1969 on R&R, and I want to contact the girl I dated while I was staying in Kings Cross. Can you help? (USA)
A: Yes, and you will still have to pay her by the hour.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.


Kena massacred for microteaching, but I didn't even get the worst of it. Two others got it worse, including one for speaking out of turn. At least it's over.

There really isn't much reason to come on Tue and Thu any more since we're just observing our peers. I will go see Dr Hia tomorrow afternoon before he flies to Japan. Makes sense.
19 Jan 2008, 2259hrs
Supposedly after TA, microteaching is peanuts. Well apparently I'm a monkey with digestive problems, because the same problem of mental block and creative haemorrahage seemed to happen when I was doing my lesson plan. The ideas just don't seem to flow. Can't explain it. Well, at least the lesson plan is done and ready for Thursday.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Do NOT swim on a Saturday evening. The pool is full of kids (who stand on the lane ropes) and teenagers (who apologise simperingly when asked to stop loitering at the lap pool), the water's full of flotsam, jetsam, snot and whatever else and the place is super crowded. Still managed to get 20 laps in though, and so did Jasmine.
23 Jan 2008, 2121hrs
Swam for the first time in don't know how long at Hougang Swimming Complex this afternoon. Originally targetted 5 laps but realised it got easier and easier after that. So swam 20 breaststroke laps in all, averaging about 1.5min per lap. I realised I can't swim the crawl: can't coordinate the feet, arms and breathing. Should I swim again this Sat? =]

Australian Open 2008 Ladies' Final

Ah, so. The glamour tennis final all the hacks had been hoping for (along with about three billion males) ends with the Russian loudhailer completing a 7-5, 6-3 win over the Serbain ingenue. The beautiful Maria clobbered the pretty Ana into submission with a masterclass in powerful groundstrokes and passing shots. You think back to a few years ago when Maria realised that she would need to develop the power side of a game to complete with the Williamses, and now Ana must do the same to keep up with Maria. Both ladies played tennis to grace any final, before Ana faded towards the end while Maria grew from strength to strength. What was the difference? Experience? Fitness? Fatigue? Who knows? But it's all moot, as Maria claims her third Grand Slam of her career.

But Ana sure won over many new fans with her fighting spirit to save two championship points before succumbing to the inevitable. Maria's hunger won this for her.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ergonomic pillow

Yes I've jumped on the bandwagon, an era after Sellavision's Support Pillow that cost $49.90. Saw a $45 one at Ikea Tampines so I thought, "Why not?"

Realised I didn't think through the "Why on earth did I buy it?" part but it was too late. Been enjoying blissful sleep so far. It could be psychological though.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stuart Goes to School by Sara Pennypacker

Another interesting book that can be used to talk about fears and life in school among other things. It is the sequel to Stuart's Cape, but I haven't read that one. Has the Powerpuff Girls-type graphics that kids are used to and a fantastical storyline. Trying this out on my P2 student. Hope he doesn't say it's boring.

Esio Trot by Roald Dahl

Another lovely book by Roald Dahl. Can't think of many teaching points but useful as an introduction to weight, perhaps. An absolute delight to read. Can't believe Cedric (my P6 tuition kid) said it was boring. After all the effort I put in. Lectured him on his lack of tact. Kids these days.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

2010 Youth Olympics

Firstly, I hope I got the year right.

It's down to Singapore and Moscow for the inaugural Youth Olympics after Turin, Bangkok and some other city were eliminated. While Moscow was ranked better and Singapore lost out on the later Games Village completion date, we live in hope. It'd be a shame, after all, if the money NIE spent on a mural to commemorate all that was wasted. The IOC wouldn't be very nice if they did that, would they?


Wel, well, well! The New Paper is getting more interesting! A letter in the forum about how principals need to improve on their people skills. I'm glad to have had good principals so far, but have heard enough horror stories from colleagues and friends. Firstly, let me say that they have a really difficult job on their hands, though they are paid to do so. But my point is that just as football players don't necessarily make the best managers, teachers don't necessarily nake the best principals. It's almsot a totally different set of skills. While they may be excellent educators with a genuine heart for children, they may not be the most skilled in dealing with employees and parents. If courses would help them in this blind spot, then why not? But please don't make it another superfluous and run-of-the-mill thing. That's too much of that floating around in TRAISI.

Let's face it: results are more important than staff well-being. The school will always come first. It's just dumping more work on you in a mroe civilised way.

Monday, January 21, 2008

My quirky alarm clock

Seems to be working. Hope it stays that way.
19 Jan 08, 2243hrs
Reached a compromise. Scotch-taping my battery securely to my alarm clock. Let's see if it works.
19 Jan 08, 1543hrs
No this is not a Maths problem.

When my alarm rings, it somehow shakes the battery loose and the clock stops running. So sometimes a snooze can be a really long time. I think I need a new clock. =[


Dang, it clashes with my time table. However I have the option of getting someone to stand in for me before I play the other two games. I think I'll pass. Monopoly relies too much on chance for me to stake $2 and two evenings on. Scrabble maybe. =]
21 Jan 2008, 1124hrs
Thinking of registering for a Monopoly competition in school. Sounds like fun and I've always wanted to play for some real prizes other than counterfeit paper money and bragging rights. Costs $2 to register and is organised by a new club on the block called Club Jeux. Admire them for the way they've seemed to have created a buzz about their club that ELL Club hasn't. Then again, we have different objectives: theirs revolve around fun and games, ours are more pragmatic, shall we say.

Also came played a different version of the game in KL. Involved updated locations in London to reflect its modern places, raising the stakes to the millions and having a cashless system involving Cash Cards that can be credited and debited. Certainly better than fighting over who doesn't want to be banker.

Women rule!

Alright, just to balance up. =]
Silent Treatment
A man and his wife were having some problems at home and were giving each other the silent treatment.
Suddenly, the man realized that the next day, he would need his wife to wake him at 5:00 AM for an early morning business flight.
Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (and lose), he wrote on a piece of paper, 'Please wake me at 5:00 AM.' He left it where he knew she would find it.
The next morning, the man woke up, only to discover it was 9:00 AM and he had missed his flight.
Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife hadn't wakened him, when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed.
The paper said, 'It is 5:00 AM. Wake up.'
Wife vs Husband
A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word.
An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position.
As they passed a barnyard of mules, goats, and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, 'Relatives of yours?'
'Yep,' the wife replied, 'in-laws.'
Women's Revenge
'Cash, check or charge?' I asked, after folding items the woman wished to purchase.
As she fumbled for her wallet I noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse.
'So, do you always carry your TV remote?' I asked.
'No,' she replied, ' but my husband refused to come shopping with me, and I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally.'
Understanding Women: A Man's Perspective
I'll never understand how you can take boiling hot wax, pour it onto your upper thigh, rip the hair out by the root, and still be afraid of a spider.
A husband read an article to his wife about how many words women use a day: 30 000 to a man's 15 000.
The wife replied, 'The reason has to be because we have to repeat everything to men.
The husband then turned to his wife and asked, 'What?'
A man said to his wife one day, 'I don't know how you can be so stupid and so beautiful all at the same time.'
The wife responded, 'Allow me to explain.
God made me beautiful so you would be attracted to me;
God made me stupid so I would be attracted to you!
Who Does What
A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.
The wife said, 'You should do it, because you get up first, and then we don't have to wait as long to get our coffee.'
The husband said, ' You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee.'
Wife replies, 'No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee.'
Husband replies, 'I can't believe that, show me.'
So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says "Hebrews".
Final Draft
God may have created man before woman, but there is always a rough draft before the masterpiece.

Student-centred learning? Engaged students?

You know, for all the diatribe that NIE spouts about student-centred learning and engaging students, they sure do a poor job of giving us engaging activities in a certain module. Quite auntie lah, let's put it that way.

Absolutely inconsistent with accepting reasons for latecoming. An MRT breakdown is acceptable, but a massive jam caused by an accident on the BKE is not. Go figure, and WAKE UP. Drones on and on regardless of the paralinguistic hints from students of nodding heads and intra-group backchat. As a result the whole atmosphere of the class is down in the dumps and the joy of learning has been dashed on the rocks. We can't wait for class to end and take our 10-minute break that is MANDATORY when we need it, since it is happily ignored. It seems that only children need to be engaged, but not teachers. Way to go.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


NO not the movie. Facing an ant proliferation in my room and in our house in general. Ants stress me out; not good for my skin. But I've to keep squishing them on my table, on the wall, in the bathroom, in the kitchen: they're everywhere! Spraying insectiside brings only temporary relief. They're surviving mainly because they're so small and reproduce in such great numbers. No matte how many you kill, the queen ant will produce more. Down with the queen! I HATE ANTS! Add to the hate list those irritating rubbish flies, ticks and spiders. Found them at one point or another in my room.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Andy Roddick gets in on the act

Handy Andy tries to get in on Novak's monopoly by taking on John McEnroe and Andre Agassi. He declined to do a Roger though.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Beezus & Ramona by Beverly Cleary

Another excellent book from the reading list, this time with dealing issues with family love and sibling library. Even though this was written 53 years ago when 'gay' had a different widespread meaning and is used frequently to describe chracters' dispositions, this book describes 9-year-old Beatrice's (Ramona pronounces it as Beezus) frustration with the logical yet infuriatingly incorrect behaviour of her 4-year-old sister Ramona. Children will have so much to say and write about dealing with situations like this.

Men's Rules

Now here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules! They're all numbered "1" ON PURPOSE!
1. Men are NOT mind readers.
1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.
1. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.
1. Crying is blackmail.
1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one. Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!
1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girl friends are for.
1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a Problem. See a doctor.
1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.
1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.
1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing", we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.
1. When we have to go somewhere, anything you wear is absolutely fine. Really.
1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as CARS, SPORTS and occasionally SPORTS RESULTS.
1. You have enough clothes.
1. You have too many shoes.
1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!
1. Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight. But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Found this book in the NIE library based on the recommendation of Gayle Whitson and Jason Loh, two excellent tutors who have unfortunately moved on from NIE. They did provide a stellar list of 25 children's books they recommended us to buy, and stingy old me didn't bat an eyelid. However as I was tutoring my P6 student in English, I realised the value and importance of inculcating the love of reading. I've just started him in Roald Dahl's Esio Trot. I think Hatchet might be a bridge too far at the moment.

Anyhow, an excellent book Hatchet is, though it was written more than 40 years ago. It provides excellent dilemmas for the main character, Brian Robesen, a city kid stranded by a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness. It charts his survival techniques and personal issues he must overcome if he is to survive the physical and emotional tribulation. It gives an excellent opportunity for kids to respond in writing and speaking on what they would do in his shoes, decision-making, overcoming crises attitudes toward work etc.

I can't wait to use it in a classroom, but must pluck up the confidence to do so. Incidentally, Brian's confidence was one of the issues that he faced early in the book. A really uplifting read.

Novak Djokovic the doppleganger

Novak Djokovic impersonates Andy Roddick, "Pistol" Pete Sampras, Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal, Goran Ivanisevic and Lleyton Hewitt, among others, while practising at Queens in 2007.

Now he's fooling around with some Argentinean players before his match with Stepanek at the 2007 US Open. Spot the stars! Roger Federer, Roddick again, Sharapova again, Nadal again... Relak lah, brudder. =]

Create your own font!

Pardon my ignorance if this is already widely known; I've never been a technocrat. You can scan your handwriting and create a font based on your own handwriting!

Apparently you can scan it in and buy the font for USD9. I'm seriously considering it. Too bad my handwriting's mostly illegible. =[

Get it at


"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" is a 35-letter pangram (a phrase that uses all the letters of the alphabet) that has been used to test typewriters and computer keyboards because it is nicely coherent and short.

In Windows XP, an alternative message Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz. 123456890 is added.
Adapted from Wikipedia
There also exist perfect pangrams, where every letter is used only once.

These are some without proper nouns, acronyms, or abbreviations:
Veldt jynx grimps waqf zho buck. (A grasslands wryneck Woodpecker climbs onto a male bovid on Muslim land held in trust. - created by Michael Jones)
Junky qoph-flags vext crwd zimb. (An Abyssinian fly playing a Celtic violin was annoyed by trashy flags on which were the Hebrew letter qoph.)
Cwm fjord bank glyphs vext quiz. (Carved symbols in a mountain hollow and on the bank of a fjord irritated an eccentric person.)
Squdgy fez, blank jimp crwth vox! (A short brimless felt hat barely blocks out the sound of a Celtic violin. - created by Claude Shannon)

Confused? Here are some with proper nouns, acronyms, or abbreviations that'll make it more readable:
PR flacks quiz gym: TV DJ box when?
NBC glad. Why? Fox TV jerks quiz PM.
Blowzy night-frumps vex'd Jack Q.
Glum Schwartzkopf vex'd by NJ IQ.

Err, maybe not. =]
Adapted from Wikipedia

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Zeno's paradox

Among the most famous of Zeno's "paradoxes" involves Achilles and the tortoise, who are going to run a race. Achilles, being confident of victory, gives the tortoise a head start. Zeno supposedly proves that Achilles can never overtake the tortoise.

Achilles gives the tortoise a head start, in a race. Before he can overtake the tortoise, he must run to the place where the tortoise began, and the tortoise has move on to some other point. From there, before he can overtake the tortoise, he must run to the place where the tortoise had move on to. This goes on forever, and Achilles can never pass the tortoise.

Here, I paraphrase Zeno's argument:
Before Achilles can overtake the tortoise, he must first run to point A, where the tortoise started. But then the tortoise has crawled to point B. Now Achilles must run to point B. But the tortoise has gone to point C, etc. Achilles is stuck in a situation in which he gets closer and closer to the tortoise, but never catches him.

A finite length can be divided up into an infinite number of pieces, all of zero length. You can imagine that, can't you. Just divide a length into halves, then fourths, then eighths, etc. But, in the Zeno story above, we find that none of the pieces is of zero length.

Here is an animation which counts to infinity in 8 seconds. Actually, I cheated. There are not an infinite number of frames in this animation. I skipped 1/100 second (approximately). "1" takes 4 seconds, "2" takes 2 seconds, "3" is 1 sec., then .5 sec., .25 sec., etc. If our computers were infinitely faster, we could get in infinitely many frames in that 8 seconds.
Adapted from

Therefore, there must be a finite number of pieces. Hence, this finite number of pieces is coverable in a finite amount of time, since the nett speed (subtract the tortoise's speed from Achilles' speed) is obviously greater than zero i.e. Achilles is faster than the tortoise. This proves that Achilles can overtake the tortoise eventually. Effectively, Achilles will overtake the tortoise when t = headstart/nett speed.

The question is when, and whether he'll do so before running out of time or distance to do so. There are therefore three different outcomes to this farcical race. To quote a gameshow, it is Achilles' race to win, lose or draw, interestingly all dependent on the finishing line's position. Even with so many unknowns, it is actually possible to establish mathematical inequalities to demonstrate the three outcomes.

Basically, there is a tie when headstart of tortoise + speed of tortoise x time given = speed of Achilles x time given. Here, time is obviously the time taken for the tortoise to reach the finishing line, since he is in effect winning from the start of the race.

Making the time given the subject of the equation,
The tortoise wins if: t > nett difference of speed divided by headstart
Achilles wins if: t < nett difference of speed divided by headstart
Draw if: t = nett difference of speed divided by headstart

I end this discussion with Jim Loy's little anecdote:
Little-known story: Achilles didn't win the above race. So, he challenged the tortoise to a pole vault competition, double or nothing. The tortoise's pole bent impressively, before it catapulted him out of Greece, never to be seen again. I made that one up.

The New Paper's Santokh Singh on teacher ranking

I like this guy. He always has something fresh and interesting to say about our education system.

This time round, he champions a 360-degree ranking system, which includes one's superiors, peers and subordinates. For teachers, these are their principal, HODs and level heads (though not necessarilt the most level-headed), fellow teachers and students respectively. Oh well, as long as it doesn't degenerate into a farcical popularity contest. Some would say being the best does not make you the most popular, but I say it is possible to do both.

Secondly, he suggests that D-grade teachers be given the option of moderation by MOE. What good this will do I don't know, but at least it allows the avenue of appeal and belays the excessive authority of the principal. S/he has that much of variable wage component to give out to her staff leh.

Alexandre "The Duck" Pato

Is Milan's Brazil wunderkind worth the hype? You decide.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Election (Hei1 she4 hui4)

Flixster Plot: ELECTION is Hong Kong's answer to The Godfather. Amidst the modern world mixed with old tradition, The Wo Shing Triad exists in Hong Kong, its shadowy power intertwined everywhere. Every two years, an election is held to vote in the next Chairman, who is the leader of the largest and oldest Triad in Hong Kong. Big D (Tony Leung Kar Fai), a megalomaniac and violent leader squares off against the respected and level headed Lok (Simon Yam) for the Election. In order to gain the respect of the groups, Lok and Big D unleash their forces in search of the Dragon Baton, the traditonal symbol of power and authority of the Chairman, and war breaks loose until the baton is recovered. Also starring Louis Koo, Nick Cheung and Cheung Siu Fai, ELECTION throws you into the dark underworld of Hong Kong and China in the midst of a battle for power and supremacy.
My take: This is cool. =]

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Ultimate Gift

Flixster plot: When his wealthy grandfather dies, trust fund baby Jason Stevens anticipates a big inheritance. Instead, his grandfather has devised a crash course on life with 12 tasks--or "gifts"--designed to challenge Jason in improbable ways, sending him on a journey of self-discovery and forcing him to determine what is most important in life: money or happiness.
My take: Better than expected. Real lessons here.

My grandfather

I finally cried. It happened at the Leaders' Retreat when I was watching The Ultimate Gift that included a part where a grandfather had recorded his message for his grandson. Then I remembered Enkong. Better late than never. Bless his soul.
I realised I was probably about the only one who didn't shed a tear. Is it that I'm able to keep my emotions in check or that I'm pretty emotionless? Then when some kid's hands got shut on by the piano cover, I callously said that he deserved it for playing where he shouldn't be playing. I think I'll make an excellent father.
Have reached KL and glad to see that everyone is positve about the whole thing. When someone dies and has gone to meet Jesus, it becomes more of a celebration. =] Funeral's on Thu and scattering of ashes on the sea is on Fri. Should be back by Sat or Sun.
My grandpa has passed away on X'mas Day. I'm just glad he's no longer suffering and is with Jesus now. Rushing back to KL now.
Merry Christmas, y'all.
My grandpa's back home at my uncle's place in KL having been discharged. He's feeling a bit better now and I believe the environment will do him good. My mum's managed to take a week off to visit him there. Pray for a complete recovery.
Finally back in S'pore and it'd been a relaxing yet stressful time there. Stayed in the most luxurious of houses (thank you, Linda and Tan) but yet had my grandfather's health on my mind, despite plenty of window shopping and sightseeing.
Briefly recceed the Avillion resort at Port Dickson. This one is really a class above everything else. I mean, lawn tennis?! Only stickler is the potential high cost. Let's see what the agent can offer us.
Change of plan: Jasmine, Sharon, my mum, Yewhock & I are only going on Wed morning and staying till goodness knows when. My cousin's dream and my granddad's cryptic indication of 'five days' on 1 Dec makes 6 Dec very important. He could die or get better. Whatever happens, we know he is saved and that's what matters. Looks like I have to give Thu's prayer meeting and Sun service a miss, as we'll probably link up with the recce team in KL, and henceforth to Fraser's Hill and Port Dickson. Who knew I'd be so busy this holiday?
I should be going with Jasmine next week from Mon-Wed. Pretty apprehensive about going by ourselves.
Please pray for my grandfather as he's really ill. Went to the doctor for a checkup and found that the haemoglobin (iron) in his blood is half the normal level. Also, my cousin dreamt that he would pass away on 6 Dec. If this is true, then it's a message to my family and I that we can't delay visiting him in Malaysia any longer, leave and schedules notwithstanding. Pray for God's healing and for his faith in God to strengthen.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Beards and sex

"How fast a man's beard grows ... is partly a function of how much he thinks about sex [because thinking about sex produces a testosterone surge]."
- Bill Bryson in A Short History of Nearly Everything

Know any men with rapid beard growth? Anyone who's shaved in the morning but looks like he hasn't? Hmmm.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

GROW 2.0

MOE has made it more attractive to be and stay a teacher. Not much, but progress is progress.

I like the fact that they are recognising more part-time degrees unrelated to education. This includes study grants and full-pay/no-pay leave in the interest of professional development. There are also enhancements to the Connect plan, performance-related bonuses and salary increment scales (with regards to market wage benchmarks).

Read all of it here.

Professional Development Packages
Greater Support for Postgraduate Studies
More In-Service Upgrading Opportunities for Non-Graduate Teachers

New Education Scheme of Service (2008)
Revised CONNECT Plan
Additional Outstanding Contribution Awards

Enhanced Senior Specialist Track
Further Re-employment Opportunities
Future Leaders Programme

Expansion of Part-time Teaching Scheme
Greater Support for Part-time Teaching
Enhancements to No-Pay Leave

Rodrigo y Gabriela - Stairway to Heaven

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

KL = Kurangkan Laju

Saw my dad si chia like FIVE times, four times in S'pore alone driving Uncle Johnny's car. He wasn't used to the biting point of the clutch. It happens to the best of us. =]
I have finally discovered why Kuala Lumpur is so infamous for its jams and traffic congestions. KL actually stands for kurangkan laju, which you see on Malaysian roads everywhere. It means slow down and everyone dutifully obliges.

Eczema update

Despite a humid and active day at Ker Toh Loh, managed not to scratch a lot. Am relying on Cetirizine, an oral anti-histamine, in the absence of Prednisalone. Must rest, eat and hydrate well in the meantime.
There seems to be a trend. The steroids work for the first week, then the effect starts to tail off. Tomorrow's the last day of steroids and hence it's off to Dr Hia again. I can just feel the eczema being suppressed, though it's still there. I can feel it. But I pray it stays away even though I get off steroids. I can't continue like this.
Steroids have never worked so well. I haven't enjoyed such quality of life for a long while. I pray this will be the first step to getting some semblance of a life back. But going out today with no flannel, cream or even a bag was liberating. One more week of this and I'm off it, so I wanna make the most of it. Then have to monitor my progress.
I am ultra-susceptible to heatiness and its causes nowadays. A late night, too much or too little sleep, the wrong food, stress, or no reason whatsoever: anything could trigger an outbreak. Outbreaks usually mean inflamed skin and extreme itchiness, followed by extreme exfoliation and widespread exfoliation or peeling. The amount of dead skin I sweep up each day is literally by the handful.

My upper lip area and ears refuse to heal or even dry and remain distinctly uncomfortable, itchy and unpleasant to look at. I probably don't mind the eczema on the limbs, but the face is really a bummer.

I am unable to take part in any activities that cause me to sweat or increase my heart rate, which obviously includes football and any active sport. My eyes water and tire easily because of rhinitis and my nose constantly runs because of sinitis; both conditions are linked to the eczema. Any shock I get, like a loud noise, brings a rush of blood to my head, which makes it itchy all over again.

All these symptoms are being treated by a concoction of Chinese herbs and medicine that constitutes a systematic and long-term approach to healing. It costs about $250 each month, so I'm glad my parents are helping out with $200. I also use wet towels with ice to alleviate the itch, though I can only do so for 20 minutes at a time before I need to moisturise, as the skin gets extremely dry.

I constantly receive well-meaning comments about how bad I look and recommended cures, which I can't ignore because they are borne of good intention.

I hate this eczema from the bottom of my heart and the depth of my soul. I urge you to pray with me whenever you think of me:

"Lord, I claim Your healing for Aaron in Jesus' name for You are Jehovah Rapha - God our Healer (Exo 15:26). I trust in Your promise of healing which You have given Aaron when you said that he will 'laugh' at his condition in days to come (Job 8:21-22). I rebuke the eczema and declare that it has no place in the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1Co 6:19). I also declare that all food is God-made and is not impure (Act 11:9), and that Aaron will not suffer any side effect even when eating foods he is supposedly allergic to. I pray You will give him peaceful sleep (Psa 127:2), improve his condition and complexion, and remove the itchiness. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen!"

Ker Toh Loh?

Success! Think basically almost everyone enjoyed themselves, got to know one another better and is now more familiar with the Park Mall area.
Was a little disappointed at the number of people signing up and the lack of things done with so little time left. But it's not my baby so must learn to relax. Must learn to trust the people I empower. Fingers crossed for New Year's Day.
Not sure how to spell it, but that's the name of our latest outing to celebrate our move to Park Mall. Teams will get to explore the area around Park Mall and familiarise themselves with places to eat, play and fellowship. Should be a blast.

The only shame is not being able to take part as we're organising it. =[