I did not want to drive down to Queensway only to be tempted with more models to choose from. I gathered what I had saved will be offset by the cost of petrol and parking, that is, until a Mr Neo alerted me that the price difference can be up to S$60!!! I got these at a mall in the heartland so I do not think I had paid grotesque town prices. YEAH!
It's 5.53 in the morning. This is my usual quiet time for reflection and strangely, not to sound cliche, time flies when you are having fun.
HBO is airing the last 10 mintues of "The Breakup". Interestingly, the song, "I Can See Clearly Now" by Jonny Cash, is playing while the credits run. The lines go,
I can see clearly now The rain is gone I can see all obstacles in my way Gone are the clouds ...[lost in the credits] It's gona be a bright, bright sunshiny day.
Next comes the arcapella version of "Rainbow Connection". This is funny. I cannot help but be intrigued by life's poignant moments like this. Pardon my pensive state.
I had a discussion with some people last night about changes, among other things on MSN. Strange that everything somehow comes together and you see a little clearer down the road.
Why do situations or people change? Is the change for better or worse? Why do some people go through change behaving or rather, appearing callous to it while some, get weighed down with emotional baggage? Do we embrace change for survival reasons? Are the former better survivors while the latter less adept?
A colleague observed last week, "You know you are not like them."
Okay, here are the changes that made the S2 headlines :
1) the field undergoing a makeover 2) boys who transit from lower to upper secondary exhibiting mood swings - what they termed as being "emo" 3) AFGM stepping up to its true calling 4) increasing callousness 5) Letting go of the groups I've committed my energies to in the past - the leaders, the S4 Express batch, 2A
Life with its funny twists and turns promises the only certainty - change.
Burma is ruled by one of the most brutal military dictatorships in the world. For decades the Burmese regime has fought off pressure--imprisoning elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and democracy activists, wiping out thousands of villages, imposing forced labour, creating refugees-
But last Tuesday Buddhist monks and nuns, revered in Burma, began marching and chanting prayers. The protests spread as hundreds of thousands of ordinary people and public figures joined in, finding the hope they’d lost. Now they’re facing crackdown – so please, show your solidarity to this movement towards reconciliation and democracy and sign the emergency petition supporting the Burmese people -- it'll be delivered to United Nations Security Council members and international media all week:
In the past, Burma's military rulers have massacred the demonstrators and crushed democracy. The world must stand with the Burmese people at this time, to show the military rulers that the world will not tolerate repression and violence.
Right now, global leaders are gathering in New York for the annual United Nations summit. In speeches, press interviews but also in real actions, we need them to show Burma's military junta that the global community is willing to act in solidarity with the protesters.
Show your solidarity to this movement for peace and democracy and sign the emergency petition supporting the Burmese people. It'll be delivered to UN Security Council members and the UN press corps all week:
Today's is the launch of Halo3! Well, I do not own an XBox360 console so it does not really affect me. I'm just tempted to head down to Suntec later to join in the festivities surrounding the launch after my morning appointment later. Afterall, I had turned down relief teaching in school today. Hmmm...
I was at Spinella for breakfast after my gym session. I had put aside the outlet's copy of Straits Times on a table and my bag on one of the chairs before proceeding to make my breakfast order. A man came by and picked up the Life! section without asking me and did not even bother to return after reading it! I was seriously shocked by his nonchalant rudeness. This is what rude boys who are not reigned in in schools become when they grow up - total disregard for others! I know I have not completed yesterday's post on my stint in school where I had encountered this lot of boys and their paper toss trail in the hall.
I have to run to make my morning appointment. Later.
"Who Wants To Be A Superhero" episode 3 was rather poignant. In it, Stan Lee (it's probably the best name on this whole wide earth, you must admit it! :) ) put the superheroes in tests where the objectives were more than meets the eye. Through it all, he expressed his disappointment with their lack of commitment to their superhero persona. This resulted in the shocking elimination of Monkey Woman and Tybyrus.
I had meant to show it to 2 classes but only one ended up watching it. This is because 2C was making so much noise outside the Science laboratory that I had decided to deny them the priviledge. The class did not even heed the chairman's call to settle down outside the laboratory and I was the one who had sent him to keep them quiet. Left with no choice, I made them learn the art of silence and focus by sitting silently and looking infront of the class for the rest of the one-and-a-half periods.
My Salomon running shoes is showing signs of wear and tear. Having started on my resolution to head to the gym daily last week, I will need to get a new pair soon. In view of an upcoming trip to China, I asked a childhood friend who is based there if the orginal shoes at her side are cheaper. She warned me against the idea because recently, a Prada boutique in Guangzhou was caught selling fakes and the incident caused a huge ruckus. China is, afterall, trying to clean up its image before the Olympics. Thankfully, that does not bother me because I am not extremely brand conscious. Besides, Prada??? Their prices are obsence! So I bet there are great spinoffs in China like Prala, Lala, Pradae etc. :)
Okay does anyone have good running shoes and places to buy them to recommend? Going to town to get them is out of the question of course because of the super marked-up prices there. Leave a comment!
It's been exactly 1 year and 23 days since I had left the comforts of my iron bowl. There were days of uncertainty and people telling me that it had been a rash decision. Thank God who makes good of any circumstances, I pulled through the period of uncertainty and now I am thankful.
To those who had expressed envy towards my current status directly or indirectly, I always have one reply : Why the incessant complain? Just do what I have done. Having been there, I understand the fear. Upon reflection, I conclude with the words of the song :
Are you ready to jump? Get ready to jump. Don't ever look back, oh baby!
Some are just not ready. Some will never be. Only a few take the plunge and discovery a whole new world.
PS : Don't try the stunts at home. The performers are professionals.
WARNING >>> This is not for the faint-hearted! May induce appetite loss and sleeplessness. Here's a bizarre truth from my favourite destination in Asia. Click on individual pictures to enlarge them.
It’s bread!! This is real bread which is sculpted to look like a corpse. Thai baker Kittiwat Aun-A-Rom created it. He opened this bakery shop named 'Eat Bakery' in Potharam district, Ratchaburi province; a province which is a 2-hour drive from Bangkok.
Kittiwat wants to present bread as a new art in the form of a corpse. He wants to show people that they should not just stick to the usual appearance of food, even though his bread doesn't look beautiful but it can be eaten. When he first baked it, he didn’t think it would be popular and he didn’t think of marketing it. But when foreign media like A.P. Reuter wrote about his idea, many orders start pouring in from around the world such as U.S.A., Germany, Japan, South Korea etc. that made him earn more than US$1000 per month.
His shop was opened more than 3 years ago but he didn't do any marketing, so it was little-known. His creations in the past looked scarier than this. He gets the idea from his father which was sick from brain tumor and that made him worry a lot. From that, he thinks that death is always around us. New birth, sickness, old age, death and decay in our human life is like bread. If you keep it for many days, it will go bad in the end, no difference from human.
So he tried to sculpt the bread as a corpse but that was his own personal art. Until he graduated with a bachelor degree from the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts at Chulalongkorn University and continued to study Master of Art at Silpakorn University; he studied about how to create physical resemblance by mixing media art technique. Then his turning point came when he studied real corpses from Siriraj Hospital. He started creating his bread for business because he wanted to help his family after his graduation.
Why was his bakery named 'Eat Bakery'? Because it was also the name of his family bakery shop and it also has the same pronunciation of 'Eat' in English that conforms to his idea; disgusting things could also be eaten, don't stick to the usual stuff.
What does he put in his bread? Kittiwat said that he used the normal ingredients; egg, flour, milk, chocolate etc. but he uses a different way to knead and bake, that’s a secret technique that he developed through trial and error for the past 3 years.
Where does he get the idea? He said that he sculpts it from his imagination and books but he doesn't sculpt it to look like a real life person. Every piece he does is by hand, no mould and he has to sculpt it smaller than what he wants because when he bakes, it will expand. After that he will paint it with food colour. It taste like cookies and can keep for 3 day but he said most of his customers buy to display more than eat it.
Now he faces the problem of slow production as he can sculpt only 100 pieces per month which is not in time with many orders because it is hand made. He said that he used to sell full body corpse to Germany for 40,000 THB (1000 USD). In the future he plans to develop new designs on the same theme.
If you want to order, you can call 66 32-233-901 or 66 92-569-069. hehehe......... for Halloween.
A walk towards the canteen left me disappointed because the food sold there looked unappetising and the venue was a tad crowded with JC students. On my way back to the staff room, I passed the D&T workshop and was met with a pleasant surprise. Peeranin beamed his amazing Thailand smile and offered to share half a muffin. Then another classmate gave me a cookie from Subway and ridiculed Peeranin saying that the muffin was probably poisoned. A friendly squabble followed. I offered my thanks to both of them. While enjoying the remnants just outside the workshop doorway and smelling the air which reeked of the smell of arosol cans, my thoughts were filled with a quiet and gentle contentment. In fact, I had told Chee Keong earlier, how nice a lot 2B is just yesterday. I am glad I end my day here with that sentiment.
So here's a picture of my desk. A former colleague brought up this bottle of yellowish concoction which is supposedly some chinese herbal tea that helps cough-oholics like me. I do not know why but my coughing spasms begin the moment I step into the office and becomes worse in the staff room. I am not superstitious but as some Chinese might put it, the air is no good. Haha. Anyway, on its right is a thermal coffee flask - my second one after I had lost a mug and another similar flask in the school somewhere. I swear I had walked around the school to spots where I had been to trace the missing objects on the unfateful days when they went missing. Sadly, they were nowhere to be found. I simply cannot imagine people going around to `cop' mugs and flasks. I must report to The New Paper when something else goes missing again.
Okay. Pardon the ramblings of a bored but fulfilled (by a hearty home-cooked meal by mom truly) individual who is trying to step up his machine to embark on some work.
A few colleagues just came by and mumbled in disbelief about some amazing grades of a particular subject. Haven't I heard that before somewhere...well, reality will bite next year. I am merely paraphrasing someone's words. No further comments.
I shall get off this arm chair and do...something. Something. Yeah. Something. Haha.
Fabulous news! S4 English Preliminary Examination Results Leslie of 4ST scored A2, beating even those who used to get As in his class! When he came to me for help with English, he was just passing his common tests. Mid Year 2007 - 54/100 (C6) --> Preliminary Exams 2007 - 70.09! (A2) = improved by 4 grades!!
Lee Peng of 4SA scored B3, a 3 grade improvement from his Mid year! Mid Year 2007 - 56.3/100 (C5) --> Preliminary Examination 2007 - B3 = improved by 3 grades!
Well done dudes!
Awaiting the rest of the S4s to get back to me with their results...
Taken off the side table/counter of a teacher's cubicle. Ingenius, isn't it? Who do you think is the teacher who seats behind this goodies counter?
All in 1B want to be the next Superhero. Yes, another captivated audience.
Douglas needed a bodyguard to run my errands so I had him and Edgar pose against the backdrop of a scene from "Who Wants...Superhero" to give him more courage. I did not realise that there were thugs running around the school.
It's been awhile since I had been down to the beach. So I packed my bike into the van and took a leisurely drive there. The sun was up so the weather was perfect. Best of all, there was NO crowd on this Wednesday early afternoon. I biked the length of the beach from near Macs to Bedok jetty and back again, stopping to snap for pictures when inspiration hit me.
I lay down on the hot tarmac ground to take this self-portrait, paying now with third-degree burns on my right back.
This is the very expensive bike I inherited from an ex-Victorian, who had gotten it from his uncle. We had kept in contact since my teacher trainee days in VS. He had probably gotten himself a brand new machine now in NUS because he has not asked for it since.
This is the runway, no, the Bedok jetty where I had spent a couple of times fishing with friends and students. They did most of the rigging while I, enjoyed the sights and sounds of the ocean, and sleep. The sea weed was strategically placed by some fisherman. Okay, I had adjusted it a little for that perfect cover. I could not resist snapping this funny shot.
I am back for work. The beach has certain allay a lot of my frustrations and set my heart at ease. I truly felt calm when I drove back home. No bad drivers ruffled my feathers during the journey.
See the amount of work I torture my students with (no work no results!). TJ - thanks for the late teacher's day present of mints you left behind. But seriously, this was a test shot to see if my N73 had gone dead after one student tripped over my charger cable and pushed my phone into suicide mode. It is alive!!!
The culprit who was then `punished' to memorise 10000 vocabulary phrases before typing them out. Was that an Absolute Vodka bottle in behind my Gemstone?
This is cool! Once, a student found a completely sealed grape sweet with no candy inside. This time, another discovered a bonus baby within!
Why? That's because I do not have to go to school and have the mornings off to myself. Because I'm cursed with a biological clock which wakes me up automatically by 6am, I decided to drag my sorry ass to the gym. I guess I got to live up to the almost 40 bucks NIKE tee which says, "It's all about DISCIPLINE - Nike Gym Training"! Their tees are grossly overpriced!
Breakfast was a lazy affair at Spinelli. At just past 9 in the morning, I sit and wine (kidding! it's just latte) at the cafe setting, watching men in ties and women in jackets make brisk walks to their offices. I really tried to contain my laughter so as not to waste the expensive kopi and sandwich. Soon, the company at the cafe consisted of just Caucasian women gossiping about the latest Singapore juice (I was just a table away), a lone rather pretty female (Caucasian again!) and an Asian couple (who must be either one of the growing rich Indonesians or Philippinos who have bought properties around the area). I gather that most men you see in the gym past 9am are either bosses who can go into office late or men who are have savings stashed in some Swiss accounts and thus need not work anymore. Decked out in casual tees and shorts and my flip-flops, I do not belong to this league of extraordinary gentleman of course. Some of them are not old I tell you!
After a meet with a credit card employee who is persistent on signing me up with the Kris Flyer programme, I left for home to dump my gym gear before heading out again. That chap is dorned in the classic AMEX black long-sleeve shirt, tie and pants. Boy, I sure DO NOT miss wearing long-sleeve shirts during weekdays! And why BLACK??!!! In this WEATHER??? The MNC should really wake up their idea?!! :)
Fast forward to PS. Yes, I was at Plaza Singapura at 10-ish in the morning! I just like the town minus the holiday crowd and noisy students. Singapore is just getting too crowded and that is why I avoid town on weekends like a plague. An appointment to tidy the mane led to a grotesque purchase which will take me 2 years to repay on credit loan. I just did not want to part with that amount of money immediately. Besides, the loan is interest free! I was then told by a staff member that I would be entitled a mystery gift at the information counter.
Here begins my hunt for the illusive information counter. I mean, an information counter is supposed to provide information to the hapless shopper and therefore its location should be conspicuous - like near the entrance! No, the PS Info Counter is tucked at some corner in B2. The counter, albeit having a clean design, is a typical example of form with a missing function due to poor location. So what was the mystery gift? Imagine the enthusiasm of a puppy when its master comes home. I was slapped in the face with a High School Musical 2 notebook!!!! If I knew that was THE gift, I would not have wasted 15 minutes of my life searching for the Info booth. Any takers, please leave a comment to this entry. It is obvious that I am NOT a HSM fan.
Just before I left for my lunch venue, I received an overseas call to help a friend spruce up her eBay store. That's what friends are for, isn't it?
The assumption that a tutor has the luxury of time to log onto the internet anytime anywhere and hit that button. But I DO have the luxury of time! But I wonder where it all goes to on my off-day? Funny how time really flies when you are free from the shackles of meaningless work. Hey, I am no slacker but lately, if you have been following the entries, my daytime work has been drifting into oblivion mode and I realise I am slowly becoming like one of THEM (sorry no names here! Besides there are too many to bring up!). I truly need that getaway to recharge! I'm counting down to O29.
Upon my entry into the train station, I bumped into, guess who? No, it's not Sheryl Crow. It is female but she is not playing the guitar but trying to get me to sign up with yet another credit card company!!! If not for that fact that she wore a skirt, I would have just waved my hand and walk right past. So I popped the dreaded question, "Tell me in 1 minute why I should bother to sign up with your credit company when I already have 10 other cards which give me all the benefits I need?" - not in those exact words of course.
Two big buzz caught my attention :
1) The card is free for life.
2) You can redeem anything you want with your points and even do so in advance. (my mind was already spinning suggestions like XBox 360 Elite, Halo3, Wii, the Nissan Mirano drive - this being sweet fantasy of course!)
Let me just say that the card design is anything but attractive. The woman also needs some mint to freshen up her breath. Imagine having to endure her never-brush-teeth-in-the-morning-kinda breath! I told her, very politely, that she has 5 minutes. Yes, I drive a hard bargain. This is the result of experiences gathered on my numerous overseas trips in the past. God I really need to get away soon!
Before I leave, I just want to thank those of you who have taken the time to leave a comment or two on the individual entries! Comments, even disparaging ones are most welcome!
Hot SHo Tunes
If That's OK With You - Shayne Ward
- prepping me for the holiday mood!
Hey Here Delilah - Plain White T's
- time to take out the guitar and pull the melancholic strain
"Who Wants To Be A Superhero?" kept them glued and interactive in positive outlets. Another successful programme sales pitch!
After learning that there is no hall assembly period, I was bemoaning outside the office that I had to babysit them. The Principal walked by and heard me. I did not bother to mask my lament. She knows this class well herself. I smiled and crawled to the office to collect the keys to the homeroom. I had a pleasant surprise in Mrs Daphne's Ang's homeroom which sort of brought back memories of mine (see archives of The Saint Chronicles to get a glimpse of A603 in its former glory). I truly felt at home when I sat at her desk admiring all the family pictures and warm posters and pictures she had put up. Her form class 4N3 is one of the toughest lot in the schol and today only about 10 of them showed up in class. :) "Who Wants...?" did the great job once again!
I had a 2-period break and wanted to find a hole somewhere to catch 50 winks. However, Miss Seah got me along for a meal outside school. I decided, why not? Anytime outside school is a good kit-kat time. After settling down with my prawn noodle order, the office buzzed me on my cell. Such calls spell more work and I was so tempted to ignore it like many do. My conscience got the better of me and so I answered it. It was discovered that another teacher needed to use Mrs. Ang's homeroom to which I had the key. So I left my hot soup to be 'jiaga'ed by my great colleague and went back to return the key and retrieve my belongings. At C404, I met this new contract teacher, Jenny (I think), whom I previously thought was rather unfriendly, was more approachable than my previous experiences with her along the corridors. I guess we are entitled our bad days as teachers. I apologised profusely and cleared out. Then I hurried back to good company and food at the coffee shop. The conversation between us will not be mentioned here of course. Before we headed back to school, I got myself a soya bean curd with gulatinous balls filled with crushed peanuts. Yum!
4S2 + 4S3
I did swear off combined classes but with these 2, I am perfectly comfortable because I have taught them since they were in secondary 1. In fact, I was looking forward to seeing them again. Now much taller and of course, some more aloof. What is it with boys? I hear that from mothers and other teachers. Okay, sweeping statement. There are some grateful ones but they are just so rare. I will save this for another entry. It was like homecoming for me but to them, probably I was sweet relief from their usual, strict regiment. Haha. They too bowled over "Who Wants...?" I should have taken some time to talk to them.
This class pestered me for "Heroes" episodes. Frankly, I really do not recal the last time I had relieved their class but my sales pitch for the television series must be good around the school that boys along the corridor are asking me about it. They lapped up "Who Wants...?" quickly like all the other classes. I took the opportunity to talk to this young lot about teasing people who are different, say, fat (there's a Fat Mama superhero character in the series) and how mean that act is, the need to change in proper places like toilets instead of stripping in classes or even along the courtyard (which led to the Nitro superhero to be booted out of the first episode) and finally the importance of looking out for people in need in the process of chasing our goals instead of focusing on the target alone (which was the first test for the superheroes). After that, I got a couple of them to carry my belongings to my van. All in all, I found Miss Gan's form class to be a real nice and even fun lot. I texted her when I was home regarding how well behaved they were, adding that hopefully, they do not end up ungrateful like...well. I shall not even mention them.
I left for home immediately after the boys had delivered my stuff. The cough is bad. I needed to rest before the tuiton sessions. I am just grateful that I have the next two mornings off - to recuperate from this convulsed state.
I'm totally zoned-out from last week's camp with 1N3. According to Mrs. Carol Yap, if I have not recovered from the weekend camp by now, it's a sign that I'm getting old. The cough's back and has gone into tenth gear.
Although I truly desire a better way to spend last weekend, 3 things that turned out good are :
1) Nithiaraj's mom, Mrs Skumaran, made us all delicious chicken curry and achar - that is for all 32 of us! I took a picture of the last of the 3 tumblers.
2) The zip line brought out the inner courage from every boy who had attempted it. Many, shivering and tearing at their first attempt, begged for repeat jumps. Having done it many times myself, I decided to conserve my energy for Saturday's tuiton.
3) Doughnuts! Yes we had surprise doughnuts from Mrs. Yap (1N2 must be green with envy!) for supper on the first night.