Saturday, April 17, 2004

Corrected the grammar on the title. Hope this doesn't mean I've lost my previous posts! X-fingers!
I was such a putz. Thinking I only had 1 major thing to do today I ended up with a dozen non-interconnected things that drove me nutz. Agnes herself commented she's never seen me in such a state. Little, normally unflappable ol' me on the edge, taut, ready to explode or crumble into a sobbing, quivering mass of jello, perhaps possibly the latter being more likely.
The 1 thing I was supposed to do: get some personal training done with the main cast of The Odyssey (SYF version), working on keeping scripted conversations real and physicalizing delivery for better character exposition. It was the 1 thing I never got around to doing and I feel I let the cast down badly. Sigh. As it is we already have so little time and I wanted to make today's rehearsal count.
So what happened? I woke up and remembered I was scheduled for a course on using film in the classroom. Rushed out of the house leaving June & Q-tip behind although we wanted to have breakfast together (as you can see I'm just adding stuff to feel guilty about).
Let's just say the course left me thinking my time would have been better spent at Odyssey rehearsal, but I was already signed up and I didn't have a medical excuse not to go. It also added another 3 hours to my training record, so maybe that was the best thing I could get out of it. Then again, my mind was in 2 places at once so I couldn't concentrate anyway.
The most annoying thing is that my life works like a Hong Kong serial. At a moment of real crisis (gotta tell my cast what happened to me and having to make decisions for them, "We're done! Can we go home now?") my cell phone battery chooses to go flat and I am able to contact no one no longer. BUT there is just enough charge for me to receive a call from my "detachment IC... bzzz" interupting my final SMS instructions to the cast and finishing off the last of the power in the battery. Gaaahhh!
Now I've got something new to think about... is today a recall manning day??? Detachment ICs don't usually call on Saturday at noon for nothing, right? Agnes offers to drive me to J8, Bishan where in exchange I buy for her some delicious looking tako-balls, then I'm off flagging down a cab to get me home.
June, meantime, is frantically using all ways and means to contact me not knowing the status of my battery. She finds Weng's phone # on my desk, calls him and asks for Anthony's. She calls Anthony & sends him running around the College looking for me; but not long after, the prodigal son does come home.
Prodigal son grabs his military pack and discovers (as he had suspected) stuff supposed to be in his pack are not in his pack! Another hour of rushed acquisitions and improvisations later and he's off to camp, panting and sweltering in the merciless heat of the afternoon sun.
God is merciful from here onwards. The in & out-processing is super efficient -- hat's off to the 416th. I think I didn't spend more than 15 mins in total in camp; much less time anyway than the traffic jam into camp and leaving camp. In the 3-ton shuttle truck I realized how spoilt we are getting: the steel bar that we as sleepy recruits bash our heads on everytime the truck jerks is now padded, comfortable enough to rest your head on for a nice snooze. I got more lumps on my head from my helmet, which I carelessly attached to the top of my pack so that whenever I slung it over my shoulder, my loose helmet would pick up momentum and make contact with my increasingly numbing cranium.
Made it back home in time to change and pick up June for an evening at Sun Plaza and a date with 'Hellboy.' The movie was ok, I guess, predictable, but Ron Pearlman makes a convincing monster-who-makes-good, as he usually does. Issues of nature vs. nurture; isolation & alienation; the power of choice crop up. No surprises.
Tomorrow, a pile of compre scripts await marking. I can't wait...

Friday, April 16, 2004

Tired as I was, I went bowling again at Plaza Bowl. Really felt the need to get a good 'feel' of those lanes. Nodded all the way in Vince's car, so I wasn't much good company for him. It was so hot, and I was drained.
Bowling scores don't build much confidence though. 1st game, I fell just short of 100! Eventually crawled up to decent average only after 6 games. Must remember I don't have 6 games to warm up before the tournament. Yipes!
Nevertheless, Anthony is still hitting hard and hitting well. Bought himself a new ball and new shoes and took a few games to get used to them. His investment seems to have paid off -- by the last game he scored a personal best of 218!!! His 5-in-a-row from the 7th frame skyrocketed him beyond reach. Hmm... makes me want to buy a ball too, but I don't have a car and lugging 11-12 pounds to and from SAFRA on foot isn't my idea of fun.
If he can maintain and I can just improve form a little, the championship is ours! Bwa ha ha!
Met Cindy and Robin for the first time today. At last I can put faces to names in our breakfast table discussions. Bowling doesn't seem to be Cindy's cup of tea, but then she doesn't have a tournament to prepare for. Robin's bowling tips were useful, but I'd really have to get a ball of my own in order to put them to best use. The grip and palm support are virtually impossible to get right using generic house balls.
Cara's still bowling with some consistency. Good first throws, but now needs to work more on getting her spares. Vince needs more time on these lanes, def. C'mon, Phoenix, you've got to try threaten Dragon at least so they have worries on 2 fronts! Pressure on!
Aches and pains all over now. What do you expect after 6 games? Hope I can recover in time for at least one more session on Monday, and then... Bowling Challenge 2004, get ready for Team Pegasus!
Rah! Rah!
June joined me for dinner at the old faithful Islamic Restaurant. Briani is still quite ok but cucumber salad was bitter tonight. And the lime juice had some wierd jasmine flavour to it that tasted just wrong. bleargh! Had to order a bandung to wash the lime juice down.
Sloshed home hoofing it to Bugis Junction and City Hall then MRT back from Marina Bay. Standard if troublesome strategy if you really must get a seat on the train. Slept all the way back -- no surpriseszzz.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Mental note -- afternoon lessons powered by solar energy and energized with the ambience of demolition works less than 100m away are hell. No wonder we invented afternoon siestas. Cats know what they are doing. I envy Belle & Momo.
Screened ST:TNG "Lower Decks" episode. Good to watch it again. Saw parallels in current discussions on issues of education & pedagogy; tests & assessments; authority relationships; definitions of character; perceptions from both sides of the superior-subordinate fence; risk-taking based on solid grounds of moral courage; responsibility to duty; and friendship, loyalty & duty. Mei drew parallel to "Ros & Guil" but didn't elaborate. I love this episode, hope the rest of the audience could see so much too. Wish I had time to discuss it further. Would offer to discuss "Ros & Guil" too, a play I could really get my teeth into. Not here, though. Not today anyway.
Day 2 of I&E workshop. Lots of new ideas about the ideal learning environment. To sum: students create their own time-tables, pick subjects of their own choosing (not necessarily academic either), no more learning from textbooks (analogy I came up with: Learning about life from textbooks alone is like reading the rulebook but not playing the game -- you don't lose, but it's boring), students talk, teacher shuts up, work and play are indistinguishable, students' only work is solving real-world problems and meet real needs, putting their theoretical learning immediately to practical real-world application. Wonder what my students will think of this?
Will it really happen? Lots of things will have to change, most importantly teachers' relationships with their students. We have to see each other as equals. There has to be mutual trust that the work is worth doing, and therefore the work is done. Teachers will not go down to the students' level, but the students must have the confidence to come up to the teacher's level. We really are not that much different. The greater the perception of the distance, the harder the learning and teaching will be. In the end, regardless of the constraints that they keep reminding us about, this attitude or mindset will make the difference in the success or failure of I&E.

Went to Plaza Bowl today to try out the lanes before the Tournament next Wedesday. The lanes absolutely suck! We suspect the whole bowling alley slopes slightly to the right! It's not Yishun SAFRA so I'm afraid we're a little spoilt. What? No cute animations on the display scoreboard? Dang!
Nevertheless, I'm proud to say I still posted my personal best average in 4 games (abt. 143 -- it's not computerized so I'm not 100% sure), but I'm still nowhere in the league of Anthony or Yee. We started bowling better after Cara and John left, but I doubt it's any reflection on them. It took us that long to find the 'line'. Yee and John are our toughest opponents as far as we know, but Anthony and I are confident. Team Pegasus rules!

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Well, I wonder how long this self-indulgence is going to last? Why am I doing this? No, not rhetorical questions, but rather an attempt to get closer to the veritas so I can understand the quid est. Pilate's question to himself, man that he was, forced to make unenviable choices.
Here, perhaps, is one place where I can see my own choices develop and where I can weigh out the options that shape those choices. Here is a personal record of the things I will forget, me with memory like swiss cheese. Here are snapshots in words of people I know and people I am close to and people I wish never to forget. Here I practice what I preach and begin writing again. To be honest, I never really started, but while I am inspired now thanks to the faithful bloggers I visit now and then, if I don't start now I never will.
Hasif, Ying Mei, Sarah, Ming Yan, 'nette, Farisa, Gideon, Adam and a bunch of others, thank you for opening up an opportunity for my own self-indulgent ramblings and to be as honest to myself as you have been to yourselves. I don't like mirrors much but it is important to reflect on yourself occasionally. Textual reflection is more demanding in a way, but I think less painful, more cathartic.
Thanks for still reading. I had to clarify for myself the why. I hope I'm not this boring in my subsequent posts, and more insights will follow from behind the glass security doors where my desk is in the Staff Work Room.