Thursday, March 10, 2005

Amazing. I hypothesized a scenario with my students just a couple of days ago: what if PEARLS was scrapped? On freeing up this time committment from students, what kind of activities would they pursue out of interest rather than for incentive? Sorry to say most of my students couldn't conceptualize this possibility.

Today, this sacred cow lies dead in a mercy killing. No more PEARLS for this current batch of J1s onwards. What was unthinkable just a day or so ago has become reality today. The kids are free! There will probably be a lot of unhappy, aimless souls casting around for some sense of structure in which once they felt comfortably constrained in, at least initially, but it's time people realised that forcing kids to participate in activities is not the responsibility, nor even the calling, of schools and colleges.

As with any other transition, there will be an awkward stage as we find new stability but I think we've taken another step towards becoming a more mature people. It all depends now on whether kids and their parents and teachers(!) can cope with the insecurity of driving without a safety belt, with the kids themselves in the driver's seat.

Edit 01:
It was Q-tip's 1st outing to the Colbar. She made the acquaintance of Wendy and Anthony and may have planted a seed of a thought in them about accessorizing their new apartment with a canine of similar size and temprament. She sat quietly while we took turns to put her on our laps as we chatted.

Weng joined us later and purchased a small bag of pork crisps from the bar. He passed the bag around and June took a piece, like we all did. Wendy's piece was quite large and by it's appearance I recognized it for what it was -- deep fried pork lard, the stuff they use in tiny bits to flavour some local fried noodle dishes. June hates to see them in her fried noodles and will hunt down every last one of them, putting them in a neat little pile at the side of her dish. Tonight, however, she was quite happily munching away on her piece of pork lard, not knowing what it was. I couldn't stop myself from announcing my discovery out loud, "chee yao cha!" June's face changed. She choked and spluttered then disappeared indoors to parts unknown and we didn't see her again for a couple of minutes while she rinsed out her mouth with Dettol. Moral of story: Ignorance is bliss, or a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

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