Saturday, September 03, 2005

Started the day early by driving down to Pasir Ris to be part of the Yellow Ribbon Walk. This event is to remind ourselves that ex-cons should be given a 2nd chance to rebuild their lives once they have paid their dues to society. The walk began at the old Changi Prison gates and extended for 3.2 km to end at Pasir Ris Town Park. The walk symbolized the road to freedom from confinement behind bars.

It seemed appropriate for us to walk the route too, considering that for the whole week we were too busy to take Q-tip out anywhere. It was an opportunity for her to make up for the lost exercise . We smuggled her in her carrier onto the shuttle-bus taking us to our stating point, then slowly let her emerge at various stages throughout the walk. First, we opened the bag, then we let her stick her head out, then we carried her outside her bag, and finally we let her walk the last kilometer or so on leash.

My CT was too scattered to meet properly, but I did catch sightings of a number of them along the way. Hope y'all had a fruitful morning!

In the afternoon we were off to the petanque courts to help Anthony with his International. It was exciting being tournament officials for an world-recognized event. We and Weng handled the administration of scoring and the assignment of courts for the different countries to play their games.

It was tiring sitting in the afternoon heat despite being under tentage and the wait between the arrival of new scores was tedious. Then as scoresheets are handed to us there is a flurry of activity to fill up the just vacated court and to get the scoreboard updated.

June and I were assigned official scorekeepers for the Individual section of the tournament. Weng hastily explained the game to us, then threw us into the deep end with pen, clipboard and scoresheet in hand. Basically, our job was simple: watch for the Arbiter (judge) to decide how many points to award for a throw, then agreeing with his assessment before writing it down in our scoresheets.

Didn't get finished till after 2100 hrs. Supper and socializing at Newton hawker centre the rest of the evening. More of the same tomorrow, then BKK the day after!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Finally we get to the end of the term and a much needed break. Today I had fun discussing facets of Singapore life with small groups of kids from within my tutorials. I assigned different small groups to look into parts of the NDay Rally '05 speech and we had a good discussion (i.e., not me talking all the time, but hearing what the kids had to say about things) on issues such as our ageing population, the need for I&E, remaking ourselves, service culture and whatever else he said.

As we discussed, it was interesting to see how you tried to put forward politically-correct viewpoints, then getting yourselves stuck because you didn't really believe what you were saying. "We should take care of the elderly because, ya know, they brought us up and all." "I&E is good for our economy because it can increase our productivity and our country will prosper." Ad nauseum. Platitudes and catchphrases; buzzwords but nothing within the realm of genuine experience for you.

But because of the small group (3 pax max), as you talked you began to see the implications of what was happening around you because it does directly involve you when you become young working adults:

JC no longer has the 'elite' status it once had. It's now a level playing field and your competition isn't from the "top 5" any longer. You're competing against all your peers including those from the Polys and the Technical Institutes as well! So...

If you want to eat, you've got to stop priding yourselves on your ability to copy and replicate things (old-school mass-production mentality) and start generating your own ideas, dreaming dreams, and making things happen for yourselves (KBE) and learn to serve others with pride instead (service culture) -- abilities that your competitors quickly develop in a more hands-on environment than yours.

And you can't think of feeding just yourselves alone any more. As we old fogies continue to grey our population, our age is eventually going to put us out of work and we're going to count on you, youngsters, to foot our bills. And pay for our ever increasing healthcare costs as well. Suddenly your position has become a lot more precarious than you thought, eh?

What was most fun was putting you a little on edge, making you think about things that directly affect you in a real way, and watching worry creep across your brows in a way I've never seen before. How will you adapt to these new realities? What will it take for you to survive and even enjoy the upcoming few years? Guess that's going to be your holiday assignment from me. We'll talk more next term, ok?

3 straight hours of this sort of discussion can be terribly draining, though. By the time the 4th tutorial hour came around, I was drained and grew increasingly incoherent. Those of you I advised in my late afternoon slot I have no recollection of what I said to you, so better not take me too seriously.

1 weekend out from BKK. I'm in vacation mood!
And today in brief:
Sent M2 for 10000 km servicing.
Met June, Amy and HP for lunch at Maestro Bistro, Cineleisure.
Watched Herbie Fully Loaded with Amy and HP.
Watched MU's Open Rehearsal Performance in which our Drama Club contributed an item.
Ran over to M-i-L's to eat nephew's birthday cake and deliver a "present" to the birthday boy.
No wonder I'm tired.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Today was the Teachers' Day celebration in college. Oddly enough, the staff performed concert items, the students sat and watched. Usually, it's the other way around. But anyway, this occasion marked the inaugural usage of the new parade square for official college business, and here P announced her retirement to the whole college as well.

Q-tip is happiest beneficiary of my TDay gift from the college management -- 2 punnets of strawberries. Posted by Picasa

And S3D, thanks for the card and your individual messages -- all the nice things you said. :)
I'll continue working hard for you, just remember to keep me on my toes, ok?

Spent 2 hours after the celebrations helping to facilitate a staff workshop on Reasoning a la Richard Paul, though most of the attendees already knew something about it or were already using it in some form or other in their classes already. Guess it's good to consolidate and standardize everything for all departments, but it does make for a dry session when preaching to the converted. Talked too much during my section of the sharing, but if you look at most of the entries in this blog, you'll know it's a trait of mine to ramble on and on and on...

Still reading? Wow!

Celebrated with Vince, Amy, Yee and HP at the Gardens' Country Manna, then went bowling [again!!] the rest of the afternoon.

In the evening I made a turkey delivery (don't ask) to M-i-L's, met June there then drove down to meet Anthony at the petanque courts in Toa Payoh to help him set up for the International petanque tourney scheduled for this weekend. We strung up bunting, ran cable and attempted to assemble the rather large scoreboard in an easily seen location. June also busied herself cleaning up the grimy-looking water-cooler from which the participants will be drinking during the competition. By 2220 or so we were done. For our assistance, Anthony treated us to a Milo Dinosaur each at The Prata House. We gratefully lapped it up, then went on a mooncake delivery (M-i-L's homemade masterpieces) to my Mom's.

Dragged ourselves home past midnight and to bed immediately, hence and forthwith. 'night 'night!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Yay! Table #1 at the annual staff dinner - Anthony - Bhagia - Yee + Gerald. Posted by Picasa

Our table was in the darkest corner, and for most of the evening we were left to our own devices. Staff dinners are usually semi-formal occasions where the CC-NY schools we belong to recognize our hard work by buying us a 10-course Chinese meal. It also doubles as an initiation ceremony for new staff who put together some "entertainment" to display their talents for singing, dancing, acting and humiliating themselves in public. Essential qualities for a teacher to have, I think, considering the environment we work in.

This year's theme was "Cartoons," so Table #1 came as ourselves. 'nuff said. JY dressed as Snow White but it was just too bad that the dwarves at her table were taller than her. Haha.

The usual highlight was the Lucky Draw. Appropriately enough, Table #1 emerged luckiest table being drawn for the 1st prize in the Table Draw. We each got $20 worth of vouchers from Isetan. I have no doubt June will put my set to good use as will Wendy for Anthony. In the Individual category, Mel won a Metro stored value card, $25 I believe it was. Guess they're telling us to go get some grown-up clothes for ourselves to wear to work. :P

Despite Anthony's and Vince's will to win a top individual draw prize, they were no match for Tam who warded off our lucky charms and spells with the occasional incantation and a wave of his hands and secured the 1st prize for his table mate, TSL, who had only a couple of days ago remarked to me that she had never won anything before in her life. I told her she won the cubicle directly opposite mine, but that probably wasn't enough for her. Tonight she staggered home with a mini home theatre system including the all-important DVD player. I feel so belittled now.

Went bowling [again!] after dinner, and because she had left her make-up case in M2, Mel came along for the ride and bowled with us. And got very excited. Another bowling kaki in the making? We'll see.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Can't believe we've hit the last week of term 3 already. Prelims begin tomorrow for the Seniors, coinciding with our annual combined staff dinner with our sibling campuses; them whom we very nearly became named after during a recent scare a couple of months back. Though we got advance notice weeks ago we haven't had time to think about how our table is going to fit into this year's theme: Cartoons. A bit broad, ya?

Dunno what else to say... day quite uneventful.

Had an unscheduled tea-and-prata session and it was nice to have new company joining us: Avril and Josh amongst the regular crowd.

Bah. Guess I'm not in the mood to write today. Sorry.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Dinner with Q-tip at Bliss, Punggol Park. Posted by Picasa

Bliss was June's #2 choice for last week's venue before she decided on Sage. Tonight we dined on sirloin steak (rare with slightly overcooked veggies on the side); and a mixed seafood spaghetti in white wine sauce featuring a prawn whose head was bigger than the rest of its body.

Ambience was not too bad. Garden al fresco dining with a view of the lake pond and a cool evening breeze. The footpaths were crowded with humans and dogs on a walk, 'bladers, cyclists and joggers. Mid-meal we were treated to a spectacle a two-bicycle collision. Bloodless entertainment.

And Q-tip made a couple of new friends.
Just a quick note (in this belated entry) of another milestone I've reached in life and quietly acknowledged through a hard-copy letter I received yesterday. The letter announces that I have fulfilled my national service liability and I can bid goodbye to Uncle Seng once and for all. No more in-camps, no more mobs, no more tactical training and skills proficiency tests. It's over!!!!

From now on you may address me by my official title, Lcp (NS Ret.) "Xmac."

I never thought I would see the day.

Edit 01:
In the evening, the Drama Club bade farewell to our '05 seniors at BBQ pit 61, ECP. Nice place, less crowded than the location nearer the McD's and so breezy! The price of course, is the long walk to get here from civilization. No official programme; just burn food, eat, chat, sit by the sea and not necessarily in that order even. We'll let the pix tell the story:

Having survived his pre-election interview, Fran takes on yet another grilling. Posted by Picasa

The Wizard attempts to break the world speed record for chugging down a cup of soda. Posted by Picasa

'rini stays focused and determined as she butters up a chicken nugget. Posted by Picasa

Proof that things haven't changed much since human beings discovered fire. Posted by Picasa

Terry holds up marshmallows to represent the absent members of Mel's 04A2 in this class photo. Posted by Picasa

Girls never grow out of playing with their Barbie. Posted by Picasa

Darth Mel looks pleased with her new minion. Posted by Picasa

The Jedi rule of 1 master, 1 apprentice is another tradition lost since the MOE took over. Posted by Picasa

I won't complain about crap night shots again -- this new toy is awesome! Thanks guys!