Friday, February 06, 2009

Teachers behaving badly

What would the kids say if they ever saw their so-respectable teachers behaving like kindergarten children while playing 4-player "Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party" on a Wii? On that rather disturbing thought, thanks, Amy, for arranging tonight's fabulously hilarious CNY steam-boat dinner!

To say we had fun would be an understatement. :D

Hi, NBS and HP! Glad y'all could make the party too!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Life at the Improv

Improv games can be quite intimidating to have to engage in. Tina is making the kids do a lot of improv as a means to workshop and devise scenes from completely unrehearsed scenarios.

It's both amusing and annoying when the kids try to "take control" of the "situations" they find themselves in. They will gather for a chat about who is supposed to do what to create the scene, sort of mentally rehearsing their scene before they play it out. What's amusing is their elevated stress levels as they plan and project; what's annoying is that instead of watching a scene, the audience only sees a gaggle of kids huddling in a circle trying to decide what "should" be.

While there is a time and place for meeting and planning, much of what happens in life is unexpected and unrehearsed and it's important for us to improv through many potentially ridiculous situations in which "should" goes out the window in favour of "is".

Improv works when the players simply respond to whatever probable or improbable proposition is made to them through their fellow players. If someone suggests there is a giant spider behind their backs, the other players will accept such and move the scene along by simply responding to the fact. But scenes grind to a halt when certain players start dictating how the other players "should" react, or when players dispute the offer -- basically going into denial.

We play the same game in life. Much of what we encounter are unrehearsed scenes where the only rule is to accept the offer (good or bad, happy or sad, etc.) and move the scene along. Where we mess up in life is when we try to control the uncontrollable, or when we deny the probablilty or even the justice of what is happening to us.

Remember, our job is to move the scene along. Failure is when we bring our scene to a grinding halt.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

When evil is evil, and good is clueless

The first movie I pick to watch this year was an orgy of of gore and senseless violence. It's about killing with perfunctory efficiency using small-arms, blades, and whatever else within grabbing range that can send a guy to meet his maker without the fuss and bother of a fair trial before a jury of his peers.

Enough clues? Yes, I watched "Punisher: War Zone", featuring everyone's favourite Marvel non-super non-hero psychopath, the Punisher. And the preceding paragraph roughly summarizes the plot.

This is by no means a critique of the movie. I take my hat off to director, Lexi Alexander, who courageously dispenses with a long, convoluted plot and opts in favour of dropping us straight into the world as Frank Castle himself views it: war with no end, any threat to the innocent is expeditiously removed because the good don't have a clue how to take care of themselves.

The only complication Castle finds himself in is that sometimes we can't immediately tell good from evil, and he has to come to terms with a mistake he makes while pursuing his own course of justice.

P:WZ is no summer blockbuster. I'm glad it doesn't even pretend to be. An acquired taste, then, and definitely not meant for everyone. There are few high points and even then, few as they are, they are tinged with uneasiness. There are "funny" moments, though we laugh only because there's no other way to deal with the brutality of the dispatch. There's a sense of, "Yes! Justice!", but at the same time, "OmG, what a way to go."

Welcome to the world of the Punisher. Thankfully for most of us, we don't live there.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Darwin Award candidate

Something should be done about dangerous barriers

I WISH to highlight the dangerous crossing for pedestrians walking to Thomson Plaza from Jasmine Road.

There is a side road at Thomson Plaza, near the Starbucks outlet. It has four lanes, one for cars and taxis to enter, one for cars to exit the carpark, and two for trade vehicles to enter and exit the delivery area.

There are two barriers across the lanes for trade vehicles and a zebra crossing across the other two lanes. As the traffic there can be heavy, most people use the zebra crossing. But one must negotiate the lanes for trade vehicles before reaching the crossing.

Recently, as I was walking to Thomson Plaza, I decided to go through the lanes for trade vehicles to get to the zebra crossing. One barrier was down while the other was up. It was about 1pm and there were no security guards stationed there. As I walked between the two barriers, one came down and hit my head.

I stumbled into Thomson Plaza for help and sought medical attention at a clinic. The doctor who attended to me told me that she too had been hit by the barrier, but that her umbrella had shielded her from the blow.

I wrote to the mall's management on Dec 21, five days after the accident, to ask them to rectify the problem. I have not received a reply.

Clarice Tan (Mrs)

(STI online Forum, 2 February 2009)



The injury to your head must have been quite serious for you to be raising via the local dailies this oversight of due diligence. One possible countermeasure to prevent a repeat occurrence of this eventuality is to avoid walking under raised barriers altogether. This simple and basic precaution has saved thousands of heads from similar Blunt Force Trauma attempts committed by such wayward barriers as you have had the misfortune to encounter, and millions of dollars in medical fees thereafter.

You raise a legitimate concern regarding the lack of security guards stationed at the barriers. The emergence of sensor-equipped automatic barriers has completely eradicated the need for a manual labourer to perform this operation, forcing yet another uncle to undergo retraining in order to find alternative employment. Perhaps you'll be good enough and employ one to hold an umbrella above your head while you go strolling to the mall from now on?

Nevertheless, we must make allowances for some people who insist on swimming in the crocodile pond even after seeing the lifeguard on duty being devoured. To them, we present an award for thinning the gene pool, hence making the future safer for our descendants.