Saturday, April 25, 2009

We might have to clap in shifts

College Day: the day to recognize kids' achievements in academic and co-curricula pursuits, and for a rare few, both. We also use the occasion to inspire the other kids to do better so that they can take their own place on the stage the following year.

As teachers, we are justifiably proud of our students when we know we have contributed in some way to their success. But as much as we like to celebrate our aces, I thought I'd remind myself that the other kids -- the not-so-successful ones; the pains-in-the-neck; the ones who make me want to cough blood and die; yeah, those -- are no less valuable, and are just as worthy of my time and attention as well. Just because they don't score aces doesn't necessarily mean they aren't learning; and sometimes even when they don't display brilliance in exam conditions, it just means that their skills will emerge when they really need them perhaps a little further down the road.

So for me, College Day isn't just about the swots and muggers, but for all our kids regardless of achievement. Congrats to all of you!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bits of randomness

"I appreciate the compliment, Chu-bi Wan. Have patience, and one day you too will master the art of Cat Fu."

"Dessert. Now. Please."

Finally got these pix uploaded like I promised. That means June's home from Beijing! Yay! No more instant noodles for dinner.

Dunno what's wrong with me the past few days. Simply could not come up with a single coherent thought, and had even more trouble reaching for appropriate vocabulary to use even in conversation with friends and colleagues. It's been like my neurons shorting out or something. Maybe I just need more sleep.

Meantime, NBS had the courage to offer herself up to be ravaged by the usual whiners and axe-to-grinders who stalk the ST online opinion pages. I don't subscribe to abuse therapy to deal with my boredom, but sometimes it's fun to poke the hornets' nest with a stick then stand back and laugh at their angry, pointless buzzing. I guess that could be therapeutic. I guess.

And a shout out to the little Swift who was just minding her own business when an oblivious truck jammed his nose up her butt: "Get well soon!"

Monday, April 20, 2009

Geek gushes over gorgeous gal

Omg, she's a beauty! For an older lady, she's still got the curves and the moves to make these eyes o' mine water. A gal like her is so hard to find these days. Majestic, graceful, yet cheeky enough for a little fun when she's not taking care of serious business, she's still got it in her to turn heads with her presence. At first glance, she may not look immediately appealing, with her twin humps disconcertingly distracting from her sleek figure. But I've observed her long enough, and have grown accustomed to her unique charms. And now I just can't take my eyes off her. I simply must take her home, care for her and treat her real nice, and I just know she'll take me to the heights of my desire.

Sigh. Wish I had £1.5-2 mil.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A change of leadership

We have been playing around with the notion of democracy so much that we actually think we are a democratic nation. Going by the unhappiness over the sudden and abrupt change of leadership in women's advocate group, AWARE, it's become apparent that we have no concept at all about what "democracy" means, or what its implications are. Or the fact that adopting democratic principles presupposes the voting members are responsible people who perform their due diligence before they vote and then are prepared to live with the decision they have made.

No. Here, democracy's peachy -- as long as it returns the status quo. But all hell breaks loose when the unexpected results. Accusations fly over questionable tactics and ethics; hidden agenda and conspiracy theories surface; and everyone wonders what went wrong, as if the defeat of the incumbent was a moral violation of some sort.

Democracy is a contest, not a procedure. There will be a winner and there will be a loser. The one who knows and prepares the ground best wins, the other... well, there's always the next election. My guess is that the previous leadership of AWARE simply took this election as a formal procedure to legitimize its position in the forthcoming term, and wasn't prepared to slug it out with a candidate who was in it to win it. Result: ah, there's the beauty of democracy, isn't it? If the people feel it's time for a change of leadership, then leadership makes a peaceful transition, thus eliminating a full-blown civil war ending with the loser's head on a pike.

But at this time in our nation's development, we haven't quite figured out this aspect of our cherished democratic principles yet. If AWARE is any indication of the ground today, then we're looking at a people that really want to see change take place. The next General Election may prove to be a hotter, more serious contest than it has ever been since independence. The previously lethargic opposition may take this incident as a sign to launch a major offensive to capitalize on shifting ground support while the incumbents should know by now to prep for a real battle on their hands this time.

Could this event mark a turning point in our voters' appreciation of the concept of democracy: that their choices really do matter, and that they have to be responsible for the votes they will be casting? That their votes must be based on an intelligent assessment of the options available and not simply made as a matter of course or reflex? An advocacy group can take time out for hand-wringing (though I think they would much prefer neck-wringing), but national government has no time for anything else other than business as usual regardless of the result. And we, the voters, must learn to peacefully accept the outcome because it was the choice we made. Else it'll be another battle of different coloured shirts as we tear our own country apart. Who needs enemies then?

If we didn't know the first thing about democracy before, now's the time to be AWARE.