Saturday, October 03, 2009

Talented and bemused

These are the days of messing around with a video camera and shooting my friends and colleagues for a short little thing that will soon see the light of day.

We're shooting under very tight constraints, yet I've amazed myself in being able to capture the primary footage as of yesterday evening, and already get the rushes edited by this evening.

Wish I could say more about the final product, but there's still some post-production left to be done. The good news is that despite my deadline worries, I will deliver to my client on time after all. No extensions necessary.

Couldn't have done it without the cooperation of my talented and bemused co-workers who lent their faces and bodies to the shoot. I made them do things even though they didn't have much clue how my directions could possibly have made sense, especially since I involved different people in only different fragments of the shoot. Thanks for the trust, people!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Domestic violence

Woke up past midnight from a commotion in the house. There was the sound of scampering feet and unusual vocalizations that were quite unnerving. Turns out that Q-tip had been caught in the act of sniffing around the cats' feeding area, probably trying her luck scrounging for leftovers, and got a pummelling for her indiscretion. Chasing her off apparently wasn't enough. Whoever it was kept taking swipes at Q-tip's retreating behind all the way back to her territory, our bedroom.

When cats take swipes, they do it with claws extended. We found a spot of blood on Q-tip but when we cleaned the wound we found lots more scratches all over her butt and back. She looked like Wolverine had tried to shave her, quite ineptly too.

Back at the crime scene, we examined each cat's claws for blood trace, but the perfect crime had been committed. No blood to be found anywhere to indicate which suspect was the perp. Regardless, each of them will get their claws trimmed today, just to be safe.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

98 years old

Been going to the vet's over the last couple of days. Mimi is 14 years old, and though she doesn't look or behave like it, her age is taking its toll. We took her in yesterday for a urinary tract infection and Dr Kasey advised spaying while treating this uncomfortable symptom.

Spaying, as I understand it now, amounts to a hysterectomy and Mimi's womb clearly needed removal. The infection had swollen her womb to several times its normal size, weighing in at 600g. That contributes to quite a sizeable percentage of her total body weight, considering she's quite a small dog to begin with.

Mimi's doing fine as of our visit tonight. She's no longer in an anaesthetized stupor but was very happy to see us. She wolfed down the chix leg we brought for her and paced her cage, barking weakly the whole time, clearly wanting us to take her home. But she needs one more night of observation before she can be discharged. That should be tomorrow night.

Dr Kasey also showed us some other areas of concern including her weakened heart and worrisome-looking liver, and informed us that he was putting her on long-term medication for those problems. But going by her reception of us tonight, there's still a lot of fight in the old girl yet.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lunchtime toast

There were four of us at Charco's for an off-campus lunch: me with Dee, HP and Jojo. Don't know if she was inspired by Mel singing drinking songs she'd learned in the UK (Mel firmly believes in an all-rounded education) but in the middle of lunch, Jojo raised a glass and offered a toast to our workplace for being the happiest workplace she's ever worked in.

Hear, hear! For those of us who have worked elsewhere before, we can really appreciate the faculty life on our campus. It may not be so obvious to newbie employees who arrive fresh on our doorstep yearning to spread their wings further afield, but to us battle-scarred veterans of the corporate trenches, even amidst the chaos and hubbub of JC academia, I honestly number ourselves among the lucky few who've made it back to Old Blighty.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Undo the damage

There is a very compelling reason why we need to undo the damage to the quality of spoken English around here. I mean, Singlish is fine for friendly, personal, letting-yourself-go social conversation. This localized lingo is one form of culture we can truly say developed naturally from our little island, and is a touchstone of our identity at home and abroad, but it simply won't do as a medium of academic discourse. Especially if the local version of the language is the only one we use, but our written secondary and post-secondary language exams are set and graded by language academics in Cambridge, England.

But exam grades are just one little thing. Rubrics and tolerances balance each other out and collectively, grades simply point which direction the wind is generally blowing. What matters more is the level of engagement our kids have with texts that are not primarily written in the local vernacular and responding to them at the same level.

It's not a matter of which version is 'superior' or 'inferior' but rather whether one's command of language either facilitates or impedes understanding between people trying to communicate with one another. If there is no or little understanding, then there is a failure to communicate. In school terms, either the text is not getting through to the candidate, or the candidate isn't getting through to the marker, or both. Whichever, that is what the 'FAIL' grade pragmatically represents.

But that's just the grade. On the grander scale, too many people stuck in Singlish mode, unable to code-switch to the standard English of academic and intellectual discourse means too many Singaporeans being unable to participate in and contribute to complex and abstract thought.

If this is true, then our Colonial Masters haven't really left. We've just made it easier for them to give us our orders because we're proud to have 'upgraded' ourselves to speak a little more like them. But with this level of language ability, we are still unable to view them on equal terms.

Outside my window

Look at the time. 0213 hrs. I don't have a good reason for being up this late. Nevertheless, here I am sitting on my horrifically clawed sofa and listening the the howl of the wind just outside my apartment windows. And now the rain has just started to come down in large splashy drops. There is going to be such a storm tonight, once the lightning and thunder get going. I'm actually tempted to just stare outside and witness what looks to be a very dramatic climactic event. Maybe I'll do that for five minutes, then try to go to sleep.