Saturday, February 27, 2010


It's an honour to be among the fourth most trusted professions in S'pore. The top three positions are firefighters (they have no reason to lie), doctors (we trust them with our lives, basically), and judges ('cos if you can't trust a judge, whom can you trust?). And then there's us, the humble teacher, trusted with imparting knowledge and the right values to "the future of our nation".

Aw, shucks. We do our best.

On an unrelated note, Amy's link to Lennon's "Imagine" performed by the cast of "Glee" (below)

... contains lyrics that are perhaps too idealistic for me. Lennon isn't asking us to "Imagine" what could be, but rather what once was. Everything he wishes away are structures and institutions that humans have made and that make us human.  Look, we're already here and we're here to stay. Yes, we're made a mess of it and yes, we're responsible to clean it up. And we will try. But the only way Lennon is going to see his imagination become reality is if he includes one last verse beginning, "Imagine there's no people..."

I'm a cynic after all. Who knew?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sorry for the breakdown

In case you're wondering why the format of these entries now looks different and untidy, it's because NBS alerted me to the unfriendliness of ECHO Live, the new comments manager I had subscribed to. Note the past tense. I quote her official complaint

"... your Comment function comes with custom barriers. Sign in first...choose which profile to sign in with, wait for the program to load...And hence, I gave up. That blog isn't an interactive one, it's now officially a soliloquy."

Removing ECHO was a pain as it had somehow embedded itself into my blog template through some obscure HTML coding. Though no HTML expert, by trial and error I've finally restored Blogger as my comments manager. However, as a result I've lost all the comments to my previous entries. :(

Blindly messing about with unfamiliar code has also resulted in the messy layout, and I have no idea where the "Reactions" check boxes came from and how to remove them. I may have lost other functions too but I'll probably find out which specific ones over the next few days.

But anyway, the soliloquy is over. It was never meant to be one, anyway.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Under the sea

I had no idea women were banned from submarine operations.

What were the reservations of the Navy when they instituted the ban?

I suppose practical considerations like privacy and accommodation are valid. Besides, sub ops often isolate people for months on end, and in such cramped conditions emotional attachments and rivalries could easily arise and thereafter compromise the morale and operational readiness of the crew. Also the social and political fallout of having women killed in battle could reduce national will to pursue an aggressive course of action against an enemy over the long term.

These were the notions of sailors in ages past, when bringing a woman on board ship was once regarded as ominous to the voyage.

Today, the US Navy has relinquished such archaic thinking. The nature of modern battles places women on the frontlines regardless of the capacity they are serving in. In war, any target that moves is fair game, conscience and regret be damned. At least give the lady a rifle and she might be able to shoot back,increasing her chances of survival on the battlefield.

In combat, women strategize in ways that often blindside men (if you don't know this, you haven't fought one before), so male dependent enemy forces could be at quite a disadvatage when the US military machine employs its latest now not-so-secret weapon to its fullest and deadliest capacity.

But the biggest reservation against assigning women to the undersea corps has to be the negation of a very old joke. To the question, "what is long and hard and full of seamen?" the answer can no longer be "a submarine."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Free to any home!

Maui's been a naughty boy lately. Apparently, he's been overeating at breakfast so between the time I've gone off to work and June's just about leaving he's eaten not just his own share but has also robbed Momo and Kaiser of their shares, and consequently has upchucked it all in little piles all over the floor. Little wet piles of unchewed, mashed-together kibble all over the floor. June's mad 'cos she has to clean up everything before dashing off for the train, hoping the delay won't make her late.

As we're discussing the problem we hit on a few solutions: reduce everyone's rations by half. Print and distribute flyers offering a free cat to anyone who wants one. I suggested that to save money and material, we shoud just stuff Maui into a random mailbox and assume the best. June reminded me that Maui was so fat already, he'll never fit into a mailbox and still be in any condition that will keep his disposition sweet enough to be adopted. Eventually we decided to encase him in a crate large enough to accommodate his girth, weigh it down with his sandbox and a starter pack of kitty litter, and place it in a strategic location where a prospective adoptive family might be curious enough to lift the lid and be charmed by the no-longer-little ball of ginger-striped fur within.

Of course, none of those scenarios is ever going to come true. Oh... but the temptation...!

Anyway, that's my point. Never adopt a pet unless you're prepared to tolerate all the unglam inconveniences that comes with pet ownership. Don't give pets away as gifts either, it's unfair to stick your best whomever with an unwanted responsibility.

The same goes for having kids -- there are consequences. A baby is not a decision to be made willy nilly. Have or have not, there is no 'Maybe'.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"I will feed him"

This being the third Sunday of the month, June cooks up a chix curry for the old folks at Gift of Love and I provide transport. Still haven't quite warmed up to conversation with them yet...