Saturday, March 13, 2010

According to Me

According to you
I'm difficult
Hard to please
Forever changing my mind
I'm a mess in a dress
Can't show up on time
Even if it would save my life
According to you
According to you

But according to him
I'm beautiful, incredible
He can't get me out of his head
According to him
I'm funny, irresistible
Everything he ever wanted
Everything is opposite
I don't feel like stopping it
So baby tell me what I got to lose
He's into me for everything I'm not
According to you

Sorry, Orianthi, but According to Me,
assuming you've been in the relationship long enough, the one who truly loves you is Mr "you". Mr "him" is only out to exploit your gullibility and cheat you of your money, your goodwill, and anything else you might have of value. And that's all.

There's nothing like being taken well and truly for granted to know that your relationship is secure. See, when "you" complains about you, it's because "you" is prepared to see you for what you really are -- and what you are not. "You" no longer needs to pretend to be head-over-heels in love (that's a tough act to maintain for long, anyway). Likewise, there's no more pressure on you to keep hiding your flaws from "you", yet "you" is still by your side, still your man.

The only thing that's going for "him" is a sweet tongue -- and most likely a sweet tooth to go with it. Once he's got past your wrapper, he'll just suck you dry and spit you out when all the sweetness has gone.

So, Orianthi, ma'am, catchy song, but Me isn't buying your little tantrum.

Blindly into the future

First term is over. Time for a little reflection on the tumultuous couple of months that have just passed. Big realization comes hot on the heels of the iCTLT: what the heck are we trying to do, preparing the kids for a future neither they nor we nor the experts have a clue about? We're the blind leading the blind, and where we're going, nobody knows.

We're better off simply preparing the kids for a much more certain here and now. If you don't do your homework, if you don't practice this past exam paper, you will fail your end-of-year exams. That's pretty certain.

Why go all the way out of our depth about this? We should let go, and let the kids discover their future for themselves. That's their destiny, and they will embrace it, and adapt themselves to it when it becomes relevant to them. For now, their only future lies 7-8 months ahead of them. That's as far as they can see, and in reality, our crystal ball only scries within the same limits.

School isn't about preparing kids for the future. Never was. School is about teaching kids the wisdom of their elders, their traditions and their roots. Let's continue to do what we've always done best: ground kids in the skills and techniques that have worked well for us, and let them figure out how to innovate around what we've taught them in order to get around the problems they will face in the future. It's up to us to give them the base of our past knowledge and up to them to inscribe the knowledge they acquire from the future to pass on to their subsequent generations.

If they don't learn their past from school, they won't learn it anywhere else.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Talking in class

Improving the proficiency of our spoken languages is a step in the right direction. People learned to speak first, and only when they discovered that what some people were saying was meaningful then we developed the skill to record speech through writing. What our schools have been doing is putting the cart before the horse and making written language a priority over spoken language because its easier to mark to a standard.

About time they fixed things. I've always believed that as you talk, so shall you write -- so it's pointless to teach people to write before they can talk. If drama and story-telling are truly coming to the fore with today's Parliamentary recommendations, I guess yours truly has a reason to stay employed for a while longer. Apart from needing to eat, of course.

But no exams, please. Some things have to be taught for their utility alone. When you stick in an exam, as soon as the exam is over there's no further motivation to use it ever again. Keep the exams on the written papers, let the oral component just support the written component. That'll be the best deal for everyone.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Universally within our means

Jim Simon takes issue with Universal Studios Singapore for charging its unlimited all-year pass with special privileges at an exorbitant S$1098. That's much like someone craving a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost when he can only afford a Kia Picanto. For most of us, a Picanto's good enough. It's cheap, gets us to places we wanna go, and most of all, it's available to anyone who wants one.

Dude, open your eyes. There's a S$66 option for those of us who can't afford better and are prepared to rough it just for a day in our lives. The 'Annual Superstar Pass' is meant for people who can hang out and live at Universal Studios the whole year 'round. That kinda' assumes they don't work for a living. And if they don't work for a living, then they probably are the sort who think S$1098 is a mere frivolity to their daily expenses.

In the free market, there's things affordable to the workaday masses like us, and there's the luxuries for the few who aren't us. Let's learn to live within our means and not be in such a huff that we can't exercise our sense of entitlement if we aren't willing to pay for it.

Drink with me

Wow! Great news for womenfolk, right after International Women's Day even. Avoid getting fat by drinking alcohol! Did I die and wake up in women's heaven? See article here for how you can booze away the bulge.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Construction noises in the background

9 pages from an NYT article, "Building a Better Teacher." Today is for listening, not talking.

COMFORT goes co-op

We generally revile taxi drivers as a profession. They drive too fast, they drive too slow, they cut other drivers off abruptly and slam on their brakes at the last second to pick up a fare.

Must be a cut-throat business with so many cab drivers plying the streets competing for a dwindling number of potential passengers. With so many strange fare surcharges these days, people are starting to consider owning their own vehicles as a cheaper option for getting around town.

But look! In order to obtain a bigger slice of pie per cab driver, instead of competing each other off the roads, they're building a communication network to share information with each other.

Expanding market share by killing competition: Bad. Expanding market opportunities by sharing information: Good. Cooperation is the name of the game, people! Sesame Street may have had it right all along.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


As before, while immersed in iCTLT mania there's the tendency to get over-hyped with all the new concepts and ideas buzzing around and the temptation to turn this platform into a pulpit preaching change, innovate, move! There's the appeal to start participating in discussions with people who know so much more, have so much more experience, and actually know what they're talking about.

But sooner or later the reality hits home that there's no place in that discussion for Xmac's idealist fantasies and techno fetishes. Especially not when he is still unable to reconcile technical methodology with pen-and-paper results.

Xmac has no credibility discussing matters beyond his ken. So he will continue to talk about his dog, and his friends, and other random things fluffy and inconsequential instead:

Yesterday, Q-tip had the time of her life being petted and fussed over by many hands and one giant golden retriever at the college Sports Carny. After, we together with the usual suspects, feasted on meat at Brewerkz -- cool, another dog-friendly place to spend an afternoon. Dinner we celebrated with more meat catered by the Botak one in celebration of FLY-girl's, um, "21st" birthday.

Goodnight, dear diary.