LG

today, i went.

i met.

Linda Grant from Liverpool.

a few others, including one from Wolverhampton and one from Wales.

we talked.

i had fun.

oh, i also bought and she signed.

i left.

Published in: on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

well done!

today, almost 50000 primary 6 pupils received their PSLE results. as expected, the top dog in my school is a certain mr lau who achieved a certain aggregate in 282. the overall top pupil in Singapore is a Malay girl with a score of 294. for those not in the know, such scores are derived using the bell curve for each of the four major subjects. anyway, i’m happy for mr lau, mr chow, ms kwek and ms gan for scoring above 260. and of course, i must also congratulate the rest of my pupils who have made it to secondary school education. after working so hard with all of them, i am proud of what they have achieved, all 84 of them. different pupils and parents came up to me and thanked me. i might have played a part in their results, but i’m pretty sure for the most of it, their effort dominated proceedings. so pupils of 6A and 6B, and the rest of the classes, well done! now i can retire from teaching and move on to the next phase of my life without regrets.

and happy wedding anniversary to the two of us! 🙂

Published in: on Thursday, November 22, 2007 at 10:17 pm  Comments (9)  
Tags: , ,

Be Nice

Jennifer and I took Faith to the cinema to watch “Bee Movie“, something we had promised our little girl who is slowly but definitely growing into a big girl. Before we bought the tickets, a young man came to us and offered to buy us the tickets at a discounted price. The usual price for one ticket was $7. But he had a member’s privilege card which could get us one ticket for $5.

Like any ordinary Singaporean, we were skeptical about this. Was this man trying to hoodwink us into something scheming? Why was he so nice to us? He didn’t really push it, but I thanked him and went along with it. He used his card to buy us two tickets at $10. We thanked him again and looked at each other, still questioning his motive.

Minutes later, we met him at the food court. I thanked him again and told him honestly that we were doubting him. He said there were others who did not believe him and refused his offer. I told him perhaps this is a “Singaporean” thing – we are not nice to people and we don’t believe that people can be nice. As I reflect on this incident, I feel ashamed when I think of times when I choose not to be nice to people, and worse still, I doubt people who are nice. The scant consolation could be that there are probably others out there who behave like me.

Well, I have been nice to people the last few years, but believing in people who are nice is something I’m still learning to do. Anyway, I offered to buy Fred (he told me later) a cup of tea. He accepted my offer, but had to rush off for his movie. It was a pity that I could not get hold of his number, for I think he really is a nice guy.

Anyway, “Bee Movie” is strictly not suitable for young children because most of them will probably not understand the jokes in the show. My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter said she enjoyed the show. I believed her. And I think she is falling sick. Have to observe her closely.

After passing my exam papers, I’m left with one more next week. Then, I will embark on a new journey.

My pupils’ PSLE results will be released tomorrow. I’m excited, and I believe my pupils’ feelings and emotions are stronger. Keeping all our fingers crossed.

By the way, I’ve finally got my hands on “A Half Life of One” by brilliant Bill, and he is a nice bloke. Looking forward to devouring his words this December.

Published in: on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 at 11:50 pm  Comments (5)  
Tags: , , ,

forget Bond, get Bourne!

took some time off in the afternoon to catch a movie with Jennifer after a major national oral examination. ever since Faith came to this world, both of us rarely have the chance to go to the cinemas, something we used to do a lot.

after watching Jason Bourne‘s first two stories, The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, in 2002 and 2004 respectively, we had to catch only one movie this time round – The Bourne Ultimatum.

The Bourne Ultimatum

we are not suckers for sequels. in fact, we know that most sequels are badly done. but we both enjoyed Matt Damon‘s portrayal of an amnesiac killer thoroughly in the first two movies, and somehow had ‘fallen in love’ with this character and his story. we could have waited for the release of the dvd, but watching an action movie on a cinema screen is really different, as some of you might agree.

the result? this is probably the best Bourne movie thus far.

i used to like James Bond when i was a kid – i was impressed by the gadgets, the ladies and the suave and good looks of agent 007. but after a series of bad Bond movies the last ten years (i suspect a certain Mr Brosnan is to be blamed), i know i’ll never be foolish enough to fall for Mr Bond and his stories again. Comparing Bond with Bourne is a complete insult to the latter. Bourne is THE SPY!

for those of you who are familiar with Jason Bourne’s story, you would agree that he’s a much more likeable protagonist than 007. Bourne is more human than Bond. he gets hurt, he suffers much, he has emotions and he has feelings. Bond? nah. for those who are not in the know, here goes:

The Bourne Identity – Jason Bourne was a superspy sent to assassinate this African political figure. but he failed his mission and was shot before falling into the sea. he woke up and realised he couldn’t remember anything about himself. but he could still know how to fight and behave like a superspy. his nasty bosses tracked him down and wanted to terminate him. he ended up with a German girl somewhere in Greece after escaping from all the dangers.

The Bourne Supremacy – Jason was still having nightmares of who he really was. apparently he and his girlfriend had moved to India. but sadly, his nasty bosses were still after him. they got one guy to hunt him down. the killer failed, but not before he killed Jason’s girl. so Jason went all out to find out who he was and who the bad guys were. like the first movie, he managed to avoid being killed.

so now, The Bourne Ultimatum – Jason was set to track the real mastermind behind who he was and what he had been trained for. he……go watch it yourself.

what’s so good about the third one then? the fight scenes and the car-chasing and running sequences are all deliberately done with much choppiness. it might look confusing on screen, but i think there’s a sense of realism here. these intentional action sequences make the story so real, so personal. it’s like you can almost feel the pain when Bourne gets hit or when the car flips violently while he holds onto the seatbelt. though some would find it incredible that he can survive all these with relative ease.

this movie isn’t just about actions. you can see how intelligent people are here, especially Bourne. in fact he’s super intelligent. his quick thinking and instant solutions make you wonder why bother sending our kids to school – we should send them to NSA instead. there’s also the constant emotional struggle that Bourne faces. despite his invincibility, he’s not a happy man. he’s someone who’s confused and you can almost cry with him at times because you know his plight, empathise with him and hope that things would turn out well for him.

by the time the story folds at the end, you have this feeling that Jason Bourne could be a real person in this world. credit must go to the entire cast and crew of the movie, especially Paul Greengrass, whose directing blends in well with his storytelling, and Matt Damon, whose eyes and expressions speak much for the tortured soul of his character. for the record, Damon comes out tops in a Forbes list of the most bankable Hollywood actors. i think he’s been underrated for a while now. i’m happy for him.

and of course, there’s this classic Bourne movie track, Extreme Ways by Moby.

i’m a wee bit messy in my ranting here, but my ultimate point is that the Bourne movies are definitely way more meaningful than the Bond movies. go watch Jason then.

am i making sense? time for bed.

Published in: on Friday, August 17, 2007 at 1:08 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: ,

climate’s changing, but are we doing anything?

just came back from downtown east. three of us had a great time yesterday at wild wild wet and the maze for kids at eXplorerkid. Faith really loved all the water fun and the climbing through the tunnels experience. as i watched her play, my deepest love for her surfaced from within which almost brought tears to my eyes. i almost always have this huge sense of gratitude whenever i look at my girl.

and sometimes, i shudder when i think of the kind of world she’s going to live in for the good part of her entire life. mad cow disease, SARS, dengue fever, H5N1, global warming and its effects, terrorism, etc. my word…..my girl needs to be strong!

i was at the supermarket with my family buying some groceries. as usual, it was packed with people from all walks of life. and like what we have been doing for the last few years, we brought along our own reusable bags as part of our own effort in being environment-friendly. but as i observed the people in the queues at the cashiers’, almost all of them had no reusable bags, ie, they left the supermarket with more plastic bags. some of them even requested for extra bags to contain their ‘heavy’ items. despite the less plastic bag campaign and its awareness programme, people are just not doing it!

i have been telling my kids in school that the effects of climate change (and global warming) are real, and they all agree. i tell them that they have to help to raise this awareness wherever they go. but i wonder how many parents and relatives actually listen to my kids and treat what they say seriously.

i was watching a little of saving gaia on CNA the other day, and was appalled by the type of pollutants present in the polluted air in Jakarta. how can we let this continue to happen?!! people are dying a slow and painful death there! and i know this isn’t just happening in Indonesia.

really, the threats are there for all to see. but people in Singapore here are just not doing enough to suggest that they care about the environment or the world for that matter. maybe because we don’t really feel the impact in a big way yet. do people really have to learn their lessons the hard and harsh way?

as Singapore and her people celebrate her 42nd National Day today, i hope people out there will not forget the fact that not only Singapore needs us. The world needs us too.

when i visited Verilion over at her blog, i read about this climate change camp at heathrow airport. some of these care-for-the-environment people wanted to raise awareness about the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. of course, they met resistance from the authorities. then i read some comments from this gentleman named Calvin Jones. apparently, he is very much involved in anything to do with climate change. i’m really heartened by the fact that there are people out there who bother to fight for gaia. hence, i’ve decided to support Mr Jones by helping him spread his message. do read it. (more…)

Published in: on Thursday, August 9, 2007 at 3:32 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

enjoyable, yet disturbed

had a rather great time in hong kong, though the weather was generally hot. all the shopping, walking, family bonding, partying at disneyland, etc. Faith’s really grown a lot. we all cherished our time spent with her during this vacation. the only problem we had with her was she wanted to be carried most of the time. guess she wanted to build the hercules in the two of us. 🙂

went to shenzhen (china) on wednesday for a day’s tour. other than the fact that we were ‘conned’ into various ‘unchartered’ locations, i must mention that this trip and my stay in hong kong had offered me some sights that made me think. you see, the backdrop of hong kong (and shenzhen) is often made up of short, old, run-down houses and tall, modern, well-built skyscrapers. this contrast of old and new, poor and rich, couldn’t be described in any way. and this contrast could be seen amongst the people on the streets too. one scene in shenzhen, in particular, will stay in my mind for quite a while. as we were walking up an overhead bridge, we saw this woman carrying a sleeping baby and sitting on the floor. she was picking and eating some discarded rice from an overturned garbage bin. i did not feel for her, to be honest. but my heart ached when i saw the baby. perhaps i have a girl myself and i know the needs of a child. i couldn’t imagine how this mother could meet her baby’s needs. i really felt and still feel sad for the young life. 😦

equality in the human race is just a myth. this, i acknowledge. but what can we do to minimise this inequality? we have people finding food from bins. we have p hilton getting away with a mysterious medical condition. we have african children walking around carrying fatal viruses. we have others splurging on lavish wedding celebrations. we…?

but of course, i’m probably looking at what’s obvious to the eyes. perhaps, deep inside every heart there is a soul that can be satisfied easily. all this soul needs is a rare gem called…

Contentment

Hell to those who despise
For they know not what we need
We may not have them all
But we do have each other
Which means so much more
Than what this freaking world
Could barely offer

You are all i care
You are all i have
You are all i need
And that’s fucking so enough

contentment

    and this is what i seriously need to cultivate in my own life.

Published in: on Sunday, June 10, 2007 at 2:10 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

vacation

will leave for hong kong in a few hours’ time with my family. will probably have no chance to blog. see you all in a while. 🙂

Published in: on Sunday, June 3, 2007 at 9:44 pm  Comments (6)  
Tags:

poor girl

Faith has fallen sick. After a rather nasty fall which had her lip cut (leading to two ulcers) last Friday, she now has a runny nose and teary eyes, and a little phlegm in the throat. Jennifer took a day’s leave to take Faith to the doctor who found a little ear infection as well. Our girl has succumbed to a virus. When I saw her after work, she was still energetic despite all the discomfort. But my heart ached (still aching) when I saw her sniffing her nose and rubbing the thick tear stains from her eyes. I really pray that the medication that she’s on now will work wonders fast. Pray with me, won’t you?

Published in: on Wednesday, March 7, 2007 at 11:04 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , ,

FAITHfulness

The Chinese New Year break is over. But I had a good time with my family. Had been indulging in some serious FAITHfulness. Took lots of pictures of her. She’s grown a lot. Always count her twice when I count my blessings.

trying a new dress

she and her bear

smiling for the New Year

she looks great in cheongsam

with hair accessories

going nuts

through the tunnel

I love her very much! And, I love her mother too.

Published in: on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 10:25 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: , ,

succumbed

After weeks of working in a small air-conditioned room with six other sick colleagues, I have finally fallen ill.

It all started on Sunday night when I felt my body warm. My temperature was a little high. I took two pills and went to bed early. On Monday, I felt fresh and was ready to work the whole day which I did. Worked ended at around 6.45 p.m. Got home, had dinner and spent some time with my wife and daughter. Then, I carried on working till after midnight. I went to bed shortly after.

I woke up on Tuesday feeling soreness at my throat. The sign was there. I went to work and had one and half hours of English lesson with my class. Returned to my workstation and started marking my pupils’ assignments. That was when I first experienced a series of headaches. Then came a few minutes of breathing difficulty. I could also feel my body temperature rising and bones aching all over. I knew I was in trouble. Nevertheless, I carried on teaching and even attended a briefing session in town for two and a half hours in the afternoon. The whole afternoon was terrible. No appetite, headache, fever, weak body, etc. I managed to drive home safely, thank God!

Back home, swallowed two pills and took a nap after discovering that my fever had gone up to 38 degrees. Felt better after the sleep. Went to have dinner. Wanted to consult the doctor. But goodness me, the clinic was crowded! Gave up and headed home. Took another two pills and turned in early. I was still harbouring hopes of going back to work today.

Woke up this morning, feeling fine. But somehow I knew I was not strong enough to go to work. Informed my colleague that I would take one day off. After breakfast, I left for the clinic. Dr Jasper Yang was as friendly as ever. He prescribed some medicine and even gave me a two-day medical certificate.

Now, back home, still waiting for the right time to take the medicine. I guess I must have overworked a little in the last few weeks. Always trying to clear as much work as possible. Perhaps, I should change my mentality. Since I know work is never ending, I think I should balance my life more. Now, I have decided that work should remain in school. Family life and rest should take precedence at home. Hope that I can follow these principles.

Published in: on Wednesday, February 7, 2007 at 10:18 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,

a different ball game

After three working days, I’m already feeling the heat of being in a leadership role. Had been staying late at work everyday, and I felt like I hadn’t achieved much. When I asked the senior members, they said it’s normal. There are tons of things to do for the department. There are also two English classes to handle. Then, there is still the family to look after. Good grief! And I’m not even a full-fledged leader yet!

To give myself an idea how big my role is after three days, I listed my tasks…and not surprisingly, this is what I saw and is stilling seeing:

1. Set department targets
2. Confirm setters list
3. Meet committee members
4. Plan P & D festival
5. Call skrowudu
6. P5 & P6 writing wos
7. Get volunteers for observation
8. Research

• Managing LE department
• Managing AH pupils
• Advance LE lessons
• Courses for pupils
• Venue for borderless classroom

9. CAN – Lit and Drama
10.Talk to colleagues to compile compo errors
11.Submit evasude forms for pupils’ course
12.Explore dael portal
13.Submit zib-g – P1-P4 readers, P5, P6 lit resources
14.Develop P6 lesson plans
15.Develop roving news team

I counted fifteen and stopped. And this is never going to end.

Albeit my work is a different ball game altogether, I’m willing to challenge myself. Keep me in your prayers if you believe in them.

Published in: on Sunday, January 7, 2007 at 1:07 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

25.05.2005

This is one date that I will definitely remember very well for the rest of my life.

In the wee hours that morning, Jennifer’s water bag broke. Time to rush to Thomson Medical Centre. We were excited, anxious yet calm about it. in the lift…on the way to our car… I drove her safely to our destination. She was escorted up while I went through the paper work.

In the delivery room, she went through waves after waves of contraction. I was by her side, feeling rather useless. All I could do was to comfort her. Seconds turned to minutes which turned to hours. To me it was a long wait. But I think to her it was eternity. Her pain was intense even with the mask over her.

Then the time had to come. Lawrence ambled in. In less than half an hour, the baby was delivered. Time was 7.38 a.m. My little Faith was there in front of me.

fresh from womb

By evening, all were taken care of. I was busy taking pictures of the baby. Jennifer looked weary, but she was relieved and happy. I told her I would come early next morning.

sleeping well

on my lap

eyes open

Back home, I turned in early, not because I was really tired. I wanted to have ample sleep before waking up at 3 to watch the Champions League final between my beloved Liverpool and Milan. I slept well, probably because of the joy of being a father.

In fact, I slept too well. When I woke up, the match had gone into half-time. When I saw the highlights of the first half, I could not believe my eyes. Liverpool 0 Milan 3! Lost, gone, dead and buried. I shut my eyes, hoping that I could continue my sweet dreams and forget the heart-breaking scoreline.

Rotten luck! I woke up suddenly to witness the first 5 minutes of the second half. Never mind, I should continue to watch the game for entertainment sake. And since I called myself a loyal Liverpool supporter, I must as well…

Then, the incredible happened (something which the whole world of football would know by now). My dearest Liverpool fought back and scored three goals by the 90th minute. The rest……hit the post……Riise missed……Dudek wobbled……Shevchenko missed……Gerrard lifted the cup!

gerrard felled

alonso scored

great save!

run…celebrate…

Liverpool, winners Champions League 2005

On the day when Faith was brought to Earth by her sensational parents, Milan was brought down to Earth by a sensational Liverpool FC.

How can I forget this day?

(Ps: one disappointment though: Bo Bice lost the American Idol final.)

Published in: on Tuesday, January 2, 2007 at 10:48 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , ,

a very short holiday

Since I’ve been so busy during this vacation period, I could not afford to go overseas for holidays. Moreover, Faith’s still too young to travel far. But still managed to book a night’s stay at Marina Mandarin on Christmas’ eve. Check-in was delayed by the hotel, so they allowed us to stay til 2.00 p.m. the next day. Spent some time at Marina Square. Got back late in the evening. After putting Baby to sleep, Jennifer and I joined the countdown to Christmas at the corridor. Took some pictures and recorded short clips. After reviewing the pictures taken, our verdict is out: our Nikon machine must be replaced soon. Went to the swimming pool the next day. Then, after some loitering at the shopping centre, we checked out. A very short holiday experience. Similar to our Marriott and Downtown East one night stands in June and August respectively. But far from our fantastic experience in Switzerland in 2004 and Ritz-Carlton a few years back. Plan to go somewhere further in 2007. Australia, perhaps.
atrium lounge (view from 12th floor)
moments before midnight, party-goers gathered in anticipation

balloons
all hung up, ready for midnight release

suntec convention hall

pan pac and conrad hotels

self-explanatory

Merry Christmas!
balloons released…crowd went wild…balloons popped…

boxing day morning

atrium lounge boxing day
hotel staff were efficient in cleaning the party mess

Published in: on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,