Monday, October 31, 2005

Schools out for summer...

It's beginning to sink in that school for the year is officially over. It's been a very fast year and the transition's been fast and furious. I've done quite a bit this year and I think I've grown as a teacher. I am a whole lot less temperamental and a whole lot more patient. I have learned patience and more understanding and my administration work hasn't exactly swamped me as such. (OK, it has but not as badly as it used to...)

This year marked the first of my form classes and it's been both fulfilling and heartbreaking at the same time. I've seen 8 kids come and go with another 5 leaving the fold soon. And of the 5 leaving now, I think that the one I'll miss the most is a girl named Angela.

She came into my class after the first 3 months and I didn't have a very distinct impression of her other than the fact that she was quite vocal about things. It didn't help that she didn't have a great command of English and she took quite a (overly)passionate stand on things. But as the year progressed, I realised that despite the fact that she couldn't articulate her thoughts well, she had a certain maturity that was lacking in many of my other students. (Some even from "better" classes) After a rather bitter year, the term exams and the fallout thereof being a large contributer to said bitterness, she's finally decided that JC's not the path she has to take.

I hate endings. It always hurts when chapters close and this year is no different. Angela's a representative of that loss and I guess that the first time in teaching for me that the first few days of the holidays is a time for me to grieve. It's the sad fact of a teachers life. Students will come and go and all the while, we stay on. I guess that this year, Angela's a representative of that loss for me.

And I can't think of a nice way to end this I'll leave the eulogy to the immortal words of Alice Cooper:

"No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher's dirty looks
Out for summer
Out 'til fall
We might not go back at all

School's out forever
School's out for summer
School's out with fever
School's out completely"

In defense of Xiaxue...

The headline and photo screamed out at me from the top of The Sunday Times today. Local blogger loses sponsors or something like that. The photo looked really familiar. Lo and behold, it was one of my blog peeves, Xiaxue in trouble for something she wrote about handicap toilets. So I figured that she had finally said something so stupid that her gormless charm couldn't get her out of. Well...perhaps. But I read the article and realised that there wasn't that much that I took issue with. I mean, handicap toilets are for handicapped people, but if there wasn't a handicapped person around and there weren't any other cubicles available, I would use it. It's common sense. (That said, considering the way that Singaporeans use public restrooms, the impetus is also on users of said handicap facilities to keep said toilet/cubicle CLEAN because handicapped people really don't have too many choices of plumbing facilities available to them.)

Then I read her blog and frankly, although I agree with the spirit of the post, I can see where people would take offense. The writing is antagonistic. The sentiment is barely coherent and the point is almost completely lost.

As much as I would love to continue ranting in this post re: my favourite blog peeve, I don't think I'm up to it tonight. But here's a thought:

Perhaps, if one did not mistake vulgarity and sheer idiocy for controversy, one might have less detractors. One also should not flip the system a bird and then whine about how the system screws one over when all the dust settles. One also has to realise that a blog, as public domain, is privy to all the netizens out there...and there is a plurality of thought as opposed to conformity to ones ego.

Finally, to call oneself the Morning Star is to compare yourself to this. Not very flattering at all.

That said, with a blog, which is a key to said plurality of thought, one has the right to his/her own opinion. I respect that and I think that Xiaxue's definitely gotten the short end of the stick in this case. Shame on all the sponsors that pulled out. Obviously they did not fully comprehend the product they were buying into.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It's the last week of school...

...and I'm bone tired.

It's been a crazy week following the virtual insanity of open house and despite the busy-ness, I've also had a spot of Ondine's ennui.

But I've got less to worry about so I'm not complaining.

Let's see...Things to blog about.

I'll begin with the whistle blower who appeared in The Sunday Times about 2 weeks ago. I'm not sure if it was her or the writer but she came off sounding very smug and rubbed me completely the wrong way. Main problem was the headline that just screamed out of the page:

"Why should I keep quiet about it?"

I don't know. Maybe it reminded me of some stupid Singaporean behaviour that I abhor. Perhaps it was because of the self-righteous air about that statement. Maybe it was the fact that she sounded so proud about what she had done but remained behind a screen of anonymity. All I know is that I read the article and I was very pissed off. The 3 bloggers that got hit with the sedition law...a heck, you know my take on the whole thing...But to sit back and gloat about it...well...

Then again, newspapers have been known to sensationalise things. By now some of you might have read The Singaporean Toilet New Paper and found li'l Ondine's article. Note that while her own students didn't find the post offensive, The Crap Factory New Paper managed to find 15 students and 17 unknown teachers who did. Also take a note that O basically stated that she really didn't have a problem with students blogging about teachers so the little tag on quote from the student re: teachers blogging about them was a clever ruse to try to link the two Blog-incidents. Nice try moron!Liew Hanqing but you should try reading the e-mail interview that you so desperately sought. Perhaps pick up a thesaurus so that you can understand the big words.

But then again, I suppose that we need to have elements like The shitcan New Paper so that hack writers can have a job. After all, we can't all be rocket scientists.

...more later...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Don't you just hate it...

...when bloggers say that they will update their blogs and they don't?

Me? I personally loathe myself.

*igh.'s the lowdown of the sitch:

Last week was open house. Gah! *nuff said* I was running myself ragged trying to get some displays together and I basically ended up setting up a display on d-day -1. It's been a couple of days since then and my head's still reeling. Meanwhile, I'm tied up in school awaiting the final day of term.


I hardly made any sense.

Meanwhile, upon rewatching Buffy season 7, I'd have to say that overall storyarc-wise, it's been the weakest season for BtVS. Sad how it went out. It's like the writers decided to cram in next season's storyline into this one because they knew that cancellation loomed. Anyone who wants to know what I mean, try giving the final 3 episodes a watch. *igh. Sadder than a blogger that does not update is a good TV series on its last legs.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The incredible linking game...

Now, this is something that I've always wanted to's the A.L.T and the Lost Civilisation drinks game. (No, not a drinking game, it's the identify as many drinks in the lyrics of this song as possible. I invite all to participate and enjoy...

The rules are simple. Find as many drinks within the lyrics of the song as possible and for every cocktail, give the recipe. On your marks. Get Set. Go!

I was at the bar with my drinking team
And it was me, Jack Daniels and my homie Jim Beam
We were kinda blitzed and we were tryin to behave, yo
When in walked a soldier, he was from the Fuzzy Naval
We were fallin, stumblin, crawlin
In came the police, Captain Tom Collins
And the vato said, "Freeze!" (Freeze!)
He said, "Hands in the air and hand over your keys"
Now we did, and that was kinda simple
Now here came Margarita and her friend Shirley Temple
I asked my friend 'bout Margarita
He said that Shirley was a virgin and I wouldn't wanna meet her
So I talked to Margarita, cause, yo, she was flyer
I took her to the couch, cause I wanted to srew-drive her
Now I'm not one for a speech
But there was plenty of Tequila and Sex on the Beach

Here we go again and I'm not fussin
See, I'm a French Mexican but I kick it with White Russians
At the bar with the drink in my hand
In walked José Cuervo, it was Margarita's man
I talked to the Wise Man, cause yo, he's distinguished
His name is St. Ides and he spoke in Olde English
He said, "You better think fast
Cause José is kinda crazy and I heard he shot glass"
He gave me some advice and it went like this, yo
"Catch the Night train and head up to 'Cisco"
I didn't wanna stick around
I caught the 1(:)51 to New York, the Greyhound
Now I'm at the Red Zone, everybody stylin
Showbiz was sippin Ice Teas on Long Island
I blacked out, the party came to a halt
Cause I was drinkin the Tequila with the lemon and salt

I woke up in the morning and felt like a zombie
The Tequila Gold Label had bombed me
You see, I woke up late, I wasn't feelin so great
And Mike said, "There's a Bacardi party startin at 8"
Yo, we walked in the party and started playin our games
We played tops, fuzzy quarters with Bartles & Jaymes
Here came Shirley Temple and they told me to chill
Because the Mickey Brothers took her up to Strawberry Hill
They took her $1000 mink and she could barely think
Cause the Tequila that she drank had her tickled pink
Now the music came on and I rocked the instrumental
There's a groupie named Mai Tai, a fly oriental
A groupie is a girl that jocks
She wore a def Black Velvet and drank Scotch on the rocks
We had a Fake Marriage, now here's the Honeymoon
Yo, it's on, Vagabond at the Blue Lagoon
Now everybody take a couple of words from the wise
A girlie and a bottle - Tequila Sunrise

Ever have one of those days...

...Where you're done with work and you can't sleep?

I stayed up till 2am last night trying to get to sleep. 2 whole hours to get to sleep and the only way that I could do so was on the floor. (Figured that since I never had problems getting to sleep in my olde army days, setting up the right conditions might have facilitated sleep.) It worked. Well...till my wife, panicking because I wasn't in bed woke me up. :) So I crawled into bed and tried again.

Dunno why I'm having problems sleeping. Marking's over and I guess that the leftover anxiety's making me all antsy. Bleagh. It's weird considering the only times I've ever been this wired were assignment nights. (or, more accurately, night before assignment nights) In the (contextually misquoted) words of Sarah Mclachlan, "I'm so tired, but I can't sleep."

Sunday, October 16, 2005

And I'm back.

After 2 weeks of non-intense marking, thankfully non-intense because of an unprecedented sudden ability to manage my time and stick to a schedule. I'm done! I'm done!

*Takes a long breath*



It's been a while and there's been not much to update here on the blog (considering the eventlessness of special collectors' edition Marking Packrat TM.) so I'll just pop in a quick rundown of the stuff that's been going on for the past 2 weeks.

  1. I'm going to be a (blood) uncle. My brother's having a girl! First girl in our family so I suspect that she's going to be spoilt rotten by a father, an uncle and a grandfather (who's always wanted a daughter...).I also pity the poor girl's future boyfriends. Muahaha.
  2. JL's Mangaka entry was not kosher but he won most original concept for the open category. Yay! Was impressed considering that it was a last minute entry and he was asking if he could borrow a scanner a day before it was due. Congrats man. (Although MY and I were wondering if it won the most original piece because it did not follow official guidelines. :)
  3. Went down to CPL (Cyberathletes Professional League) to catch VoO and fatal1ty in action. Caught the both of them playing (not each other) Painkiller. Wowch. Talk about killer players. I've never seen anyone play the way they did. Cursors constantly tailing opponents and rockets being sent to where the opponents would wander to a split second later. It was like watching a psychic match. Incredible. :O Fingers got twitchy while we were there and I got pwned by bots at the Creative booth in Counter-Strike: Source. *igh. So much for a professional career in games.
That's my life up to now. Expect more regular updates...(I hope)


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

In lieu of a real post...Because marking makes me want to drill a hole in my head...

Abort, Retry, Ignore?
by Anonymous Works

Once upon a midnight dreary, fingers cramped and vision bleary,
System manuals piled high and wasted paper on the floor,
Longing for the warmth of bed sheets, still I sat there doing spreadsheets.
Having reached the bottom line I took a floppy from the drawer,
I then invoked the SAVE command and waited for the disk to store,
Only this and nothing more.

Deep into the monitor peering, long I sat there wond'ring, fearing,
Doubting, while the disk kept churning, turning yet to churn some more.
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token.
"Save!" I said, "You cursed mother! Save my data from before!"
One thing did the phosphors answer, only this and nothing more,
Just, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

Was this some occult illusion, some maniacal intrusion?
These were choices undesired, ones I'd never faced before.
Carefully I weighed the choices as the disk made impish noises.
The cursor flashed, insistent, waiting, baiting me to type some more.
Clearly I must press a key, choosing one and nothing more,
From "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

With fingers pale and trembling, slowly toward the keyboard bending,
Longing for a happy ending, hoping all would be restored,
Praying for some guarantee, timidly, I pressed a key.
But on the screen there still persisted words appearing as before.
Ghastly grim they blinked and taunted, haunted, as my patience wore,
Saying "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

I tried to catch the chips off guard, and pressed again, but twice as hard.
I pleaded with the cursed machine: I begged and cried and then I swore.
Now in mighty desperation, trying random combinations,
Still there came the incantation, just as senseless as before.
Cursor blinking, angrily winking, blinking nonsense as before.
Reading, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

There I sat, distraught, exhausted, by my own machine accosted.
Getting up I turned away and paced across the office floor.
And then I saw a dreadful sight: a lightning bolt cut through the night.
A gasp of horror overtook me, shook me to my very core.
The lightning zapped my previous data, lost and gone forevermore.
Not even, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

To this day I do not know the place to which lost data go.
What demonic nether world us wrought where lost data will be stored,
Beyond the reach of mortal souls, beyond the ether, into black holes?
But sure as there's C, Pascal, Lotus, Ashton-Tate and more,
You will be one day be left to wander, lost on some Plutonian shore, Pleading, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Most recent TV Peeve...

...It's not the dry hair that's going to drive the guy away from you, it's the fact that you're being such a complete weirdo about him wanting to stroke your hair. As a guy, I couldn't really care less about the dryness of a girl's hair unless it's got the texture of straw...and even then, only when I'm wide awake...


Friday, October 07, 2005

This was hilarious.

A little Encouragement.

I especially like the last panel...From here.

Bear with me

This was just beary funny.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


OK...Finally, time to take a breath. It's been a long week and it's only Thursday. Unbelievably, I've actually lost the ability to differentiate the days. For the first 3 days of the week, I went in to school while it was dark and left school when it was dark. The rest of the time was spent in one room or another as I examined examination scripts over and over, worms open, cans empty. It took me half of today to realise that it wasn't Wednesday. My personal odyssey for the week is over and I'm onto the cathartic (ironically) marking of said scripts.

(Anyone who's ever wondered why they're called examinations...well, there's a reason. Candidates are examined and most are found wanting...)

On lighter news, while the 4th or 5th hour of said meetings, we decided that we would be the kind of teachers whose students would blog about us and we'd BLOG RIGHT BACK AT THEM. (Albeit with better grammar and more cogent arguments.) That said, the issue's been blown completely out of proportion and while I have absolutely nothing against students blogging against teachers and think that the 5 students being suspended from school was harsh to the Nth degree, I also think that the arguments being made for the 5 students (about teachers not deserving respect until they earned it...) by students or other immature bandwagon hoppers are infantile at best.

Teachers today really don't earn enough for all the crap that they put up with. Apart from being educators, councilors, surrogate parents, exam setters and markers (talk about insane amounts of homework), disciplinarians, confidantes, etc, they need to put up with kids that slander their names and stomp on their hearts that they have to put out there day after day. Let's ignore the fact that it's illegal and...Nah...I'll leave it to the immortal words of the bard (poorly paraphrased...):

[they] hath disgrac'd me and [...] [slept through my lessons], mock'd at my [scoldings], scorned my [profession], [ignored my homework], cooled my [colleagues], heated mine [principal].

And what's [their] reason?

I am a [teacher].
Hath not a [teacher] eyes?
Hath not a [teacher] hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections,
passions, fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons,
subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed
and cooled by the same [bad weather] and [air-conditioning], as a [student] is?

If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
If you poison us, do we not die? And if you [blog] us, shall we
not [suspend]? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you
in that. If a [teacher] wrong a [student], what is his humility?
[MOE review]. If a [student] wrong a [teacher], what should his sufferance
be [...]? Why, [suspension for 5 days]. The villainy you teach me
I will execute; and it shall go hard but I will better the

Just before anybody decides to go on a tirade how teachers really suck nowadays, remember, teachers were students before...and the brutal punishment we endured in the past was a whole lot more harsh than the simple scoldings we dish out today...The difference was that we respected our teachers for it because we knew that we were wrong...can these students say the same?

Remember: Teachers are people too.

Class dismissed.

All that said, I am not generalising in this post about all students. In fact, I would say that students nowadays are quite nice. Sadly though, there're still the idiots out there that spoil the experience completely for the lot of us...Exemplars:

  1. Student who basically labelled Indians as "the stained race" in a class discussion with an Indian teacher.
  2. Students who openly verbally abuse their teachers by calling them "bitch".

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ever had one of those days...

...that didn't seem to end? I've had two for the past 2 days and I believe we're going for the three-peat. *igh.

You see, I've been in school (for the past 2 days) from 6:30am to 7:00pm on Monday and from 7:00am to 7:30pm on Tuesday. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here wondering when I'm ever going to get overtime 'cos the way I figure, the government owes me a LOT.


I'm not getting enough for this sh*t.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Two posters...Alike in dignity...In the fair little red dot.

One that is awaiting to see the light of day...


...the other will never see the light of day. (Sedition law lah...)

V for Vendetta

By the way, any Serenity/Firefly fans based in Singapore? Please give a shout out in the comments section. Let's see how popular this show really is...and maybe we can try to petition the movie gods to release the movie soon. :)

Short post...

...because it's 6:35 on the AM and I'm sitting in school with my last 13 pieces of backlog...

I hope there's a special hell that God sends suicide bombers to.

Let's send a prayer to Bali.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Corpse Bride: First Impressions.

1) It was (too) short.
2) It was bittersweet. (A little like A Nightmare Before Christmas but without the romantic payoff)
3) The characters were a little underdeveloped as were the relationships. It was almost like it was an unfinished movie. Disappointing, Burton. Very disappointing.

Despite its flaws, though, I liked it. 3 / 5 stars.

Interesting point: Note that the people who are alive are a whole lot less colourful than the ones that are dead. Also listen out as Christopher Lee does Gandalf. Funny stuff.

Now to get some sleep. Massive marking loads have turned my brain into porridge.