Monday, December 31, 2007

I want to buy this because...

This was what I overheard while queuing to make my payment at Popular just now... and today's the last day of the year!

So, the parents were with the boy at the bookstore to get his stuff... A peep... he has several colourful pens/pencils, a clear holder... then it came (when he tried to justify the rest of the items):
  • The geometrical construction set: The mum reminded him, "Didn't you buy one set last year?"... The boy started his string of reasons (i) the semicircle thing (which is the protractor) is not clear anymore (ii) the one to draw circle has not more lead (iii) The triangles are not right... When mum asked, why did not buy in the school the other day? He gave most ridiculous reason - the one that the school sells does not give accurate measurement. Oh my! What if the school's also selling the same product from the same supplier? Oops!!!
  • A staple that's fashionably designed - a cool black and silver colour... The boy said, the cheap 2 dollar staple is no good, this one is better {what 'good' reason he gave! The more expensive the better?}
  • A notebook (that I think cost more than $4) that the boy said is meant to write reflections while other exercise books for notetaking.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What Christmas means to me...

Christmas is the time when I catch up with my friends... yes, thanks to this joyous and peaceful festive occasion... it creates time and space where I would sit down and start to remember friends... especially those whom I seldom in contact with... They could be

- friends whom I only 'call on' once/twice a year... could be my primary school friend (though very few in contact), my secondary school friends (yes, for a few, we progressed all the way till NIE! and now in the same profession!), my JC classmates... (oh yes, still searching for some of them... no luck from Facebook yet)... Oh yes, though we seldom in contact, but just want them to know... they're in my mind :D They are not forgotten :D Just to remind them... Hm... I'm still around... hahaha....

- people whom I met when I travel... eg. Megu from Japan, Teresa & Jone from Canada, and this time a few others whom we met in the recent trip (Mrs Lim, Susan & Daphne)... People from all walks of life... a wealth of experiences and perspectives...

- my counterparts in Bhutan! Though they don't really celebrate Christmas... but it gives me good reason to be in touch with them... to send warmth to them... the winter in Paro is really really very cold... Can see snow!

- my ex-colleauges and friends from the Ngee Ann family! Some of them have moved on... some have retired... some have migrated to other schools... some still there... They are not forgotten... They are part of my fond memories with the school :D

- like-minded people who would spend hours and late hours to bring about better livelihood to others... ok, you know who you are... :D Cheers!

and others... U are always in my mind...

... of course, it's also time to pause and send warm greetings to those around me too... yes, sometimes we are so busy... and also take for grant of people around me...

~~~~~~~~~so my annual ritual began this morning....

Forget since when... but started the habit of creating my own greeting cards... Oh yes, was inspired by the animated Mid-autumn festival card received from Mr Low many many years ago... though simple, but it triggered me to become more creative... of course, also add a personal touch to the things for others...

Nicely designed eCards are widely available... but personally, I prefer to come up with something original... yes, will always go back to my pool of photos (taken, usually during my trips) to pick a few nice ones... yes, something that I like... for people I care :D Well, I think what matters most... not the frequency (though it helps!), but the thought counts...

~ ~ o ~ ~ O ~ ~ o ~ ~

Received a couple of smses from friends... yes... Christmas greetings and wishes too... Am happy... because I'm remembered :D It's also a very nice feeling when friends responded to our greetings and wishes too... be it in the form of email, sms, picture, or words, or any form...

Got a few of them via email/internet...

One of them is Els... it's nice that she shared about her work as an Education Advisor, with the focus on Asia now... and at Afghanistan. Here's a picture she emailed over... Yes, that reminded us... that are the less fortunate ones... apart from feeling fortunate and appreciate what we have, perhaps we could do more...

Another one is a cute one... from Valerie, a girl who has worked hard to get to where she's today... well done and keep up with the spirit!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Expensive Taste

  • I thought the £ 50 meal at Shepherds (in London) was an expensive one, that was followed by the Alaska crab that cost more than $200. All happened last year.

  • Just Sunday, I had another 'expensive taste' - not the meal at "Carnivore" (that I thought was relatively affordable), but the can of drink that cost S$8! Well, well, no wonder the waiter so patiently explained the details to us... a kind of fruit that only grow in Brazil... they were pucked and sent to Japan to be processed before arriving in Singapore! OK, I guess the amount includes the air-fare!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Musical: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (+ Artventure)

In fact, when I bought the ticket, I have no slightest idea what the show is all about, except the car, which I believe is the selling point.

The theatre was filled with children... lots of them... yes, it has been publicised as a show suitable and well-liked by children. Oh yes, so much so to the extent I realise the father and 3 children group did not return after the break... most probably because of the young child who left halfway even before the intermission.

It was mentioned (somewhere in the brochure) that the scale of the props is comparable with those of the Phantom of the Opera. Yes, I'm familiar with what Phantom of the Opera offers... Hm... 2 things that I thought amazing in CCBB - the car and also the flying toilet!

After watching the entire show, still find the storyline vague.
  • It started off with the lady (don't know from where) who's motor-vehicle broke down and met the pair of twins in the garage.
  • Then don't know for what reasons, she looked for them and met their dad.
  • She happened to be the sweet factory owner's daughter.
  • The father of the twins, who happened to be the inventor, brought his newly invented flute-like sweet to market to the sweet factory owner.
  • The lady successfully persuaded her dad to try, and later the latter accepted the product.... etc...
  • Then there are these 2 guys who work for the state called "Vulgarian" (I think...)
  • The head of the state heard about the car that floated and wanted a similar vehicle made.
  • The granddad of the twins were mistaken to be the inventor and got 'kidnapped'.
  • In this land, there lived the child-catcher...

On the whole, the storyline is not strong. Personally, I felt it was no where near the Les Miserable or the Phantom of the Opera... Hm... probably had not put on the "right hat" before entering the theatre?

Nevertheless, must acknowledge that the car is amazing! It can float, it can fly! The effect was good :D
Other than that, I don't see any good reasons to watch the show!
The exhibition between Esplanade and CityLink: Artventure

Where I stay

Happened to have the digital camera with me last evening... and it was still pretty 'early' - reached home before sunset... Hey, the golden rays shed on the more-than-10-year-old flat had given it a nostalgia look! The flats, minus the 'interferences' around look good, despite they are public housing. I was not the kind who like orange and red... found these colours a bit difficult to 'swallow'... but have slowly grow to like it, when it's blended with nature... ok, I think having stared at the orange table cloth and pencil case brought back from Bhutan has helped... also having been surrounded by men mostly wearing orange coloured ghos 'helped'!

Public housing in Singapore has gone a long way. Still remember studying moral education in primary school, when we learnt the first satellite town in Singapore is Toa Payoh... Wah! and after having to travel through Queensway area to MOE every morning, learnt that Queensway / Redhill area is one our earliest housing estates, too... Can't imagine, one block of flats lived so many families... Hm... similar to lots of pigeonholes there?

Compare and constrast, there're differences... There're improvements... There're lots more variety... oh yes, it'll come one day, we won't even be able to differentiate condos and flats!

Friday, November 23, 2007

!nnovat!ve !deas

It's a growingly common sight... hm... shall I say, a growingly popular strategy :D

  • The first time to see such a card was at hotels - where we hang out there "Do not disturb".... People are in fact quickminded and started to look around where such can be hung, and tap on it as an advertising strategy, to reach out to more people... Moreover, it's made such that it's easy for interested commuters to bring a copy home!
  • Ah ha! Another collector's item?
  • Possible! Some are so nicely designed... in the first place, the paper quality is good!

Birds in the Cage

It's rare to see people bringing bird cages around... normally will only associate with the more elderly... as a form of recreation... so, it's pretty unusual to find youngsters to bring their pets around instead of hanging on to the playstation!
Reaction from...
The bus driver: Advised him to cover the cage with some cloth before bringing it up the public transport... I guess it's not the first time the pet goes on a trip (in an air-conditioned bus), it's also not the first time a bus driver gives such advice!
One lady passenger: She had with her a huge bag. She quickly sat down... but the moment she noticed the bird cage and the pair of birds... she picked up her bag and went to the back, rather to stand than to sit... Hm... what crossed her mind? I guess "Bird Flu"???
Another lady passenger: She sat down and look at the birds... no fear, just a normal feat...
Myself: ah ha... what a close encounter with birds! Of course, take a good look at it lah!

My Work Station

  • Yes, this is my work station... on the left is my tablet while on the right is the PC. Well, most of the time, the tablet is switched on while the PC is put to sleep... why? speed is the key reason... then, it's also more convenient - when it comes to retrieving files from hard disk, local server, or even the recycle bin! Oh yes, recently, realised I've been visiting the trash quite frequently!
  • What else surround me? Papers pinned on the fabricated partition... that supposedly remind me of info available...
  • The very very heavy table lamp. That's seldom switched on... I think the last time was... (Oops! can't even recall!)
  • Oh yes, notice in the first photo there are 2 orangy stuff? OK, the orange pencil case - a gift from my Bhutanese students. It's not only good to touch... yes, I like cotton materials basically, but always feel the warmth :D
  • The orange 'table cloth' - also a gift from them... That will keep my tablet covered when it stays overnight at the office :D Yes, they keep me company and reminded me of them :D
  • This is the 2nd bottle I have here... Lost the first one when brought to edutorium for a briefing last year... forgetful!!! The water bottle that's always filled in the morning :D
  • See the diary? That records the "To-Do" lists for each day... the most satisfying thing to do is to put a tick against each item at the end of the day. Of course, I also record the notes of meetings/discussions there!

  • Notice the photo beside the PC? It's one of the nicest ones I took in Barcelona. It's a Sunday morning where the street is filled with people... There! I spotted a street artist. The paintings were beautiful, but remember ganna chased away for just snapping pictures without buying!
  • Another photo-frame lookalike thing beside the water bottle is the 2008 calendar by Discovery Centre... looks cute :D
  • The National flag... Yes, red and white, a crescent with 5 stars - one that I'm proud of :D Got this during the National Day celebration this year.
  • There are also souvenirs brought back by colleagues... like the one "必胜" from Timothy... Oh yes, hang on to the fighting spirit!
  • What else are featured prominently on my desk? OK... Food! Food! Food! hahaha... chocolates, biscuits, and even pork floss and bak-gua!

Thursday, November 22, 2007





另一方面,当发觉到事情不妥时,以其和别人一样,重重的一叫踩下去 (也就是雪下加霜),不如看看如何运用自己的能力,帮忙拉他一把。那就更有建设性了。


Sunday, November 18, 2007


Recently, a series of this "Love and Friendship" articles in "Mind Your Body" caught my attention. These couple of weeks, the columnist wrote about friendship - Utility, Pleasure and Perfect Friendships.

Interesting! Isn't it. Each comes with varying degree of 'values'. By the name, Utility friendship is certainly the lowest level, however, it's also the most common - be it in the classroom or at work. Each and everyone is dependent on each other. There is no solo entity. Of course, from another perspective, it's a matter of complementing each other's strengths and weaknesses.

As of pleasure friendship, it can exist at its lowest level (equivalent to utility friendship) -in the instance when people happen to meet in a community of their interest and get to know each other there. They find the pleasure, the joy - each other's company because they support each other in some form of activity, and it's when they come to participate a common activity. So, this is led by the 3rd element. Of course, it can also exist as the next phase after utility friendship. After getting to know each other, they find something common that they enjoy. This is beyond the original reason that bring them together. It's an extension, I would see.

Perfect friendship is certainly more complicated, and I believe, it would have developed from utility and/or pleasure friendship. We may just pick up a phone and call our friend - just to say hello. Once in a while, will sms to remind each other's presence. It's something that one cares to do, for no other reason, but bothers and cares to maintain the connection with the others. Of course, a friend in need is also a friend indeed. A friend is also one who renders support and give a listening ear. When help is needed, time is not an issue. Beauty sleep is also not an issue. Because it's for our friend. That's friends!

German Terka

We spotted it the last time went to United Squares for the gathering... YL recalled she tried one while at Sydney... So, we thought, no harm trying.
Yes, it's the pig knuckle! What? Ok, it's the pig trotter - putting it across more plainly. What's so attractive? Not really, I think... except that it came across as a German dish. I remember LC mentioned about this the other time we met.
How it's cooked? It's roasted... with crispy skin (like roasted pig) while the meat like those steamed/boiled. One thing missing from this dish, chestnuts! OK... other than this, it's no different from any typical chinese dish... It's the first time I enjoyed the 'skin' that much... however, it's such a big serving... ok, enough for the time being...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Blog is for...

Blog 的用途。。。似乎,从写网上日记。。。记载周围的所见所闻。。。与别人分享喜怒哀乐。。。 到发表看法。。。到愤愤不平的发泄!!!实在是太广了!

昨天,看了一则短文,写 “E 族”。。。猜了一下,才“咕”到那是(应该是)指 "Elite" 一族吧!有趣的是,有好几个作者写的“特点”是我认同的。。。似乎看到自己的影子,或是在努力的要形成的影子。

  1. “。。。他们平时已经有很堂皇的管理道。。。碰到自己排斥的事,更是不惜时间和篇幅,用尽一生所学的词汇, 引经据典,就是要把对手挤到墙角。”
  2. “。。。E族真的很有墨水,看似幽默,其实是在讽刺。即使是辱骂,也能骂得人家没办法去向警方报案头诉或被骚扰。”


是的,就是不要正面, 也不要顶得脸红耳赤。。。用“人文”,文雅的方式去表达。切记:保持仪态!

"I realised..."

These are 2 words that "I realised" likes to use

  • "I realised that xxxx I should be xxxx"
  • "I realised that xxxx and you should not be xxxx (carrying on with the current practice)"
  • "I realised that xxxx and I am going to xxxx (make this changes)"
  • "I realised that xxxx and so we have to change xxxx (in this manner)"
  • "I realised....."

From experience and it has already established a pattern... over time that...

When "I realised" is engaged in a discussion, pieces of the information (from the group) are picked up... "I realised" will religiously digest it, process it and communicate the "I realised..." message, incorporating ideas developed in the discusssion as if it's all through one's self-realisation! There is no acknowledgement of inputs from others. More often, this was "re-shared" with the group of people who were involved in the earlier discussion! So, is "I realised" forgetful?

Of course, there are also times when "I realised" did not pay attention to the discussion... but have "sharp yet malfunction antenna" that will pick up bits and pieces... then the malfunction antenna will either filter its source of information or mis-interpret the inputs. "I realised" process it, incorporating these bits and pieces to convey it as its own product again, without realising the gaps.

When pointed out the gaps or mis-interpretation, "I realised" also tends to shift the stand very quickly, before the speaker has fully explained - too fast to stop listening and owning information? Just wonder... Swiftly abandon the original idea and accepting the new one... nodding the head to indicate... "Yes, yes... I understand... and that's was precisely what I was trying to say" although what was believed earlier was at the other end of the spectrum! "I realised" seldom admit communicating the wrong/misleading message.

"I realised" also tends to be forgetful... Forget that "I realised" had carried out certain practices many moons away and started to question others "WHY"... when "I realised" faced the same question again... Wouldn't "I realised" had addressed to that many moons ago? or... unless, "I realised" has avoided it totally.

Think the worst part is when "I realised" communicates the message, it sounds so true and convincing, as if there is no flaw - well, it's "I realised"'s forte, that something I can't deny - that it's a 100% sure 'analysis'... the ironic part is, occasionally, "I realised" started to question others when the latter takes in the message! So self-contradicting!!! It's a shell that looks good at the first impression - as we seep through... we realised... many a time, it's hollow! It's deception!

"I realised" has also forgotten to practise to observe and respect intellectual property rights!

Thursday, November 15, 2007





甩脾气,是要不得的。但自己不悦他人的说法是,没有必要提高嗓门,表示不悦。与其心平气和的解释,却喋喋不休,甚至出言顶撞!似要赢了的似。当然,有些人认为那是“直爽”,不虚伪。可是,这并不表示有权在他人面前撒野! 是野蛮的行为吧! 要情绪化,却和你的“同族人”情绪化好了!不然的话,只会让人逐渐的感到反感而已。

明显的,是个人的修养。 那只不过显示出个人的“情绪商”低,而且没肚量! 更别提“容忍量”!



当然,也要感谢他让我提前的减少了可避免的 “投资",“损失”。。。谢天谢地!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Letting the hair.... coloured!!!

The other day the few ladies were talking about hair...

The colour of hair reflects one's mood... at least that 'point' of the journey...

Colour of hair created quite a hot debate a couple of years ago: Teachers colouring hair!!! So, Teachers are role-models to pupils. Also, in schools, pupils are not allowed to dye hair, so, should teachers colour their hair?

In the name of being 'role-model'... I think teachers should not... School is a place for study... somewhere that's of serious work or serious fun... It should remain neat and clean... Well, perhaps I belong to the more conservation 'generation'? maybe 'generation' is a wrong word... hm... perhaps my mindset is still quite 古董? Hm... I think it also depends on the organisation or service we are in... for some, image of the organisation is important... and how the people in the organisation present themselves matters...

In fact, it never crossed my mind to colour my hair... or even 'highlight' my hair though the hair dresser, at one point of time, suggested. No, no, no... why should I dye my hair to other colours? It simply looks strange... at least I believe I will look very very strange.

On the other hand, I must admit that some people look very good and the colour blends in well! However, there are also some, after highlighting especially brown or light yellowish... partly because the hair is dry... they lost the 'lust' on their face... they simply look tired... so, I guess there's lots of 'maintenace' to follow-up in order to look good with the new colour.

Well, previously had colleague who left the service and came back to visit us... with a head of golden locks!!! Impression changed immediately... hahaha... don't say for a better or worse off one...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

NAS - Our Connection

This afternoon... a gathering... with Li Lian and Chock Kwun... yes, an annual opportunity created by Rosleenda. It's really old friends - long time no meet no talk... and talked alot. Yes, the more we talked about, it's about comparison... especially when all of us are out of NAS, now started to compare the current environment with where we came from...

Why where we came from? Really, all 3 of us spent no less than 10 years with NAS... almost grew up there... and all 3 of us left... in these recent 2 years... for different reasons... to different places... well, all in all... we miss NAS... Yes, we recalled the good times there... At one stage, one mentioned

Oh yes, not to forget our hostess... she's the alumni of NUS... Now, she has followed her heart and joined the service... being a Mother Tongue teachers with a primary school. Just wonder what crossed her mind when she saw the 3 of us so engaged in our conversation... will she be seeing herself in Nth years' time... in the same manner?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Traits of successful leaders

In fact, the title of the article was "Wanted: Workers who can think".

Nevertheless, this segment caught my attention... thought over it... yes, I have things to say for each... relating from my experience over these years... yes, have gone through different kinds of leaderships - I must say, the leaders are easy ones... each has their own style... (OK, will take time to slowly input my thoughts in blue.... till have all said, this bracket will remain to remind me of the unfinished thoughts....)
  • They help people decide for themselves what to do; they don't tell people what to do...
  • They lead in the creation of corporate visions. They align their personal visions with the corporate vision and help others in the company to do the same.
  • This is definitely important, when the leader knows what he wants, and it aligns with the organisation's vision. Of course, how to get the rest to do the same? The challenge is others should see them working towards achieving the organisation's vision and not working "for" the leader to help him "achieving his vision"! Came across colleagues who ever said, "He is driving everybody to fill up his 'achievement list' during his stay... let's see how long that will last - sure he'll come and go... Yes, every leader who's here have to do something to show progress lah!"... See? the focus was on the leader instead of being helping the organisation to achieve its milestone. People failed to see they are 'working' for the organisation! On the other hand, just wonder... why do people want to be so sceptical?
  • They expect excellence in those around them, and they made those expectations known. The people on their teams usually live up to these expectations.
  • Yes, leaders expect good work, at least a decent piece of work from their subordinates. On the other hand, leaders would also model, they walk the talk by demonstrating they are capable of delivering excellent work. On the other hand, to get subordinates to perform, it's not a "by default" or a "given"... it's not automatic! Do not take for granted! It takes leadership to lead, to influence the behaviour and thought of the subordinates.
  • They invite people to speak up, and they listen and respond to those who do. They welcome good news and bad news from their associates, knowing that they can't lead wisely unless they are fully informed.
  • True, having a listening ear is important, so that people know that their leader listens. However, one must be mindful, too... When the leader has decided on what it ought to be, yet, wanted to go through the exercise, for the sake of doing so, so as to 'demonstrate' that he listens... yet, ignore the ground's inputs... it backfires!!! People will soon feel it and what else will they coin 'him' with? "Hypocrite"!!!
  • They don't bark orders. They use positive reinforcement to influence people toward the behaviour they desire.
  • They don't isolate themselves from the people they lead. they mingle with tehm, ask about their problems and concerns, and look for ways to help them. They promote a sense of "family".
  • They don't pretend to have all the answers. They ask for information and advice before making decisions.
  • They don't try to do it all themselves. They make full use of the talents of those around them.
  • They don't lord it over others. They treat employees, clients, customers and associates with respect. they are not condescending toward any of the corporate stakeholders, but regard them all as members of the team.
  • They encourage a constant search for improvement and constant quest for excellence. They provide the educational and developmental programmes need to achieve these goals.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Talk about Love and Liking

This morning, the article "Desires, Pleasures and the gift of Love" caught my attention.

The interesting point is, the author brought up some 'grey' terms - love and liking. So, what's the difference? He brought in CS Lewis' "The Four Loves" which further arouses my interest to look at it further - so, they are namely: Affection (storge), Friendship (philia), Eros and Caritas (agape).

A new way of expressing - when we say we like/love.... it means we take pleasure in... and there are 2 groups of pleasures! those that are preceded by desire, and those that are not... hahaha... sounds chim I thought. But the example that follows explains pretty clearly (I thought):
  • An example when the pleasure is preceded by desire - that I thought it's linked to the need - water - a glass of water is a great pleasure when one's desire to have it is because of thirst... when the need is addressed, the degree of pleasure it brings with it drops tremendously.
  • On the other hand, a pleasure not preceded by desire would be the frangrance of flowers... oh yes, that reminded me of the mornings when I was greeted by the donkey, the frangrance of the wild flowers and wild grass, the glittering sounds of the river - water dashing across... the sunshine that's accompanied by the cool breeze... those were the days in Paro... I miss them! The smell of the ancient wooden bridge... It was really great pleasure :D

Friday, October 19, 2007

那天,“天气”变得 灰暗,
抬头,遥望天空,没有什么色泽。。。同时衬托了那天的心情 - 灰色。

不觉,想起 徐志摩的《歌》。

人生。。。 是一个接力赛。

《歌》 徐志摩(1896-1931)






Thursday, October 18, 2007


喜欢《再别康桥》 里的那两句:






同时,又更“行" 的人物出现了。。。
是的,我要求摇篮四周 - 宁静。






Monday, October 15, 2007

韩流? 日风?偶像!


年轻时,崇拜的(是崇拜吗?)的偶像不少。当时,已经刮起了日风。。。 当然,少不了“山口百惠”,“三浦友和”。。。可是,昨天,偶然的看了“恋人", 却让我看到了貌似”,“三浦友和”的“李瑞振”。。。 当然多看了几眼,结果,一口气就看了整个下午。

啊!看来, 又开始跟韩流结下不解之缘了!
在好奇心的驱使下,到网络里“捞针”。。。结果,捞到了一个网站, 可在那里重温看过的剧集,也可预先看精彩的画面。

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


有时, 想:人与人之间的相处之道, 到底是什么?










Thursday, October 04, 2007

A Travel Guide to Heaven

The title caught my attention! In fact, I was searching through Read @ TN's catalog for a travel guide for an upcoming trip, to a real place.

A guide to Heaven - that will not be as 'attractive'.... but a "Travel Guide"? Oops, my travel bugs suddenly become active!

Well, have been openly declared that I'm not a book reader - won't say that I'm not a book lover 'cos I love to buy and shelf books! hahaha... that's where I can dig out a number of handy and useful resources (at least once in a while!). That becomes a hobby? Well, some people thought that I waste money... hm... in chinese, it says 各花入各眼。

Back to the book... I've not read the whole book, except that 10 odd pages... One thing that strikes me is the description of 'heaven' - it's being described as something very "fun" & "fill with excitement". Well, well, it comes another level of interpretation, I think... that is, it's really a 'state' of what one enjoys... it could be something that is quiet... peaceful... not fun, but calm and harmony are some adjectives to it...

Fined by NLB? Oops! I remember!

Fines, fines, fines... Singapore is a "fine" city... Oh yes, I remember! and I'm reminded just recently!

Was reading the newspaper article the other day - ok, it's more like a complaint - that the writer owed the National Library $0.20 many years back and recently received a reminder to pay up the fine! And she had to undergo so much hassle (though asking her daughter to run the errands for her!)

Immediately, I mind said, "Oops!" that reminded me of the long-time fine that was yet paid up. Yep, of 2 books borrowed for my 2nd Paris trip! Oops! That was how many years back? It amounted up to less than $2.00. Why did I owe $??? Well, it's not because I don't want to pay, but the 'payment' system did not accept the mode of payment. Strange? Unbelievable!!!! In Singapore, we have problem paying??? Yes!!! When in the public library that librarians no longer handle cash???? The library only accepted cash card then... So, poor me tried with several NLBs but of not avail... and was further told my the librarians not to be worry!

Was on my way home... "Will I receive the notification?" I wondered.
Indeed, it's so 'efficient' that it appeared before my eyes when I entered the house!
Oops... no change, still have to go through cash card! Sigh!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Who Moved My Cheese?

Doraemon... the 1st episode

Have been faithfully following the Doraemon series over the weekend (Saturday for the repeat while Sunday's fresh episode).

Went to You-tube... and did a search. Not bad... found a few versions of the song... and the one in cantonese (a very different one) actually demonstrates how to draw it.

Also found the 1st episode... guess what! discover that all the figures were so much slimmer then!!! Cheers, Doraemon!!!

Staying Cool under Pressure

The title could my attention... Staying cool under pressure???? Oh yes, it's something that we often forget... or it simply goes unnoticed! We often do not notice the building up of pressure (the process), it's just like the pressure cooker, until it reaches the limit, it exploded (if we could not find the outlet of pressure)!!!

Here, in the article (under Recruit, 28 Sep 2007), it relates a story: There lived a man called Ticky. One day, he wandered into a Blacksmith's shop. The blacksmith just pulled a horseshoe out of the fire. Unsuspectedly, he reached out to the horseshoe! Of course, we know what happened next.

The article used this analogy to bring in what Peter F Drucker said, "a crisis must never be experienced for the 2nd time"

The article suggested that if one feels that the temperature in the organisation rises, one should stop and make a 3-point assessment of the situation:
  1. Is the friction caused by pressure from outside sources (eg. customers)?
  2. Is the friction coming from inside sources (eg. employee demands, unreasonable imperatives from senior executives)?
  3. Any personal issues invading the work place, brought in by one or more individuals up and down the organisational ladder, including yourself?
The advice is:
"Whatever difficulties are causing the organisation to heat up, you will be the one to cool the situation by, first, identifying how similar challenges were successfully negotiated in the past and second, refusing to pick up the hot horseshoe a second time."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Typhoon? Cyclones? Hurricanes? What's the Difference?

This article caught my eyes: How Typhoon Wipha got its name.

But before that... there's always one thing I could not quite differentiate - how different are typhoon, cyclones and hurricanes? From the Hongkong drama, we often heard about the locals, especially the boatpeople are always worried over the typhoons and it means rain - very very heavy downpour... but there are also other times from the documentaries, they talked about hurricanes, that normally sweep across the US!

Read HERE for more information.

Have we ever wonder how these disasters got their names? and why they are given such fanciful names?

Points from the Sunday Times (23 Sep 2007):

  • Centuries ago, people in the Caribbean islands (map) begin naming tropical cyclones after Catholic Saints
  • Australian Clement Wragge is the first meteorogist to name hurricanes at the end of the 19th century. He started using Greek letters before switcing to women's names. (Read more about Australia's first weathermen; Reason to name hurricanes)
  • Naming of hurricanes after women's names became popular in the 1930s-40s. US Army Air Corp and Navy meteorogists often name them after wives and girlfriends.
  • In 1953, US weather Bureau decided to use female names exclusively.
  • In 1962, naming of tropical cyclones of South-west Indian Ocean begins.
  • The Australian and South Pacific region starts giving women's names to storms from 1964.
  • The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the National Weather Service in US switch to a list that include men's names as well.
  • The WMO draws up a list of names for tropical cyclones in the Northwest Pacific basin that includes names from Asia and other parts of the world.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


It's mid-autumn festival again... Mooncakes! mooncakes! everywhere.

There are several legends about mooncakes, in particular, the popular one is the one about war - that the secret message was hidden in the mooncakes and passed down to everybody out there and....

About communication media...

Putting aside the taste and the look of the mooncake, hey, look at the communication media used! Even food served as a vehicle of communication so many decades ago! The Chinese were really innovative, right? Who would have thought of 'embedding' slips of papers into food! Of course, this tactic has been copied umpteen times as we watched movies and dramas!

Of course, apart from mooncake, another amazing way to 'post' letter/messages by air - with the pigeons! 飞鸽传书。Never have we seen that in any western movie... but the pigeons are such convenient and reliable postman in the past! It's amazing!!!

About appreciation of language and culture...

Just wondering... to many of us, especially in Singapore, apart from celebrating the festival because it's part of the Chinese culture, what else make it more meaningful?

It was a joke highlighted on the papers last year... that banners hanging outside the community clubs and RCs named the festival - "Mooncake Festival"!!!! OK, the banner were written in English!!! So, are we celebrating the mid-autumn Festival or the mooncake festival? I wonder...

Another highlight on this day, the 15th of the lunar August will be the lanterns! Oh yes, the lovely lanterns that is make up of the 'cane' frame with colourful cellophane papers - that make up the different animals and vehicles... oh yes, to light it up, we really have to use candles!!! This have evolved over the years and to a large extent, loses its essence already! Why? In the name of fusion (?) when the Japanese style lanterns are introduced? In the name of safety (?), progress(?), lanterns operate with batteries! OK, fortunately, our 'clever community' has not introduced the new deviation - "Lantern Festival" “ 灯笼节”.

~o~o~ A beautiful card from Mr Low ~o~o~


一口甜甜的饼,再来一杯幽香的茶。。。哇! 是一种享受!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Number Chasing? Award Chasing?

2 days ago, was talking to 2 colleagues who just joined HQ this year - One activity at this time of the year (apart from exams) that is absent at HQ is - SEM!!! The School Excellence Award. One may think that I'm mad... in fact, I miss SEM!!! hahaha... not enough of torture??? Not really... but I thought it is a rigorous and thorough process to 'stock take' the status of things.

Doing SEM, in fact, is a very thorough process that gets the schools to self-evaluate how sound its programmes are, how holistic the programmes are, and of course, the 'results' component is a means to tell how effective its programme is... in fact, it's just one school of thought that effectiveness can be measured by numbers, which in fact, many of the 'results' are demonstrated through straight line graphs, unfortunately. In other words, in a way, numbers speak louder than qualitative inputs, sometimes.

Then we talked about awards... yes, many a times, we 'stock take' awards when we start working on results components, such as Criterion 9. Over the years, MOE has introduced many different kinds of awards... so much so that the 'chasing after awards' symptom has become more and more common... So, what are awards? why aim for awards?

This spring out an interesting discussion - the school looks for awards, therefore teachers and pupils work hard to achieve that award! But what's the intent? I remember one of my ex-Principals got us to see 'awards' from a different perspective - they are just sign posts... in fact, when this was first introduced to the SCC, most do not quite buy in... some of us were quite sceptical! Similarly, for most teachers, they felt it's like 新瓶装旧酒。In fact, some of us might have thought... well, just say it straight, you want results! Right? Need not beat around the bush!

On the other hand, sitting back and look at it... indeed, think about the mission of the school... it's to develop our young - academic and character... Be it there's target or not, isn't that our key role being teachers who create direct impact on their growth, being the planners who map out
how to achieve this... in fact we are responsible for every child who's sent to the school.

So, when the school sets the target, the KPI, that 60% of the pupils to obtain distinction for a subject... how do we interpret that?

  • Let's strategise and make sure 6 out of 10 pupils must get a distinction ... well, meeting KPI, right? Very quickly, we can see our pupils being categorised into different 'bands' - those smart and motivate ones... quite sure they can secure a distinction without much 'interference' from teachers... Those who are of distinction material but lazy... do something to them - psycho them? threaten them? (definitely can find a way to get them score a distinction!) Those 'borderline' cases but motivated ones, usually the careless ones - make sure equip them with some foolproof techniques/skills... still not enough to make up the 60%? Then next lot - careless, not so motivated... still can do something... OK, meet quota already! Then how about our remaining 40%?
  • Of course there's another school of thought (taught?) - 有教无类 . (Yes, this reminded me that it's the hot button of one of my ex-Principals who do not really believe in this... probably seen too much of the 朽木 that are beyond repair... But (I think) he believes that everybody starts with an equal ground, time will tell whether one is a 朽木 or not. Of course, he will not spare them, to ensure they don't rot the rest of the eggs in the basket. However, one thing for sure he won't do - to pre-determine how many golden eggs are there in the basket; but he set the quality control to ensure at least how many golden eggs are there in each basket.
  • See the difference in the above?

One colleauge recently asked: Why schools go for green award? what has it got to do with pupils' development in the school? indeed, she was asking, why must the school chased after awards? This in turn adds pressure to the teachers, who have to run the programmes, etc.

  • In fact, my very first response is, do we know the rationale behind such awards? Hm... again, it's just a sign post, it's a recognition of the amount of effort put in to promote certain aspects (that's why there are so many different types of awards). On the other hand, unfortunately, many a time, teachers are not informed of its fundament rationale, but the indicators to measure it. See? It turned into a result-driven move!
  • For instance, the green award, why schools go for it? I think we have to re-visit the rationale. OK, must admit that I can't recall hearing the rationale of the award (from any of my bosses). However, let's step back and think - Why do we go green? It's about about mother nature. It's about our environment - a precious source. Isn't it everybody's (earth being's) responsibility to love and protect it? To do this, it starts from us, ie. our habit, the right values! I thought these are important. To inculcate this, the school creates opportunities for students to raise their awareness, to 'practice' it. So, to see how successful in value-adding to the people... so far (unfortunately) the only means is to measure it through something that's measureable and observable - ie. through programmes in place and the outcomes (ie. normally represented in the form of numbers).

So, is it worth going for the Green Award? Hm... Think this is not important, 'cos it's just to measure the extent of effort... but I think what's more important is the INTENT behind all these processes! What do you think?

Monday, September 03, 2007

The "阴" and "阳" of fighting mozzies

The other day, a few of us were talking about who's more prone to mosquito bites (in the context of the dengue phenomenon). Then recall reading this article in "Mind Your Body" (August 8, 2007).
  • Can garlic keep mozzies away?
  • Drinking alcohol attracts mosquitoes?

What attracts mosquitoes...

  • alcohol is yin or expanding. Having alcohol in the blood thus attracts mosquitoes, which are compact - that is, contracted or yang creatures.
  • So... mosquitoes are yang?
  • Other yin food includes sugar, carbonated drinks, most food chemicals. Excessive amounts of fruits will also attract mosquitoes.

What keeps mosquitoes away...

  • Foods with qualities opposite to that of alcohol and sweets.
  • This would be salt, which is very yang or contracting.
  • Macrobiotics recommends umeboshi, a salt-pickled sour plum similar to the sng boey. But it has to be of natural, organic quality. Umeboshi containing chemical food colouring may not work.

My personal experience...

While in Bhutan, I was surprised why I was attacked by insect whereas people living under the same roof (ie. the locals) were not affected... One of my local friends casually joked, "It's because your blood is fresher and sweet."

Hm... In a way, it was true, I thought... the locals do not fancy chocolates though they like to chew gums! I love chocolates! Indeed, I imported my favourite chocolates... so, the sweetness in my blood attracted the undesireable attraction!

Another point: The locals love chilli, which is one of their 'staples' (of course, besides rice)! So, chillis are too hot for mosquitoes! (I guess...)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A tribute to my teachers

Like what Zubaidah mentioned in her ecard - once a teacher, forever a teacher... in chinese, we have the same saying, too ... 一日为师,终身为师. It sounds like the kungfu shows where the disciplines live with these beliefs and thoughts.

Look around, "Teachers", go beyond those through formalised learning institutions. They could be our mentors, they could be our seniors, they could be our bosses, they could be our peers, and they might even be our students!!!

Yes, every year this year, is an important day. While I was still in school, it was just an event to celebrate - frankly speaking, I knew little of its meaning in my school days! Like many today, it's just a day to celebrate and have some fun, party and no lessons! (Yes, there was one year, the class spent so much time to draw and decorate the notice board so that our teachers could not carry on with the lessons! hahaha....). What's more in the university days, when we were very 'detached' from our lecturers and tutors!


But looking back, some teachers that I can remember... some teachers who had make a difference in the way I think, I believe, I behave...


from my primary school, Beatty...

Mr Chan Kok Thye, my Chinese teacher, also the Discipline teacher. I don't call him 曾老师,I call him 曾先生 . And yes, he did not call me 桂艳.But, together with my surname: 罗桂艳同学. I looked forward attending his class... Why? Looking back, I guess because Chinese was (and still is) my favourite subject and the one that outperform any other subjects. Yes, Still remember that the only competitor at that time was Pei Pei. We were in the same class since Primary 1... all the way to Primary 6... Each year, it's either myself or Pei Pei will top the Chinese class... hahaha... anyway, we were very good friends... so, both of us were engaged in such friendly match for 6 solid years. Of course, I was also the apple of Mr Chan's eyes :D And yes, being the Head Prefect, I'm one of his left/right hand! OK, to describe him - he was lean and tall, and yes, always have a cane with him. In fact, one thing that has proven right is, acknowledgement of good performance reinforces positive behaviour and motivates one to work even harder and better. Be generous with praises!
Another teacher is Mr Teng Kom Ming 陈老师. Yes, my Chinese teacher again in P4 and P5. Still remember that he was usually the one teacher will led the few of us to cross the busy Lavender Street either on our way to the school or on our way home. Oh yah, his timing was always so predictable... still remember that once, the road was filled with so much vehicles that I almost cried when we stood on the middle of the road while the vehicles simply just zoomed past us, front and back! Ever since that incident, I insist (till now) that I'll cross in a safe manner - traffic lights, zebra crossing, overhead bridge and underpass... yes, they're a must! Also, it pays to be late than never...


Mrs Hum, my P2 form teacher who also taught us English. Still remember the painful hits by the wooden ruler on my palms because I cheated in the English spelling! I was still puzzled why such as foolish act - as a child, scoring full marks is important to me then. It was the first and last time. This was the most unforgetable and important lesson learnt. No more after that... no matter how desperate. Honesty! Honesty! Honesty! I will never forget to uphold this value.

Another unforgetable instance happened in an English lesson again and I think, to some extent, after that instant, I quietened down alot. It was not because I was talkative, but I became more conscious and cautious when I speak in English! Still remember the story - "King Solomon and the 12 Children" that tells how the King used his wits to solve the puzzle. It was the first time I was caught not able to pronounce the words "Child" and "Children" correctly. The worst came when I still could not produce the words despite she repeatedly correct me in the same session. That was devastating to an 8-year-old child! My self-esteem was badly hurt! For this, I always remember that self-esteem is very fragile - so, it takes one's extra effort to ensure children learn in a safe and conducive manner...


Ms Sally was the one who made me realise my forte in music... Hm... I played the chinese instrument 月琴 since kindergarten, but I did not know I could sing :D (oh, it sounds funny right? Everybody can sing... but to sing in a choir!) I was selected to be part of the choir to sing in the competition - ok, still remember one of the songs - The Spider and the Fly. Hahaha... still remember how to make it sound cheeky when we impersonate the spider... and thanks to her for introducing another song to us - When You're Smiling.... That, I learnt no matter who comes, smile... it's magical... it breaks the wall between people... smile... to look at the better and brighter side of things. Thanks! I'm still practising that!


My Secondary school days at Temasek...

Mrs Gan, my Science Teacher who's very motherly... not very tall... always see her in the Science lab.
Another is Mrs Ang, who was at the plump side. She was not very fierce, but she looked fierce, probably because of her bright red lipstick! Can imagine when she talked, it's like the 血盆大口! That explains why I never own one bright red lipstick!
I think, among all the Science teachers I had in the secondary school days, the most classic one would be Ms Rama. She was a beginning teacher when posted to the school. Still remembered that she liked to describe the canteen of TJ (but could not remember under what context). She's now the HOD/Maths in BNSS. Well, she taught us Physics - one of the most 'abstract' subjects in Sec 3. I'll never forget who we did during our Physics lessons - it was practically a copying session. The whole class turned into human photocopiers!
But somehow, we passed our exams. I think, that explains... when a child is successful (pass or fail an exam), what matters most is how the child reacts to the situation... the teacher is good, it enhances the performance... if the teacher is unable to provide good guidance yet the child is smart or found his/her way, he/she can still succeed!
Mr Goh Aik Choon was the most animated teacher we had. He added life to our Additional Maths lessons. OK, bear in mind that back in the early 80s, computer was still an alien term to all of us! Could still remember how he moved from one end of the classroom to the other, to illustrate what's meant by displacement. OK, he was also a discipline master. He was known to be fierce. However, he was totally different when resumed the role of teacher. In fact, the class was surprise and never knew why he was replaced by Ms Rama... But having been in the system now, I think it's because of re-deployment due to new staff... what shortlived joy to learn the subjects!
Ms Teo was best remembered of her big ear rings. Yes, her colour sense - her pairs of ear rings always matched wtih her dress that came with a thick belt and of course, a matching pair of heels! What else I remember about her class? Hm... She knew when to give a pad on our shoulders. She bothered and care to acknowledge improvements made by her students ... and more importantly, I think, I worked for me! :D

Oh yes, how could I missed out my Chinese teachers. There were Mr Sim 沈老师 (外号:沈胜衣), Mr Fong 方老师 (外号:方得老). Of course, another young teacher who was always bullied by the class 刘老师. A very nice lady who bothered to check and find out more in order to answer to our queries. The last time I met her was at NAS, when she did a follow-up on a project with the Chinese department. Well, while in TMS, I still did well in Chinese... however, the kind of enthusiasm and motivation seemed to have shrunk. Why? Hm... I think it's the teacher's factor! Teachers do make a difference!
Among all the teachers in TMS, we all know there's one whom we can't "play, play" with... That was Mrs Yang, the Home Economics Teacher! She was in her early 40s (I guess at that time)... she was well known for being very fussy. Oh yes, we suffered alot during the Home Economics class. It was really 不动为妙. The 3-4 periods per week was the most stressful lessons of all! Now, try to see from her perspective - hm... perhaps, it's the high standards that she demanded from her students?


It was quite unfortunate that as I moved higher and higher, there seemed to be lesser and lesser that I could recall... Just wondering, when we said, teachers made an impact on the students' life... then who left the deepest impression with the students? I think, for sure (in my case), it's my primary school teachers! The least, the ones in JC. In JC, the impression is really, only the fittest survive, especially when in one of the top JCs then, Temasek.

My JC days? Apart from my CCA, it seems dry... Lecturers? Tutors? Hm... my impression was they didn't care much... as of the well-being of the students, except getting them to hit the number of As (yes, now I know these are their KPIs!). So, KPIs were not new to the system!



~ These are some e-cards from friends ~

Set a Good Example

Read another article Set a good example (under Recruit on Sept 1, 2007)...

One interesting thing pointed out in the article: emotional engagement.
How does this come about? It brought up that, with close competition in the market, customers demands more and service provider has to deliver. The customer is bombarded with tons of marketing messages that attempt to influence his brand perceptions of various products and services.

It takes something drastic to catch his attention amidst the avalanche of information. The key is to emotionally engage the customer. Logic makes him think but emotion makes him act.

In fact, this is applicable and observable to workshops we conduct - in a way, a "good" workshop comes with trainers being able to connect to the participants! Put ourselves in the shoes of the participants - what are some workshops that we really feel good after it and what are those that we just take it as any session?

Different types of Team members?

Was reading this article: Make it a Team Effort (under Recruit on Sept 1, 2007)... It brought up several points about how bosses tap on what they have to bring about team performances. However, the way it's put across... don't quite see the human resource capacity building aspect...

1. One thing very true: "As a leader, you should gain the respect of your subordinates"... however it did not elaborate how to go about doing it or pen down any 'observable' symptoms on this...

2. "You may not always be liked, because many decisions that effective leaders need to make may be unpopular with at least some of the people". True! This is not the first time I hear this. I first heard this from my work review with Mrs Tan WL. Yes, one of my ex-colleagues who was quite close to me did once alerted me of a nickname some colleagues give me - Slave driver... hahaha!!! It was because at that time, I took bold steps to drive the library programme quite differently, and also, because I stepped into the terriority which was once owned by a single owner then... I also learnt: Change management becomes important, not only to the leader, but also to prepare the team that undergoes the change.

3. "Cultivate an ethical culture... Every action you take must demonstrate your ethical values". Maybe I deviate from the main topic, but I think an ethical culture is really crucial for one to work in a safe and trusting environment. Why do I say so? For instance, teachers expect a fair assessment being presented during the annual Staff Appraisal/Ranking session. Do the key personnel present a fair assessment of the fellow colleagues? any bias? While everybody in the team have been briefed on the necessity to keep the discussion confidential, yet, after each session, there'll bound to have some teachers who are aware of what's discussed. Why? As a result... what do other key personnel think? what do other colleauges think of their reporting officers?

4. The article further classifies team members into several categories... (quote from the article)
  • Water-walkers: This group consists of capable, intelligent and quick thinking people. Take care of them. They can go right across the street and get paid more than what you are currently paying them.
  • Speed-breakers: Your speed-breakers are those who will readily give you the reasons why a new idea won't work out without even exploring alternatives. They slow down the progress of the entire organisation. Move them away from departments such as corporate planning and product dvelopment.
  • Actors: These people put up a show in your presence and project themselves as performers, when actually they are not. The sooner you identify them, the better it is for group morale and productivity.
  • Routine specialist: They carry out all the routine, mundance activities and keep themselves occupied. They meticulously follow procedures. Use them for back-end jobs. But make sure they are efficient in what they do.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Putting Work Woes in Perspective

Thursday morning, BY brought the article "Putting Work Woes in Perspective" and shared with some of us. She mentioned at the first few paragraphs in fact echoed what she's going through at present. Coincidentally, on Thursday's RECRUIT, there's an article on "Build up emotional strength".

Went home... and pull out the article for a more 'thorough read'... Yes, the article describes the emotions of many in the office (hm... in our section?). Step back and ask ourselves... does this only happen here? Hm... in fact, I believe we can find similar symptom everywhere... even within our building... across divisions and branches!

Here are several interesting points that provoke my thoughts:
"...I must admit, there are days and sometimes even weeks when I feel incompetent at my job..."

  • This in fact reminds me of the Peter's Principle (I'm not an avid reader but this dusty little book hidden among the books in the NIE library caught my attention while I did my DDM course many years back... I think, it aroused my curiosity to read further because it has something to do with management and supervision - it talks about competence).
  • Briefly, from wikipedia, it says, "anything that works will be used in progressively challenging applications until it causes a disaster." & "On the personal level, the Peter Principle's practical application allows assessment of the potential of an employee for a promotion based on performance in the current job, i.e. members of a hierarchical organization eventually are promoted to their highest level of competence, after which further promotion raises them to incompetence. That level is the employee's "level of incompetence" where the employee has no chance of further promotion, thus reaching his or her career's ceiling in an organization."
  • So, is it a matter of incompetence - with reference to the skill set required by the current jobscope? or is it because one has not tried hard enough and still lives in the old world, old paradigm?

"...The temptation is to go for a big cover up - I'll just make myself look very busy so that no one will be able to tell I'm worry about how I'm messing up..."

  • I thought this is quite unlikely to happen... or even if it happens, one would not be able to cover up for long 'cos the deliverables tells! The deliverable (when quality counts!) tells the amount of effort, the amount knowledge one has, and the amount of experience one has - on the particular task.
  • The worst is, when one is asked - "Based on what I see, I really could not understand what you are busy with"... Get it? Others can see through the disguise! Then, I think it's worse... the emotional bank account may just go burst!

"...The first thing to do to deal with feelings of inadequacy is to have a realistic appraisal of your own strengths and weak..."

  • Appraisal of one's strengths and weakness - it also means taking a good look and assess our very own. It is easy to acknowledge our strengths. On the other hand, to acknowledge our own weakness can be very cruel, too!

"...Sometimes, it is leadership which has failed you. It could be that your tasks are impossible because they have ill-defined goals that keep shifting..."

  • Hm... that sounds familiar? It could be ill-defined goals... on the other hand, it could be assumptions that leaders have... ???
  • Shifting goals? In fact, that's not uncommon... even in schools, there's shifting goals, too... while in one year, the goal is defined and all are clear to head towards it, external factor sometimes simply sway it away from its main course! One good example is when one reaches its goal far more faster than expected... then...???

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Build up emotional strength

Read this on Thursday's RECRUIT... it talked about Emotional Strength.

An interesting analogy: Emotional Fitness <> Physical Fitness

It describes Emotional Strength as the ability to develop a sustained capacity to thrive when the going gets tough. One needs emotional fitness when handling a crisis or some prolonged challenging situation that confronts and confounds us. It takes tremendous emotional energy to remain motivated.

The article pointed out 4 areas to work on:

  • 1. Be Patient, which is the most important of all 4.
  • When a recurrent problematic situation saps our emotional energy, the best way to react is to be patient and work towards the best solution even though it may take time.
  • The article also advises to break the problem into smaller achievable steps and enjoy the little victories everytime we solve one small aspect of the problem. This helps us to focus and remain motivated.
  • Patience builds one's internal strength. The 'demand' of patience also tests one's internal strength. It has its limit, and interesting, this limit is elastic - depending on the kind of 'test' it's subjected to and other external factors!
  • An analogy would be the boiling point of water. At sea level "0", water boils at 100 ° C. However, at the mountain top, its boiling point changes because of the change of pressure!
  • Of course, over the years, many of us mellowed down... and no longer think, act and speak so 'impulsively'... is it because of maturity? because of the accumulated wisdom? Hm... ^.^
  • Sometimes, I think, by putting ourselves in others' shoes, try to think from his/her perspective (taking into account of his background and past experiences), it does help to stretch our patience further, as we understand why sometimes he/she react in a certain manner - that tests our patience! Yes, I think, it helps!
  • 2. Develop a Spiritual Centre where we accept who we are and what we can do. Do not be interferred by external "good to haves".
  • Being realistic and down-to-earth makes us feel good about ourselves.
  • Also, appreicate our own talents and work on our AFIs!
  • Yes... many a time, we look around us... and envy what others have... (but we have yet experienced). It brings to the old analogy: Is the glass half filled or half empty?
  • It's human nature - that we tend to compare... (that day was just talking about this with PH and BY)...
  • There's a high tendency when we compare of ourselves with the better off... and we ended up asking why? Why better things tend to happen to others but not ourselves? So, our glass is half empty?
  • One obvious example I could think of would be a comparison of the working atmosphere of the 2 sections, which is a great contrast.
  • While one section projects a very sunny image when others perceive things go very well and people are happy - does this apply to everyone? It's good to observe and imagine how one fits into the company too... Does the sun always shine?
  • While in another section that projects a very 'stressed-up' and 'serious' image... is it a true indication of situation really that bad? Think about it... Has the sun shy away from here?
  • It's also human nature that intuitively, we don't compare ourselves with the 'worse off' unless we are subjected to that kind of thoughts! We forget to see the filled portion and appreciate what we have.
  • 3. Make a Paradigm shift. "A paradigm is a way of thinking".
  • It says, if something is not working for you, it could be that you are tapped in a certain way of thinking.
  • So??? Try looking at the challenge from a different perspective. Talk to someone you trust to see if there's any suggestion to handle the situation.
  • 4. Engage in Positive Self-Reflection.
  • Learn to always see ourself as a positive and successful person.
  • For things that do not go well, it's good should acknowledge what has happened, where and why things went wrong - reflect and pick up the learning points... move on and stop dwelling on the past!

"Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realise it. For the world has built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and griefs which we endure help us marching onwards." - Henry Ford

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Was rather hungry after the watching the musical... well, it's not the musical that made me hungry, but went without lunch (because of the heavy breakfast)... Ah ha! There came the chance to try out some new food outlets at the basement of the Raffles City... There are so many of them...

So far, have been getting the cream puffs from Beard Papa ... Hm... the yummy yummy light cream puffs! Yes, it's really worth the try, espec

Hopped into a small Japanese outlet (Amanogawa)... ordered a yamato set... It comes with a very thick miso soup, 3 pieces of prawn tempura that were very fresh and pretty juicy, a salad, and of course, the main reason for ordering that, a hearty serving of salmon! 6 thick freshy jusicy pieces!

While dugging into my meal, a few teenagers sat on the table, overheard what their discussion on what to order...
  • 吃什么?
  • 我要吃生的 (ie. sashimi)
  • 我不吃生的。。。还有什么?
  • 不要紧,我吃生的。。。你就吃“死”的。。。

Er??? 吃“死”的? 有没有搞错?是吃熟的吧!


The Musical: The King and I

the musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, based on Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon.

  • The musical... One of the few that generates laughter from the audience... Yes, we will not hear such response at the Phantom of the Opera!
  • "etc. etc. etc." hahaha... this has become the "most memorable words" said in the play... which means "the rest..." (as Anna explained to the King)
  • There are so many children! OK, it's after the show when I read the website, then realised that many of them are our local children!
  • It's the first time that so many males 'bared' their body... as Louis surprised Anna "There's a naked man" which the latter corrected him embarrassingly "They are half-naked"... hahaha...
  • So much 'gold' colour seen.
  • One old asian culture "男尊女卑" was obvious illustrated: When the king asked Anna not to be 'taller' than him... {OK, it was brought out in a humorous way}
  • Another thing, the FACE... the importance of making sure one does not loss face also appeared here... when the king faced the problem (being called barbaric) and wanted to find a solution (through Anna)... however, refusing to admit he needed the help... The King asked Anna to guess his "solution" (that he had not had any)... while Anna tactfully provided her suggestion in response to the guess... Smart, right? Hm... Anna has very high EQ!!!
  • Oh yes, also The Small House of Uncle Cabin, performed in the Siam ballet... the very first time to see the thai art... the exaggerating gestures with masked / heavily powdered white faces.

  • Overall... it was a good show... a good Saturday afternoon at the theatre...
  • The singing is good though at the beginning, I was trying to figure out what the King's trying to say... OK, I always blame it to my weak english listening skill... Hm... after 2nd thought, I think, it must be because I'm not that familiar with the plot and the songs...
The cast: ,

More about "The King and I":
Uncle Tom's Cabin:
"The King and I" Singapore Tour:

Friday, August 24, 2007


近几个月,很偶然的,接二连三地遇到老朋友。。。 前阵子,遇上了高中同学。。。

这个星期,七天里,就接二连三遇到DDM的同学 - Linda (在Sungei Buloh Workshop),Chiew Ming (那天跟Gayatri讨论Project时收到她打来的电话,可是因为讨论到一半,无法抽空出来见面)和Tock Lee(在S7 ITSharing时遇上)。


Sunday, August 19, 2007




在Maths Conference,遇见宜美。
在NIE Library,遇见Douglas
在ExCEL Fest,遇见秀盈。
在Yishun Interchange,遇见佩珊



Saturday, August 11, 2007

Happy Sweet 42

Singapore celebrates its 42nd birthday! Hooray! We have reached another milestone. I think, each year, has been a milestone... Each year, there're always challenges to roughen our physic. It has toughened us along the way... It has also shaped our mental model, in a way, how we see this island country.

National Education, have we started experiencing the effect it has brought to us over the years? Globalisation, how has it changed our views on ourselves? We have progressed fast... have our behaviour, thinking reflect a nation that's at the mature age of 42?

"There's No Place I'd Rather Be" [2007]


"Will You" [2007]

"Reach out for the Skies" [2006]

"My Island Home" [2006]


"The National Anthem"

"One United People"

From Dick Lee:
"Count on me":
"Christmas Song":

Widow Village @ New Delhi

The documentary shown about married women in India - those who lose their spouse and those who were abused.

It's a surprise(?) there exists widow villages in India (the one shown in the documentary is at New Delhi). Who comes here? or perhaps should ask - who send them there? why send them there?

The sad thing is, as far as they lost their spouse, they are considered unlucky women and will be isolated. On the other hand, the widows in the interview seem to be very receptive to the treatment. The sadder thing is, one woman mentioned, it was her children who sent her there and since (for more than 20 years) not visited her.

Why the community set up such a widow village? Isn't it encouraging such a practice within the community? Why the women are just so receptive to this unjustice treatment?

Saturday, August 04, 2007






其实,当我更认识一个机构后,有时,是因更了解而更失望。其实,这其中包含了因为很多个“为什么”。。。但,为什么不去问呢?道理很简单,因为,问了也是没用, 没有答案的。

简单的看,就是为了个“争”字 - 争一口气? 争“名”?争“功”。。。到头来,只会保护自己,而忘了大局。其实,为什么要“争"呢?大家做的,还不是为了同一个机构吗?“争"是为了得到认同?赞赏? 是为了可以出线吗?是为了把别人比下去吗?难道,是为了显示自己的“权" 吗?唉!失望!



两个部门主管之间的“争", 是无人不知的。时不时就会出现对指的场面;时不时会看到明显的“偏”;有时,还看到同样的东西出现双胞胎!那时,费时又费力的事!这同事造成了有些同时有样学样。。。


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Make Your Employees HAPPY

an article from the Straits Times (Saturday, July 18, 2007) - Executive Appointment (R56)

The article article started off with this:

If you are an emloyer or a manager, chances are that workplace absence is costing you money and inconvenience and upsetting your customers.

  • >> Does it really cost money and convenience? Yes, it not just applies to the private sector, but more so in the school scenario! That reminded me of the days when I was in-charge of making arrangement for teachers to relieve classes when colleagues could not come to school - commonly, sick leave, childcare leave, of course, there are also those who are on course. Yes, all these, if we want to calculate in dollars and cents, it costs a lot.
  • >> Rate of relief teacher can range from around $100 to almost $300, depending on their qualification and experience! On the other hand, when it comes to ad-hoc instances, students' learning are interrupted.
  • >> Still remember, some colleagues' days to go on medical leave became so predictable! In some days, I do question (in my heart) - Is that genuine case or not? Is that so serious? Are your pupils' learning at stake? For pupils, teachers would call the clinic to check when there are observable patterns. For teachers? Professionalism and integrity are being questioned if we are to go to that extent.
  • >> In fact, heard from an ex-colleague that now the school has started the "TOP 10" chart to chart and track teachers' absence - one interesting observation - one of the teachers, no matter include or exclude her maternity leave, she still tops the chart... If I recall correctly, she has been on the top 10 since those days I manage the relief duty arrangement - Wow! She has been very 'consistent'... hahaha...
  • >> As of those who attended course, definitely, their absence is more costly than others - on top of their course fee, there's also the money pump into getting relief teachers to take over their duty. No wonder training has to be taken very seriously, especially in schools! So far, I think teachers who signed for up workshops will dutifully attend the training.
  • >> The other day, one of the current colleagues who previously worked in another Ministry many years back (in her first career) shared that they usually attend the workshop in groups and will 'disappear' after the lunch to gain free time for themselves. I was totally shocked!!! Where's your integrity? I start to wonder... What's your professionalism? I start to doubt... As an adult, what's right? what's not right?... I start to question (or should I say, I start to look out for...) your value...

It further said:

  • If people are happy at work, then they are less likely to take a day off every time they wake up with a stuffy nose.
  • Really? I wonder.... There's another group - People who have no choice, too...
  • OK, look at a case whereby one is more sick than a stuffy nose... In an event that one has to go on medical leave, can the outstanding job be delayed or taken over by another person would be another determining factor to go on leave for that day or not.
  • A friend who's working at NIE now shared that she would not be able to go on leave even when she's not well - because there are more than 300 in a lecture theatre waiting for you! One could not just cancel or postpone the lecture in this manner.
  • Another friend who worked in a polytechnic in the past shared that unless one has made prior arrangement with the team to cover each other... otherwise, she still have to turn up - "75% attendance" is something at will be at the back of her mind. Moreover, to do a make-up session with a large group is very very different from a tutorial group.
  • I think, this now applies to my current job, too. Although on one hand, we have been reminded that the co-trainer has to know what the training is about and to be prepared, I just wonder... one still have to assess the situation very carefully - is the co-trainer ready to deliver... it's not a matter of an individual's performance (if don't do well this time, can try again), but I think the reaction / perception / impression the stakeholders have on the workshop delivered by the section will be more crucial.
  • Do I have colleagues who show symptoms described in the article? Yes, I think... Is it something to do with the 'weather' here? Someone jokingly said, we started to sense the globalwarming effect here... Oops! El Nino and La Nina effects?

The article also touches on

  1. Pick the right person. This is not enough... but also to find out... what makes them happy, how well they get on with others and how much energy and enthusiasm they have. Make sure they know what they are getting into, and be sure the job suits them!
  2. Believe in your people. Demonstrate through... words, tone of voice and body language. It says, If you believe that your people are not to be trusted, are unable to make decisions and will turn up late and go home early, then that is exactly what they will do. So, is this the "self-fulfilling prophecy and make-belief" that will influence the 'subjects' to make it happens? Definitely, this is going to generate more negative effects as the time goes...
  3. Give feedback. It says, most employees want to know how they are performing in their job - they want to know if they are doing it right or how they can do it better. It says, If your really want to motivate your people, give them feedback on what they are doing well and what needs improvement. Why I underline "doing well"? Because, I think this is something really lacking in the working environment - except in stories like Fish... and many of us forget - feedback can be positive, too!