Saturday, August 30, 2008

Puccini's Turandot

30 August 2008 @ Esplanade Theatre

Quoted from the Uniquely Singapore website...

Set in the Forbidden City of Beijing, Puccini's final masterpiece tells the compelling story of the beautiful yet ruthless princess whose suitors must answer three riddles or perish. When a daring young prince resolves to win her, he unleashes a gripping test of sacrifice, loyalty and love. Be enchanted by Puccini's memorable and glorious melodies and the famous aria Nessum Dorma.

Read storyline HERE

It 's one of the longest play I watched... first time, when the play comes with 2 intermissions (20 min & 15 min respectively). It's a solid 2 hour opera... that sang in a language that's alien to me... but with 2 numbers that I'm very familiar... No doubt, first one is the Nessun dorma! (ie. "None shall Sleep" - by Placido Domingo) and surprising the next one is 茉莉花 sang in Italian.

It's not the first time that I watch a play that's neither in English or Mandarin (The last time was the Notre Dame in French)... so, used to reading the subtitles... Perhaps it's the story not too captivating... maybe it's personal preference... er... even to some extent, that's some conflict with the values that I hold more dearly to... while it's something not in the storyline...

It's about filial piety vs love... one could leave his parent behind... and to pursue LOVE - which is love at the first sight! love of someone who's cruel! (at least the behaviour, though it was huanted by bad experiences). Is that "LOVE" worth the sacrifice????? Something that I could not reconcile with... I guess, it's a matter of "Rule by the Heart" or "Rule by the Head"...

Anyway... the story went on too slowly.... too slowly.... By the way, it's really a good choice to get the front row seat... Yes, the facial expressions were very very clear! Hm... Suspect that microphones were not used... for some parts, could feel the 'distance'... something that can be improved on! The singing... hm... if have listened to the ones by the 3 tenors.... hm.... OK, this one... once is enough...

COMEX 2009

Went to the Comex fair... It's the 1st time to an IT Fair since 2 years ago when it was one of our "Learning Journey" with Timothy, Joseph, etc... (the 1st year at ETD).

It's at Suntec this time... I thought, the hall must be packed... But surprising, it's not just the hall was packed... in fact, the halls at the various levels as well as the atrium areas were packed! So difficult to move around... really squeezing around... but it's still quite ok...

Did not really have any target in mind... though some point in time, while talking to some colleagues, thought of getting a mp3 player/recorder... but what I really want to get is a thumbdrive or portable hard disk... which I ended up buying both, and one more - an SD drive. Well, learnt something new! The higher the capacity of the SD drive, the more energy in the camera that it will suck... One more new thing...which still have some doubt - ie. the Imitation Portable hard disk... seems to do backup online... hm...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dance Image '08

The ticket's from a friend... Have not bought any ticket to watch any dance performance before... I guess, it's because, I think... (er... I believe???) I yet know how to appreciate dances... Somehow it never clicked me... although dances are pretty common in schools - Chinese dance, Malay dance, Indian dance, HipHop dance, Modern dance... So far, saw a dance at NYGH (I think) some years back... It was a ballet... and so far, that's the only one that really impressed me... nevertheless, it did not strike me to learn more about this form of arts....
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Was trying to figure out what the title "Dance Image" means... maybe it's a direct translation of 舞影, I guess, ... it referred to the graceful movements of the dancers and their accompanying shadows...

Initially thought it's about Chinese dances for the night, as it kicked start with a traditional chinese dance followed by a Tibetan dance and a Mongolian dance... but then... it moved on to Malay dance with the song "Chan Mali Mali Chan"... then a modern dance!!! Oh no! What a rojak, my heart screamed! So, what's the focal point of the entire performance, I wonder...

The first dance used pink to symbolise the young awakening spring... pink costume, pink fan and pink handkerchief... the dance was not that impressive... somehow, the dancers could not bring out the graciousness of a chinese dance...

Then came the next one, Tibetan dance! Ha! Immediately, imagines of my Bhutanese students appeared before my eyes! Yes, still remember watching their house performances! Though they are Bhutanese, but because of the closelessness in their culture, can really feel the kind of strength and openness in their dance steps and movements... which was totally absent from this 2nd dance... the stiffness, the swings... too fake... disappointing, although the colours is brighter and the tune they used is lighter... no, no... nowhere near, I'm afraid.

The Mongolian dance was no better... it's the stiffness that spoils the whole thing... I guess (from someone who rarely gets in touch with dances). Of course, my benchmark would be what I saw in TV dramas! hahaha....

Didn't know that I'm able to decipher modern dances till the last item... that tried to describe the damages made to the environment - by natural disasters as well as mankind... Ha! Here, I'm clever :P Part 1: The dancers in green and pink to symbolise nature... the undisturbed earth (I guess)... then Part 2 came 9 dancers in orange/red outfit while another 9 in blue... I believe they represented natural disasters - orange/red for earthquakes and fires while blue for floods, tsunamis and hurricanes! Then after a while... tens of plastic bottles of different sizes covered the dance floor! ha! that's damages by mankind? I guess so... Eventually, the last part when a young child picked up a couple of bottles to throw them into a recycle bin... there it ended...

Hm... the performance was not impressive... but I guess, to the performances, it's an achievement... after hours of practices and having to pick up the courage to perform in front of the hall of audiences... That reminded me of the days when I performed in the same place for our college's 10th year anniversary - the Rhapsody... Yes, it's a memorable one...to me, at least.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fireworks (II)

It's simply coincidence that the fireworks began during the intermission of the performance! Another chance to catch it live! How could I miss it!!! This time, view from the Victoria Theatre...


The very first look, while outside Victoria Theatre...

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Next... move in front of the Victoria Concert Hall... A better view :D

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微笑

曾经,写过一篇有关微笑的blog post (click HERE)。那是短叙在不丹的人与事。在这里,我们似乎对微笑这回事,显得特别的谨慎。。。甚至吝啬。。。

小时,大人总是会千吩咐,万嘱咐。。。千万不要对陌生人打招呼。防人之心不可无。

很多时候,我们都是用微笑来打招呼。那是最基本的。微笑也是用来撤掉隔膜的‘工具’。当然,我们微笑的对象,通常都是跟某些活动或机构有关系的。有如,当我们举办训练时,我们多会以亲切的笑容和参加者打招呼。。。尽量与他们竖立良好的关系。。。换句话说,都是有‘动机’的。

那两天,连续两天,遇到了两个陌生人。。。迎面而来,擦身而过。。。只觉得有点似曾相似的感觉。。。但,就是有个莫名的感觉。。。但,我们的脸上,都露出的微微的一笑 :D

Keep in Touch!

Yes, with technology and high internet penetration rate in Singapore, there is little we need to enlist the help of the postman to get in touch with our friends... A click at the button, a message will reach the recipient's mailbox in seconds! That's how much and how far we have progressed.

In fact, just wondering if the younger generation have really seen a REAL stamp? hahaha... some might not have! Not to be surprise.

Among my peers, am one of the earlier 'converter', started using email. Wah! so convenient... but somehow, feel something amiss.... It's that touch... I think... (still very much like the concrete feel)... also, the uniqueness that come in the personalised handwriting... It's just like people said, one can feel the mood/feel of the chef from the food... similarly, one can feel the mood/feel of the writer when he/she pens down each single letter and words...

Was on leave last Monday... yes, felt that it's time go get in touch with friends... yes, a little card to send my touch to them... whether it's just across a few streets or having to cross the mountains and oceans... yes, it's the thoughts that counts...




Fireworks (I)

It's not my first time watching fireworks! I mean, the "LIVE" fireworks!

While was still a child and stayed at Lavender Street area, once a year, we would stand at the corridor at the 11th floor of our flat to watch glimpse of the fireworks... I think, those were the National Day ones... After that... were from the TV... till I went Disneyland!!! hahahh... That was about 3 years ago when the family went to Hongkong... when we stayed up at night to watch the fireworks and laser display. Well, that was a very good one! (even the one at Tokyo DisneySea can't beat it...).

The most recent local live show (a complete one) was 2 years ago, when I waited for almost 30 minutes for the fireworks at Esplanade area, which was part of the Chinese New Year celebration... but too bad, was blocked by trees!

Then... this time! What a coincidence! when the sky was litted up with beautiful sparks! It was a good one! A friend commented that she could not see any difference between seeing the live one (when you have to stand in the open air to watch) and that you see in the TV while sitting comfortably on a sofa... Hm... There's a difference! The vastness of the sky and the 'live' sound effects! Truly, Really, it's Different!!!

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

National Day Rally 2008

Click HERE to the watch the ND Rally Speech by PM Lee.

In the 4th segment on New Media, one new word was introduced by PM - NetRoot.
He used several examples to illustrate how the internet has changed the way the world "operates"
A umber of examples on how politicians tap on the Internet to engage people:
(i) The current US Presidential election campaigns - How Obama engage the netcitizens via the facebook, website, etc... including rally for donations for the campaigns
(ii) Korean president - to battle the bad cow disease madness
(iii) Our closer neighbourhood - Malaysia in the recent political landscape

PM also recapped he spoken about technology a couple of years ago... people are engaged in using technology (more handphones than population size)... It has changed the way our government works. Such includes the classical example by iDA's rap in Youtube.

With the emergence of cyber-savvy netcitizens, he also pointed out the need to differentiate truthful information from others before circulating... netiquettes and also one's ability to vertify and validate counts!

Media is powerful to influence one's thoughts and what's best is not to just ban... but to have it positioned, anchored in the right perspective - to preserve the integrity of information.

All in all, as PM said, it's really a multimedia National Day Rally presentation... not only the presentation has several multimedia elements - animated charts, video clips and even a live demo by PM on capturing a live video into the PM Office website.

1 cyber-year is equivalent to 5 years in real life???? Wah! Something new I learnt through this rally!

PM's 2008 speech; archives

Monday, August 18, 2008

Randy Pausch (1960-2008) - Last Lecture

Came across this when doing my routine browsing-through in Facebook and saw "Randy Rausch" reflected in one of my friend's updated thought...

Curious about it... did a search in the internet... read about Randy Pausch... his log that documented his battle against cancer... inspiring... his spirit and fight against the disease.

Then, came this "Last Lecture"... where he shared were his dreams and his attempt to achieve it... impressed by this positive outlook...

Some useful points:

  • "Brick walls are there for a reason: They let us prove how badly we want things". Also, the Brick wall is not to block you, but the rest who could make it.
  • "Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you... When you piece off somebody when you are angry at them, you just haven't given them enough time"

Enabling the Childhood dreams of others...

  • Building Virtual Worlds
  • When we do not know the 'bar', judge not... (else would put al limit to their creativity). Indeed, encourage by saying, yes... but I think you can do better...

Some points:

  • Be good at something: it makes you important
  • Work hard... "What's your secret?"
  • Find the best in everybody; no matter how you have to wait for them to show it
  • Be prepared: "luck" is where preparation meets opportunity

Last lecture: Video clip

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bull vs Bear

Have always wonder... why people describe the stock market being a bull market/bear market? What have these 2 animals do with stock market? and what it means? The first instinct is... certainly, it's a description of how good or bad the market is... but don't know which is which...

Ah ha... at last, this morning's sunday times explains it briefly... and there the two animals serve as adjectives... Bulls are good times and Bears are bad times.

Accordingly to the article, the terms originated from the nature of the animals - bears tread with caution while bulls are bold and love to charge forward... hence the bearish investor feels the market will go down while the bullish investor thinks it is headed for new heights.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

U bought the Road?

Sometimes, just find road user (hm...), pavement users are nuisance! Yeap, the road is wide enough for 2 persons... but only used by one... as a result, the human traffic has been slowed down. Why take up a lanes while you only need one? Then goes the other kind, the entire lane is fully blocked... by 2 people chatting... ha! worst still! It's a road barricade! Can't cross at all! Causing a long human traffic jam... Of course, another type are those who walk so fast... 'speeding'... and suddenly stop because that's a 'good' spot to wait for the bus! Ah! It's right in the middle of the lane! That causes immediate brake of the people right after them! What inconsiderate creatures out there!!!

Encounter this almost every work day when heading towards the office. It's an agony having to walk through the crowd at that bus-stop!

Think about this... if I have not changed my job a few years back, I would not have the chance to experience the Singaporean behaviour (maybe I should term it as..."Road users' behaviour in Singapore" since there're so many "foreign talents" that have joined our workforce... what's more it's at that bus-stop with buses heading to the Science Park, Biopolios, Ayer Rajah area....

Friday, August 15, 2008

Careful Driving...

I'm almost always fearful when on the road...hahaha... especially when seated as the front passenger... and especially when there're lots of cars... and when on an expressway! haha! Can just imagine how 'wild' other motorists are... cutting into one's lane, etc

Sometimes, I wonder... when a very crowded bus brakes in order to avoid hitting into another car, is he trying to prevent accident(s) from happening?

It looks like... Yes... one road accident has been prevented! But think about the passengers in the bus? Those who are standing and not holding too tightly to the handrails? even those who are seated... just imagine the kind of force that pushes them forward. Hey, Newton's 1st law! Then, who's at fault that causes another accident?

So, drivers of small cars do not think that big buses bully you! You could be the one too!

It's an angmo? It's a woman? Oops! It's a man!

Up at bus 29, I sat on the usual seat - the longer bench which is vertical to the rest..., right behind the very first seat (which is behind the driver).

After settling down... I raised my head... one with yellowish brown shoulder long hair sat just 'in front' of me... hm... I thought, it's an angmo lady... then caught the side view... oops! yellowish brown hair with black eyebrows? Ah! It's one of those pseudo angmo chinese woman... Then the phone rang... "hello hello...." Oops! It's a man's voice!

Oh my god! What a 'creature'! er... one of those horribly mixed hyrids!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Handicapped by Technology

The headline of the Straits Times article "Wired teens = 'Ant' writing" captures my attention this morning.

Several people complaint about the 'ant' writing - in particular, teachers who do lots of marking, and especially those who mark scripts with lots and lots of text... hahahah... in a way, Maths teachers are spared from the enomorous amount of text apart from numbers... Hey, wait a minute, we have our difficulty to decipher "5" from "8", "1" from "7"...we have our fair share too...

On the other hand, was talking to a few participants when attended a workshop a few days ago. It started from saying, for primary pupils who are currently in the FutureSchools @ Singapore programme, they are so adept with the use of technology... and what if they are subsequently posted to schools that use less technology... how adaptable are these pupils?

I was also relating my personal experience... when I become so handicapped when required to write with pen and paper! Felt the impact when was tasked to write a short 250 words essay a few months back as a course entry requirement. It was a struggle... somehow, it lacks the flexibility of organising the thoughts... oh yes, among the candidates in that room, think I'm the only one prepared with the correction tape!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Happy 43rd Birthday, Singapore




It's the 43rd Birthday... Young nation that has gone far and left impressive footprints in different parts of the world, all agreed... and we are still working very hard... consistently reminding the rest of the people about our existence, about our unique identity. Uniquely Singapore!

Friday, August 08, 2008

"As we all know..."

Well, it's something we hear quite often... "As we all know..." In fact, this comes with an assumption that everybody knows what's happening, everybody has the necessary prior knowledge... Often, this comes out from one's mouth when one has seen it happening, say in a certain environment (or a few more)... and it established the pattern that everybody know....

Think, no matter what, it's not good to make such an assumption. In fact, sometimes when I attended workshop or training or evening briefing... when someone said "As we all know..." on something I do not know... the first thought crosses my mind is, "Oops! I'm so ignorant! Others know and I don't know!!!" So, as a facilitator or presentation, I feel that it's still good to keep this phrase from being heard, to avoid belittling others.

Well, it's always good to check the assumption... otherwise, it's an assumed expectation and one bound to get back-fired with frustrations when later realised that the initial ideas were not communicated because the audience could not make sense out of it...

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Sounds chim? Well, just recall when you heard this phrase when you don't exactly know... how do you feel?

Basic Courtesy... Basic Manners... Have we forgotten?

Sometimes, because of our enthusiasm, we forget about the space around us... because of excitement, we own the whole world... we forget that sound travels!!!

Since young, we have been taught, it's important to observe basic manners - how to present ourselves. In fact, as we grow older, we learnt that we are the ambassadors of our schools, people associate us with whatever they know of (be it the school we come from, the individual who lives there, etc...)

Oh yes, we display good mannerism not because we wanted to impress people with a clean and good image. But it's because we know it is rude to behave in a certain manner, and we should not practice that!

For example, not to leave halfway in a presentation or a meeting... it's rude! Not to allow the ringtones to disrupt a presentation! and of course, not to talk loudly while the presenter is presenting... hey, don't these sound like the 'rules' that we told our pupils to follow? So, let's practise that!

Time Pieces

Was digging through the collection... realised the 2 timepieces have stopped working... bought them many years back... oh yes, if you look at their models, doubt you can find them in the market. However, they were still working earlier this year... so, the batteries lasted for almost 10 years! Surprise?

Thought it's just paying for the battery... The shop owner told me, "We can't guarantee that your watch would be ok... because of their protruding surfaces and in particular the Fossil's piece does not come with a metal frame... so, it may just crack when pressure is applied to the ream..."

Oops! Decision making! If I did not want to take the risk, the watches would be perfectly ok... however, they became useless - as they could not serve its original purpose (the purpose of it to be alive). Hm... Glad that I went ahead... and yes, new life has just injected each of the pieces :D



Wednesday, August 06, 2008

My Presentation @ iCTLT2008

The presentation marks another milestone of my learning journey... I guess, it's also something that I left with the organisation before I left... or it's something I can take away with me after my 3 years of attachment at the ETD (I guess).

It all started 3 years ago when Joy (then Senior Head) got all of us to start a blog... that's the very first step... Thanks to her, else I would not have venture into this space and find another new-found passion in it... Also thanks to Timothy, who encouraged me to work on the new workshop to explore how blogs can be used for Maths learning... If not because of them, and of course, the fire that was ignited... I would not be sharing my little achievement over these couple of years. My heartfelt thanks to both of them.

That also reminded me of the presentation did (hm...) almost 5 years ago, before I left Ngee Ann... yes, that was also my testimonial of the effort put in over the years... and that's my swan song...

Coincidently, in the same presentation session was Gayatri's pet project - the Intuitive Experiment Approach for Geometry... hahaha... we worked together quite intensively last year on this project in terms of rolling out to the schools through workshops :D Well, with us are also the 'new blood' that joined the project later part of the year... Kok Soon and Esther... Oh yes, not to forget Keng Wee who was with us before he left for his course.

My presentation can be found in http://lohky-ictlt2008.blogspot.com/

Saturday, August 02, 2008

基思・布雷克

有朋友从远方而来。。。 聚。叙。乐。

基思・布雷克, 认识 两年多吧!
第一次见面,是在英伦。那是一次公干。是在下榻的旅店,一早,同行同事还没出现。当我到接待处时,他很快的,就把我认出了。精!也许,也实验了东方人所说的,那是“经验”!

之前,他到过新加坡。。。都是公干吧,结识了同行的同事。当然,也因为这样,他成了我们在英伦的向导,在那次行程中,帮了我们,更当地的学府,机构穿针引线。就如同是所说,也许,是礼尚往来吧!当他到这儿时,同事们尽了地主之宜,因此,他也尽量配合我们吧!

他,是个标准的英国人,可在他的身上,看到“绅士”。虽然已近退休的年龄,但,仍然尽力充沛。。。还记得他带了我们从伦敦的一角,划过James Park, 再经West End。。。再步行到市区。 天啊!当我们两个三十来岁的有点上气不接时,我们的“老兄”却一点都不累。佩服!

当然,把公事个在一旁,接触了三次。。。上星期,他来了。是匆匆的来,三人约了聚餐。。。觉得,也渐渐地与他熟络多了。他,也蛮亲切的。。。


友谊也更上一层楼了。

PS:
我。。。顽皮? 非也。是故意不那么直接罢了。。。