Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Photography Exhibition - Painting with Light and Shadow

Chanced upon this Photography Exhibition when visited the Teochew Building for the Talk by Sivakumar on "Assessment in Learning".

Pretty captivating... the photos were taken in good angles and presented intersting perspectives, as observed in some. On the other hand, the painter, Tan Lip Seng also made an attempt to manipulated some of the photos digitally, playing around with colours. Unfortnately for some, it's really like adding the legs to snakes (画蛇添足)!

I like, in particular the one that says "the last task before sunset"... it's a clever way to manipulate the colour to bring across the time and space.

Hm... indeed, photography is not that difficult afterall...

Monday, August 24, 2009

School-going? Don't take for granted on what we have...

Here's another article that reminds how fortunate we are... It sounds as if we would only see that through movies. I couldn't believe it's real until I really saw these with my own eyes when in Bhutan. I really take my hats off to salute their attitude and perseverance.

Perhaps some of our school going children should really go through such hardship before they learn to appreciate what they are going through... hm... it brings me to another point - something I posted a while ago... By default, most of us don't born with a silver spoon in our mouth... I guess, if the child is born in Singapore, you already possess a silver spoon!

Here it is:
Without boarding or teacher’s quarter facilities, it’s a 10 km hike back and forth

23 August, 2009 - Going to school in remote Bhutan involves hours of walking. In Samcholing, Trongsa, it is not just some students either.

The 121 students and 10 teachers of the recently upgraded lower secondary school walk uphill for hours to their school without boarding or teacher’s quarter facilities. Located above the main Samcholing village, there is no settlement around for teachers to rent houses and all the 16 teaching and non-teaching staff walk five and half km every day to reach the school. Some students walk about 10 km.

The only female teacher in the school, Shoba G, stays in Kuengarabten. “I wake up at 5 am every morning and walk for an hour and a half to reach school,” she said.

The 2.7 km farm road that connects the school from the Trongsa-Zhemgang highway is not pliable.

Farmers of Samcholing, who live on a sharecropping system and own little land of their own, are not happy too. “We’re the least developed people and our children have no bordering facilities,” said a 52-year-old father. “If the school wasn’t in our village, our children would avail hostel facilities in Taktse middle secondary school,” said another villager.

Walking for hours early in the morning tires students and teachers, which hamper daily lessons, according to a teacher, who chose anonymity. “Students don’t get the attention they deserve and they can’t not give attention in classes too,” he said. “Some students doze off in the first period itself.

The situation becomes worse during monsoons. With incessant rainfall, the rivers get swollen and the footpath becomes too slippery. “I fell down several times and had to take leave,” Shoba G said.

The principal of the school, Tshering Wamling, said that classes had to be called off for about three days, as most students could not make it to school.

Tshering Wamling told Kuensel that the teachers would have to bear the problem for this academic year but things are expected to improve in future, if the road condition is improved and the proposal for a three unit teacher’s quarter materialises. “Taking into consideration the economic situation of the place, I’ve put up a proposals for hostel facilities in the gewog yargye tshogdue,” he said.

The gewog is aware of the problems faced by teachers and students, according to Drakteng gup Tenzin. “Samcholing school was upgraded because Kuengarabten primary school could not be upgraded due to lack of space,” he said.

Gup Tenzin said that the construction of teachers’ quarter is in the pipeline and the proposal for hostel facility was also discussed in the dzongkhag yargye tshogdue. “It depends on the education office in the dzongkhag to provide the facility,” he said, adding that the education office rejects the proposals on grounds that the school is located near the road head and village. “Samcholing was planned as a day school and day schools don’t get any hostel facilities,” said the district education officer in Trongsa, Karma Sonam.

However, gup Tenzin said that teachers could stay in Samcholing village. “But most prefer to stay in Kuengarabten because of lack of electricity in Samcholing,” he said. “An electricity connection could solve the problem.”


I can't believe it!!!

Have not visited "KuenselOnline" for a long long time... Well, have been a regular visitor to the site since my return from Bhutan, until last year when I switched my computer... which my current computer doesn't open the site as one of the "Start-up browser" pages.

This article with the heading "Twin calves spawn superstitious fears" caught my attention!

I could not believe that article reported how the locals feared that the birth of the twin calves will bring about misfortune to the owner or even the village... and the owner even thought of means to end the lives of these calves!

It's ignorance vis superstitions? Objectivity vs Make-to-Believe?

The report says:
4 August, 2009 - The birth of identical twin calves has stirred concerns and superstitions in a small hamlet of Rongthong under Kanglung gewog.

The anxious owner has decided to consult the local priest (tshampa). “I’m troubled as we have a belief that it could bring ken (misfortune) to the owner and the community if the calves survive,” said Sonam Choden, the owner of the calves. “If anything happens in the village, fingers will be pointed."

She has not even started to milk the cross-breed jersey cow. The twin calves were born on the morning of Thursday, August 20.

Some villagers believe that the twin will bring either too much good or bad luck. Others say misfortune will befall the owner.

“I hope the calves will die and the community and my family remain unaffected,” Sonam Choden said, adding that the pain of losing the two animals would not go away easily.

“We’ve seen people give birth to twins but never cows,” said an apprehensive Rongthong shopkeeper. “We hope it won’t bring us any harm.” As in most other parts of the country Rongthong villagers are deeply rooted in orthodox beliefs. Most villagers are illiterate and live on agriculture and rear cattle.

Several years ago, the village was struck with the same fear when Sonam’s neighbour got twin female calves. However, both died within weeks. Some villagers said that the misfortune killed the calves instead of the owner.


Just some Quick Thoughts

Received these in an email... some quick thoughts over what the famous people said... just immediate reactions...

Obviously, we can't choose the family that we are born into... some born with a silver spoon in their mouths (actually, why do they use "silver spoon"? How does it come about? see wikipedia)... I guess it's a matter of luck... of course, there are also people who believe in karma!

Then the 2nd part says, "if you die poor, it's your mistake". Well, it's from Bill Gates. So, is he referring to monetary terms? wealth? OK, we all know that he's one of the richest man in the world (anytime). On the other hand, I guess "Poor" has many definition here... Poor over what? In terms of experiences? fulfilment? Probably! I guess it's referring to what one has done over his lifetime. One might be literally poor. However, spiritually, could be rich! especially if we are into the business of touching people's lives! See Maslow's hierarchy of needs? Well, I guess the richness comes when one arrives at the peak - Self Actualisation! So, there's no 'default'... how rich or poor, it depends on how we define... afterall, we've left footprints all over the place before we leave this world.

Oh... know more than other? Hm... being kaypo? hahahah... Perhaps, that's being alert and sensitive to the surrounding/environment. Work more than other? er... meaning doing other people's work? Oops! Well, the other day, someone reminded me of the story "One Minute Manager". So, that's taking/carrying other people's monkeys? Expect less than other? Ah! referring to 'expectation' in exchange of the work/effort put in? That, it doesn't obey the "Balancing Law"!? Hahaha... It sounds like Shakespeare's advocating community service ! Well, well.. you are so farsighted!

What an optimistic way of encouraging oneself when meeting obstacles one after another... er... especially meeting them endlessly!!! It's like the toy... the tumbler (不倒翁). You win! I've nothing else to say...

Well, well, another way to view this is... they are so arrogant that they are not even aware or accept the fact that they have made a mistake. Sometimes, people simply don't admit they've made a mistake because of their ignorance, too! So, it's sad. Isn't it? Sometimes, there are people who are fully aware, but failed to accept it... there, they start to find all sorts of reasons to deceive themselves and others!

You Reap What You Sow

Well, this cross my mind as I was farming 'hard' over the weekend. Yes, this 'learning point' did not cross my mind when I played the game previously... Hm... perhaps I should label that Phase 1 Farming.

During Phase 1 Farming, the key intent is to figure out how to tap on this game for teaching and learning... and also make an attempt to 'quit' the game graciously. Oh yes, am proud to say that I managed that pretty well.

Then came the weekend when I 'revisited' the market and discover something - there's this 'offer' to earn 100 coins in 2 hours! ok... to be exact, it's only earning 75 coins for each plot of harvest. 15 coins to prowl the land and 10 coins to buy the seeds. Simple mathematics here! Next lesson learn - if I were to aim for something, will have to work hard for it. For instance, I wanted to populate the piece of land with some houses - there, I have a goal to work towards, and the quickest way to do it is through regular harvesting (that means a few arounds to get the number of coins needed... and to do that, I have to be regular and work hard! hahaha... "Commitment" comes in! Of course, the rule "You reap what you sow" applies here. The more time and effort, you get what's 'promised' :D


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Listening to the Radio...

Have not listened to the radio (at home) for a long long time. Why was the last time? During university days when I tuned it on while working on the lab reports in wee hours in the morning?

Am juggling between 2 computers now... and tuned in to 100.3.
It turned out to be 孔怀主持的生活协奏曲

Like the way the counseller replied to each of the cases. Objective and obviously, he's guided by very firm and sound moral principles. Like the fact that he cleverly directed the focus to the intent, the action. Of course, also the encouragement that he gave to those who wrote in.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A World of Difference

Got this link from Richard:

The approach to get the attention and the leave an impression: COMPARE & CONTRAST.
It's so powerful. Just to name a few:
  • Colours: Black and White
  • Generations: Old and Young
  • Mood: Joy and Saddness
  • Social Economic Status: Wealth & Poverty - which is what the photos convey.

When they are put in separate frames, impact is not as great - as each is placed in the world of their own. The impact is normally within that context. However, when merged, the contrast leads to comparison, and hence creating a deeper impact & impression to the viewer.

So, this is the power of media!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Merticulous vs Trust

The other day, I tweeted:

Well, think about it... Did I commit the same error as I pointed out what someone else did? Really, need some reflection over this...

I've been 'labelled' being merticulous (actually duno how this impression was created... perhaps it's because of my kiasu nature? when sometimes tend to over prepare certain stuff (ok... it's a strength, but it's also my weakness).

So, did I learn my lesson to overdo less? Yes, I think so... when possible, will try to let go the info - whenever I remember, will ask myself, is the piece of info necesary? Think this is a very good guiding principle, especially for someone kiasu like me - an idiom in Chinese that describes my behaviour well: 宁可杀错,不可放过.

Yes. It's very scary when overwhelmed by lots of information - the info must serve some purpose; else why bother?

On the other hand, I did not realise there's another layer to it till that day's encounter - the kind of information we gather - creates an impression of the info collector! Why so?

Here's an illustration:

John leads the team to improve the environment in the neighbourhood and would like to seek feedback from all the residents. The purpose is really to gather inputs so that something that's feasible and relevant to the community could be worked out. I believe this is also how we could involve the stakeholders in decision making and create ownership. Thumbs-up for the intent!

However, the implementation requires everyone to put down their names alongside with the suggestion and feedback. This is where I thought more thinking and sensitivity the implementator has to take into consideration:
  • If the community is small and one could address/clarify the doubts easily, we don't need to know who made the comment.
  • If the purpose is to ensure everyone to contribute - and if one has no other comments and felt that what's proposed is already good enough? What do you expect one to write? "No Comments"? If there isn't any response, then will John go after the those who did not respond? Is such chasing necessary?

Is this micro-managing?

But my point is, if the purpose is to ensure everyone contributes, then the move would have defeat another important element that we strive to create within the team - TRUST. Sometimes, presentation is important - we have to be mindful how the reader perceives as he/she receives the things as a package - the Intent & the Implementation. If the Intent is good, but the Implementation did not take into consideration of recipient's reactions, it discounted the sincerity.

Oh... that reminds me... will John will take into consideration all the suggestions? Will John make an attempt to respond to those whose suggestions are not going to be considered at this point of time? Will history repeat? We shall see...

Monday, August 10, 2009

National Day Rally 2009 (coming on 16 August 2009)

According to the article, 4 bloggers of different age group will be blogger their perspectives of PM's message. Sounds exciting, when we could see, how different the same message takes different forms from different lenses (here - different generation, experience and background... sure, each individual has a different interpretation).

To be continued...

Click HERE for last year's post on the National Day Rally.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

"Membership" Renewed

Oh... Just wondering... what should I enter as the heading of this post? "Happy Birthday, Singapore"? "National Day Parade"? ... after some thoughts, I chose "Membership Renewed".

It's been many years since I would sit still and watched the entire National Day Parade/Show (since... I think must be more than 5 years ago). Oh, citing the pledge, singing those national/ community songs! Yes, yes... so nostalgic!

  • "Singapura, oh Singapura, sunny island set in the sea..." {Remember singing this song in the music room in my primary school days!}
  • "Stand up for Singapore... Do the best you can..." {Those good old days when I was still in the secondary school...}
  • "You could take a little trip around Singapore town In Singapore city bus, To see Collyer Quay and Raffles Place, The Esplanade and all of us" {This was the one that the 5 of us presented in the farewell dinner in RECSAM...}
  • "This is home... Truly... where I know I must be..." {The one that turned my eyes wet, the one that really led me calling "Singapore, my home"}

Have not taken the pledge or sung the national anthem for many many moons... yes, since home, every time I sing the national anthem or cite the pledge, it's never the same again - the emotional bond, the sense of belonging...

Saturday, August 08, 2009





~ also see similar post in June 2008

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Me & Twitter

所见,所闻,杂想,心情,感受,都一一地给Tweeter “抓住”了!把“无形”变“有形”。

Yes... anyone got the idea what's that A4 green book? Yeap, the Baseline ICT Standards Implementation Guide. Hahah... no, I'm not crazy. Well, this strange feeling came when I pick up this book (seriously) recently. This is the one that we put in lots of sweat and hardwork to "cook" it out. I guess, no one in the PD section in 2006-2007 would ever forget this particular masterpiece! No regrets! It's an honour to be involved in this project.


It's been a long time since I fully get myself (heart and soul) immersed in beautiful music. I started enjoying such musicals since I was introduced to Les Miserable! Well, having indulge all my senses in it... it's a great therapy!

Little things around us... which we often forget to appreciate... Yes, we take for granted that we could sleep to "re-charge". Imagine, there are people out there who couldn't sleep well - be it they are unwell or being affected emotionally! or sometimes (like many of us), could not sleep because we have not finished what's on hand... ah! deadlines!!! No, no, no matter what, I need to catch my sleep...

Here's some quick linking between work and play... it's not just play, but educational play. Indeed, while playing farm house, was thinking about the "Games in learning" workshop that I developed (together with Feena). I would consider incorporating this game into theworkshop. Sure participants will like it. And definitely, they could start playing in the first session of the workshop, followed by some kind of reflection. Am quite sure that will bring them to talk about Games Addiction (Cyberwellness!)

Yes, it captures my reaction to little encounters... for instance, this was captured while I sat on the MRT playing the game. The lady standing right in front of me told me that she's also playing this game! Ah! I would never do this! Guess she must be so thrilled that she just wanted to tell someone that she's also doing something similar. Of course, I returned her with a gleeful smile :D
Yes, it's a good place to let out the steam when I encounter difficult moments - when I need to sort things out, iron things out... but not wanting to create any unnecessary ho-ha on others. Yes, it gives me time to think and re-think... and reflect!

This captures my immediate responses to the musical play.
Here's who I saw the other day, on my way to work... the look ofthe 3 girls (who study in SP, well, they alighted at Dover... won't go wrong). See any potential in developing into an essay? Hahah...

Monday, August 03, 2009



是好心的提醒呢?是体谅吗?当然,很多时候,我会用“打杂”来形容我目前的工作性质。是的,科技运用,是无孔不入的,要做得好,更需要不同方面的配合。当然,人手越多越好(表面上,是的), 可是多了“头目”却未必是好事哦!

当然,曾经有友人提醒过,小心周围有“老虎”,原因,是很多时候,在别人眼里,我的职务,十分受到瞩目,跟不少机构打交道,当然,是个非常有机会“出位”的职位。也许,是的,跟外界接触多了,学的也多了。当然,我也不是最佳人选 (也许,不少人也这么想。)但,若是让周围有“老虎”来做,他们又可以做得比我跟好吗?不是我自夸,这也不是一件每个人都可胜任的工作哦!因为,不要忘了,除了与外界的合作,还得服务各个部门,许许多多琐碎的事务,那是整个排山倒海的“配套”!