Friday, December 31, 2010

Rekindling Good Memories...

It was one of the most meaningful gathering I had this year... indeed, it's just meeting Val, whom I taught... er... I think about 10 years ago, the batch that graduated in 2004 (I think, the year I left for my volunteer work).

Indeed, in the 2 hours of chatting, I realised that whom I was talking to was no longer the Val I saw or I knew in the CPA class, but is a mature lady who is able to draw out lots of observations and analyse situations very well. She has grown so much... Val did not come across as one who would express her thoughts and opinion so well in her secondary school days! Haha... she was definitely one of those quieter ones, but we knew, she was a kan-cheong spider afterall... oh yes, Zubaidah and me had a fair share of her those days... haha... (of course, Zubaidah had another 'nightmare' that she was very proud of, too. Ah! Grateful of the opportunity to catch up with her. I believe I would see similar changes in batches of students whom I spent time with in the computer lab those days.

We spoke over lots of things in those 2 hours. Indeed, it accounts from coping the university workload and stress, based her own self-analysis of the challenges (and what gave rise to the challenges) that she faced these days... to mental models of elderly at home and society, as well as those good old teachers who had taught her in those 4 years. Haha... almost everything under the sun :)

I guess, no matter is work or study, stress is always there... I guess it really goes down to 
  • weighing what is needed and what one wants. And yes, what one wants have another layer: Are we contended with what's enough for survival or we wanted to strive hard enough to actualise our aspirations, which might be set higher than what we are capable of achieving (within our comfort)?
  • realising that one is actually competition against oneself, rather than others. Take for instance, many a time, we felt good because we saw ourselves progress within the same old environment over the years. We were happy (and to some extent, tend to be contended or happy over the achievements). However, it's still comparison within the same old environment, still within the same wall. Only when one starts to meet people from other communities, then it's the 'testing' time to tell where we are.. and realise there's always mountains higher than those who know :)
Well, lots of good deep thinking behind all these... and we can go on more...

Of course, another common 'topic' is really about the school where she had great memories for 4 solid years, and for me, more than 10 years!
  • CPA & EOA Lab sessions - ah! Those were the days when all spent hours to work on the coursework
  • The meetings at the benches outside the then-HOD room
  • Her teachers... yes, and my ex-colleagues like Mr Lee SL, Mrs Pong, Alice, Zubaidah,... and even Mr Chua! haha... Yes, Val asked a very interesting question that would make us respond with a laugh, "Does Mr Chua still like to put on his pink shirt?" What do you think? Hahaha...

    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    2010 Year-end School Reflection

    Last year, we had one round... I remember the task was more challenging, when we were to create a short clip on it... I recall mine... was in fact, a recap of the journey since Day 1 (that was in 2008 April) till before the tyre started to hit the road (which what Mrs Chew likes to say). That was a recap, not just what I did, but also a promise, a renewal of my commitment to what I did this year...

    I'm not sure, if you ask me, a promise to??? myself or the organisation... sometimes, I really could not quite tell the difference... I guess, it's all because I don't see it as a job, but it's a means to fulfill a dream, a dream which I think probably not easy to materialise, but I found a place that I could probably do so?... and there's alignment of my dream and what the organisation aims to achieve, I suppose... though my dream is a smaller one, compared to the organisation's as a whole.

    To make it come true... no doubt, lots of hardwork... I guess, not just hardwork, it's also hardship... It takes place in many forms - not only the usual ones, but also the stress to battle with. Often, the stress came from self - for 'wanting' to do well, for the 'fear' to see things go haywire, I guess, lots of this got to do with self expectation, and assumed expectations that others have on me ... well, these are within my circle of influence and I could manage it at my hand. However, there were also stress created by others, which sometimes was unnecessary and undesireable. This 'stress' became stress because it has an impact on (or probably hinder)  my work progress or quality of output. So, I think this was the greatest challenge I faced this year.

    Getting into real action and 'flowing' along with the action was something that I could not imagine before the project was in action. Not just dealing with projects, but also dealing with humans with different ways of thinking and expectations, dealing with human beings who claimed to be in the same professional field yet acted and behaved otherwise! ah! That caught me in surprise, and of course, those unrefined emails that flew across the cyberspace. I would not have expected such from supposedly refined human beings! oh! Leopards' spots would stay put, no matter how hard it tried ot disguise!

    I think, in 2010, I had really turned twitter and facebook status update into another avenue to let my steam off. Yup, needed a place to let it out, sometimes quite badly, all because I could not figure out why some human beings behave or think so 'abnormally' or so 'ridulously'! Or, maybe I was the odd one who rationalised things using a different set of logic or logarithm? I wonder? Well, that also prompted me to let out my frustrations in a more refined manner - have to do what I preach... as a result, have also sharpened my art of writing, became more creative, too!

    In terms of achievement, I think, I would measure my success based on others' success. Yes! That's where impact become visible and therefore tangible. Others' gain, indeed, was my gain :) There were also opportunities for me to present and share beyond the local audience. While it's an affirmation of the work done, I would not have these opportunities or exposures without the present "springboard". I am grateful of that :)

    Certainly, apart from what I could do within the environment I'm situated at, I'm also very thankful of the help and support from friends who work with me under various context! The encouragement and extra hands :)

    Also, something new to the me, was being 'freed up' from my teaching duties in the 2nd half of the year to focus on the projects. Grateful to the management's understanding, and also the confidence on me :) Yes, I was left 'alone' most of the time to work at my own pace own target (of course, it aligned to the bigger targets). It was an experience.

    A Christmas Gift...

    Who says that a gift needs to be 'concrete' and physical? Haha... although many a time, when people spoke about gifts, it's usually tied to a physical object... Very often, the first thing one could thought of is, "Buy something." Then people moved on to talk about "Making something" to give an appreciation from the heart... as no two things we make are the same, especially during the process, the kind of thinking and effort... though it might not look 'professional', it's the thought that counts! So, this has moved the gift 'up' another level.

    I think the next level, not sure if it's the highest level... would probably be something that's intangible... and probably something not represented by any physical object - it's the bonding between people :) For instance, just a get-together could be one of the best gifts in the world - the "quality" added to the time is factor! Hahaha... Then how about material gift? It serves as a 'recalling point' of the expression of 'gift'.

    Of course, I'm not saying that material gifts are unrepresentative of one's thoughts... I beg to see material gift in a different light... and we could tell the difference! Haha... How to tell the difference while it's just an object? I'm very sure, 'cost' is not a consideration.

    It's whether the recipient could be 'connected' to the gift - that tells how observant we are... so, it need not be told to the recipient, but from the gift - it tells... also, sometimes, one gives what one likes to other because they wanted to share what they like and their joy with others :)

    On the other hand, when it comes to 'gift' exchange, very often, people would go the shop and pick up something - without much thought (i.e. not much of representation between self and others) - then such a gift is just 'any other gift' that's bound to be circulated or ended up...

    I think "Re-connection" is the best Christmas gift that I received this year... I think it's also technology, the social network to thank :)  Well, it's great to get re-connnected to the very first batch of students at NAS. Yes, the girls whom I taught for 4 years... and some were also in the Red Cross CCA. I think it's this reunion that makes the very big difference. Certainly, they are a very nice bunch of people :)

    All the best to this group of young ladies... yes... it's great to hear that they are doing well... they've taken the path that's less travelled... and in fact, I guess, they are the winners in their own ways :)

    Friday, December 24, 2010


    A pleasant surprise from Hokkaido! It's from Megu, an acquaintance met in the Darwin trip almost 10 years ago! :)

    Instant Noodles from Kyushu

    When overseas, one of the 'must-go' places is the local supermarkets... which is a good place to learn what the locals buy... and sometimes, we get very good buys - not just value for money, but also really authentic local products :)
    In the recent trip to Kyushu, one of the best buys was Instant Noodles! Ha! It's not just any instant noodles... perhaps I 'sua-gu', but it's the first time I see something that's so compact! and easy to prepare!

    Just let the 'dried' pack immerse in hot water for about 1 min (we don't even need to cover it...) and it's ready... more importantly, it's very very tasty! I'm pleasantly surprise! I'm amazed!!! It's an innovation!

    I wished I had bought more!

    Click HERE for the Kyushu trip

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    When travelling abroad, would you let others know that you are a...

    This is something that made me very puzzle... or maybe it's "ME" rather than others are practising this seemingly (to me) 'strange' behaviour... of keeping our profession as a SECRET.

    Interesting 'disguise'... Once I travelled with a friend to Taiwan... guess what she filled up under "occupation"? "A Clerk". I wonder why?  Then recent years, travelled with a few other teacher friends in tour groups, they would agreed unanimously not to disclose our identity when asked or during the conversation. In fact, I wonder, "What's wrong being in the education?" The same happened in the most recent trip too...

    No questions posted to my friends... anyway, I guess the main reasons (would not go beyond these) include
    • So that others would not ask questions about our school? er... especially to parents who are 'shopping' or comparing schools... then we would be easy target to answer questions (or being a pseudo spokesperson)?
    • In case we meet teachers from the 'rival' schools, and in exchange of 'glares'?
    • Hear 'misconceived' ideas of 'good' lives of teachers and having the need to clarify?
    • People making assumptions that we know all, so expect more questions to come?
    • We could not enjoy the 'play' and 'fun' because we need to maintain our image as a no-nonsense teacher?
    • Uncalled for kind of attention because we are expected to 'enforce' certain attitude/ behaviour? 
    Oh! So many reasons... so much so that many of us (without second thought) would asked to have our profession 隐姓埋名?
    Just wondering... is that fair to who we are actually...

    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    The Perfect Park

    by Leon Sooi (HCI)

    One of those animation clips that are showcase at the Esplanade.

    Pretty interesting way of posting a question: Are we trying to strive perfectionist outcome within the imperfect environment?

    The very first impression was, the driver was a perfectionist; however, in an unrealistic situation. While the cars around him were imperfectly parked, how was he going to strive for perfect parking?

    Tried to draw some parallel... have I been a perfectionist in an unrealistic situation? There is no doubt, to a large extent, I'm a perfectionist... however, depending on situation. Just 2 days ago, I exclaimed, "It's a glaring error!" when checking an A1 poster meant for people who are not within the school community. Immediately, I got reactions from my neighbour. Haha... well, well, well, if they know it's meant for the public and the mistake was one on the sub-heading, would they still react in surprise? These days, have learnt to close one eye... and yes, more mistakes were surfaced along the way... so, I'm not really that demanding... having said that, I think, it largely depends on the context, too.


    Have not stepped into the theatre for almost half a year, I think... Today's a local production - Cinderel-lah. Indeed, it's put up by a pretty strong cast, like Emma Yong, Sebastian Tan, Chua Enlai, Lim Kay Siu, Najip Ali & Gurmit Singh.

    With Gurmit Singh and Najip, how 'serious' a show could be? Haha... It was definitely funny and they took the limelight (though the main stars are Emma Yong and Sebastian Tan). Enjoyed the show thoroughly... indeed, one of the best ways to unwind (for me) is to immerse in a show and forget any other thing :)

    I guess, one of the greatest takeaway was towards the end, when I saw the sign of relief and satisfaction in the eyes of the cast! Yes, eyes 'talk'... well, it could be the limelight they enjoy... but really, it's the look that says, "I am totally immerse in it and enjoying what I do!".

    My tweets after the show:
    • Could see from their eyes... They are thoroughly enjoying what they are doing :) #iwant my eyes to 'speak' my satisfaction & joy, too! :)
    • 眼睛是灵魂之窗。双眸最美丽的时候,是当它充满了希望,满足,感激和开心的时候。。。那也是它最动人之际。。。

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    er... Do I sound a bit...

    Early afternoon, I tweeted:
    Getting ticket for Cinderellah musical... Looking forward to next weekend :) Why that guy needed >20 min just for those 2 cheap tickets? :(

    Came back.
    Sat down.
    Went through the tweets (yes! I have this habit of revisiting what I posted).

    A thought just crossed my mind... ok, I sounded arrogant...
    Well, the key understanding was actually not because it's cheap... but just could not understand why that guy took ages (about 20 minutes) to decide the seat he wanted, even contemplating of changing the seats after the tickets were printed.

    Maybe it's just because I've got all the necessary ready and finished the transaction in less than 5 min. Yes, that's efficiency.

    Sunday, November 07, 2010

    Lunch & Dinner when mum's away

    Varied versions of noodles - western & oriental... my masterpieces over this weekend :)

    Have not prepared meals for a long long time... though simple, all in all, it took me about 2 hours to prepare a day's breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Simple Meals

    Two of my 'masterpieces' of the day... yummy...

    Eruption of Merapi volcano

    There's vast coverage of the eruption of the Indonesian volcano.

    It's the second of this kind of major natural 'activity' that took place this year.
    This first was the eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland.
    Little is Eyjafjallajökull known to this part of the world. But the 'powerful' volcano ash spread had caught the attention of all. More, being the impact, rather than the interest of the eruption; at least, I think. It's the serious economic impact - where flights were cancelled and the disruptions to the activities in the countries 'nearby', in particular Europe, thanks to the 'support' from the powerful seasonal winds.

    Nearer to home, now is a volcano which already sounded the alarm many months ago - since it started to become active. However, the real impact on came these couple of weeks when it finally erupted! Yes... the ash, the gas, the lava... and the scale of destruction that it brought about.

      What's alarming to me... not sure if it was also reported in the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, where some villagers refused to leave their homes! Not that because they could not leave behind the cattle, but it's where they wanted to remain true to their beliefs, and leave their lives to the hands of nature!

      Well, is this something that only happen to Asians... and of course, not all Asians, but the ones who clinged on to their old beliefs, practices and rituals? I wonder.

      As reported at
    • "However, the evacuation process is delayed as many inhabitants refuse to leave their homes"
    • "The evacuated locals include the elders, pregnant women and babies. Most men and youths refuse to take refuge."

    Also reported in

    • "The evacuation is now compulsory but many residents are still reluctant to leave. Traditional beliefs hold that Merapi - which means Mountain of Fire - will only erupt after certain omens, some of which appear in dreams, leaving many more superstitious residents reluctant to leave without them becoming apparent. Others are worried about their property, cattle and crops being taken if they depart."

    Spiritual caretaker who villagers relied on to 'appease' Indonesian volcano dies in eruption:

    • "As Merapi began spewing 1,800-degree Fahrenheit (1,000 Celsius) gases and thousands of panicked people streamed down the mountain's slopes, Maridjan refused to budge from his home deep in the evacuation zone, just four miles from the crater.
      His rigid body was found Wednesday, prostrate in the Islamic prayer position and caked in heavy white soot. Nearby was an Indonesian Red Cross volunteer who had been trying to persuade him to leave."

    Well, amongst the many reports, what strucked me was the last one - the greatest saddness came when one's stubborn belief caused the life of not just himself, but others!

    Do no harm to self. Do no harm to others!

    Korean Drama Craze

    I'm not a big fan of the Korean drama.

    However, I must admit that it's kindof difficult to 'quit' once started one episode - regardless it's the 1st episode, or somewhere half-way!

    I guess I'm not a 'fan' because I'm fully aware that it's 'untouchable' else, would ended up spending hours to race through the "drama marathon" - it's going to be difficult to calm the "urge'"! hahaha... sounded like a contagious disease.

    Well, once in a while, I do get myself caught in such disease - when I happen to laze around at home on a weekend afternoon.

    So, what's this "Korean Drama Craze" about?
    • Indeed, I think one of the attractions is the storyline that's 'too real' to be true... So far, at least for those contemporary drama that I watched... there's this element of "unreality" in them. I think that's where we seek to unwind (er... escape!) in an unreal world
    • The ways the scripts were written and said are pretty different from the 'real world' yet it sounded comfortable to the ears.
    • Oh yes, the characters in the story... too unreal yet somehow sought-after in our dreams!
    • and something that's a must to-have: Good looking leads! You just wanted to look twice or thrice, and more! haha... the look that 'engages' the viewers
    • And there are lots and lots of tears, ah! their expression of frustration and anger! and the one powerful feature I notice - their eyes, where emotions were portrayed. Oh yes! The heart and soul are portrayed through the eyes! So, that's a must 'quality' of any successful Korean star! (I guess)

    One of the dramas that I'm following now...

    Start the Day with Joy :)

    It's a Sunday morning... cool and breezy...

    Have not "made" my own breakfast for quite sometime... half-boiled egg to go with toast, with a cup of coffee... and indulge in the papers.

    Yeah... a relaxing way to start the weekend :)

    Friday, November 05, 2010




    有时,当“当局者”的第六感告诉自己面前的情况不利于他时,很自然而然的,他就会陷入“怀疑”,“自卫”的状况。那是因为“当局者”对大环紧缺乏 “信任”与 “安全感”吗?那是“心有鬼&愧”吗?

    也许,只能说,“当局者”没有把握好给予的机会,清楚地认识大环境,没有好好地去了解环境,从而利用 - 天时、地利、人和;在“自卫”的情况下,抹煞了所有的给予的机会与支援;去找借口来掩饰自己的不足。那是谁的错?没有平衡的分析各个根源的利害关系,以其回头探讨内在因素,却一味认为问题来自外来因素,呐喊“巧妇难做无米之炊”;上演了一幕“以小人之心,度君子之腹”!


    Thursday, November 04, 2010

    Dinner on 20101104

    It's the last working day of the week... and probably the last day of this week that I would eat out... Would try to hiberate home in the next 3 days... hence bought enough groceries to survive without leaving the house.

    So, to conclude the "week", went for something that's more 'sinful' than the past 3 evenings...

    Wednesday, November 03, 2010

    Dinner on 20101103

    This was unplanned for... took a lift from a colleague to Raffles City and ended up having this for dinner :)

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Lemongrass and Spa

    Brought a bottle of spray to the office today. A colleague commented that people tends to associate "Lemongrass" with "spa"... so, to create a spa atmosphere at home, it's the fragrance to go for :)
    Interesting. Indeed, I only associate lemongrass with 'insect repellent'. Learnt that it's a natural 'insect repellent' when I was hit by unknown insect in Bhutan. Unfortunately, it was not available despite the fact that I combed through the shops in Paro and Thimphu.
    It was 2005 August then.

    Coincidently, in the same morning, received a brochure. What caught my eyes was the fragrances that are in promotion for Deepavali - Jasmine, Rose, Frangpani, Coconut adn Sandalwood. Hm... Lemongrass is missing from the list.

    Just wondering, do people associate scents with culture.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    The Entertainer - SCOTT JOPLIN ¤ Ragtime Piano Legend

    This light-hearted piece brings back good memories of the JC days :)

    Hm... however, couldn't find the lyrics that I am familiar with in the web, despite the fact I spent more than an hour 'digging' it... ah! It's worst off than finding a needle in the hay!


    "A way back in a long ago, there was a man who would put on a show... He would sure dance his old soft shoes... and sing anything you ever know"... "He always walk so proud, he always drew a crowd"...

    Hm... Just wondering if anyone knows where to get the full version of the lyrics...

    More at

    More about Scott Joplin

    Shoes & Socks...

    The examination week was over, at last.
    Went into the same class for a few times for invigilation in that week. Something caught my eyes - shoes and socks they were.

    Well, there is no specific requirements with regards to shoes and socks that students should wear, except the basic rule - it's a comfortable pair of shoes that suits the needs of the activities, be it "Bata School Shoes" or sports shoes.
    So, it's really a display of shoes - colours and designs. Did not spot any identical design. But I guess, the students are wearing something they need in their feet. Also spotted, at least one student, who wears different designs almost everyday too! Wow! I guess, he might have one pair of shoe for each day!

    I guess, sports shoes are easier to maintain? I don't recall washing my pair of sports shoes. They just 'grew' old.

    In those good old school days, we wore white canvas shoes. Sports shoes were no no, and I believe it's still a 'rule' in many schools here.
    Those were the days when every Saturday afternoon, after ECA (oh yes, that time was still known as extra-curricular activities), it would be time to scrub and wash my school shoes clean, and paint it white with a layer of the shoe polish. Sometimes, we were so afraid to be caught having dirty shoes that we have to coat it with another layer of white shoe polish on top of the existing layer of dirt.
    Looking at socks, in the recent years, we also saw an increasing number of schools that came up with their own 'brand' of socks - where the initials of the school name were printed/ sewn on the ankle socks! Hahah... I guess it's a means to promote school identity? Hm... or it's a means to see to students to put on their socks to a decent length? I wonder.
    Well, back to that class, it's not difficult to find a variety of socks too! Red and pink are amongst them. There were also those who roll their socks up like those long-time ago law-enforcers, there were also some which I'm not sure if they put on any socks. Well, socks are a means to keep the feet and shoes clean, especially in humid places like Singapore. I guess some students did not know (or not aware of) its practical functions.
    "A sock is an item of clothing worn on the feet. The foot is among the heaviest producers of sweat in the body, able to produce over a pint of perspiration per day. Socks help to absorb this sweat and draw it to areas where air can evaporate the perspiration. In cold environments, socks decrease the risk of frostbite. "

    A Good Breakfast

    A good breakfast needs not be lavish, although once in a blue moon is a joy to be pampered, especially when am overseas, enjoying a good spread - choices! choices! choices! Remember: It's not a must, it s a good to have :)

    Coffee is a must... 2 cups for the weekend... it lays the foundation of the day.

    This morning, enjoyed peeling layers of the Lapis Sagu (in Chinese is the "9-layer cake", 九层糕). In particular, I like the one from Bengawan Solo... although the size shrinks over time, I like the taste and the ease of peeling off every layer with the tip of my tongue. Haha... that's a habit developed since childhood times - that creates joy of eating :)

    Also had a slice of the Lapis Surabaya for breakfast... nice cake with chocolate... yummy...

    "Tai-Tais by 20"

    The headline (Sunday Times, October 24, 2010; Home 11) caught my eyes!

    Wow! I thought it was about a change in the trend - people tying a knot at in the early 20s?
    No, I was wrong! It's about teenagers/ youngsters leading the life of the a tai-tai, where main their source of income is their parents!

    From the article: $10,000 for a bag, more than 50 pairs of shoes, monthly allowance of $1,500 plus $2,000 a year for skincare expenses. Wow! Wow! High maintenance cost for youngsters nowadays.

    I think what made me think again were what they said
    • "... After all, my parents do not mind" (Li Lin, 20)
    • "I don't think it has to do with peer pressure. Perhaps it is more a matter of upbringing. My family values quality, and branded items are usually of a higher quality." (Rachel, 19)
    • "If you can afford to buy things you think look nice, then why not?" (Parent)
    I was amazed of the lavish lifestyle these teenagers lead! and their responses to the spending pattern! Values! Values! that we emphasized so much... "Want" vs "Need".

    But I do agree with one line "a matter of upbringing". Yup, the "desire" of lavish spending could be either encouraged by their parents because it's the "family belief", or it could be developed (over time) because parents felt obliged to give their children the "best" (or it's a compensation of what areas they lack to fulfill as parents such as spending time with their kids?)

    At a get-together last week, a friend shared another suprising 'practice' - surprising because the mother is an educator! The child just completed her university and started to look for a job. However, none of the jobs offered had the salary pegged at the amount she expects. Guess what? The mother actually "top up" the salary! It's the most outrageous practice I ever heard!

    Indeed, using simple mathematics, we would be able to see the impact of spending equivalent amount of money to provide support to the needy in the other part of the world (

    Wait a minute... why only females were featured in the article... hm....

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    Value system...

    Last night, attended the 1st session of the 1st intensive of the new module, "Multicultural Society and Education Policy". Indeed, this is a very fairly class, with more than 30 students.

    At one point, the discussion was on a photo that shows a landlord in a commanding posture, with both arms rested on 2 subordinates. We were to talk about "How different is the theory of culture from the one you used in your teaching".

    When it comes to CLOSE interaction with students, I guess there are always 2 schools of thoughts - from the administrator's and the teacher's perspectives.

    It's natural that one's care and concern is usually demonstrated through body language - gestures and tone. There's no doubt that sometimes teachers would pat the child's shoulder as an expression of encouragement... however under a different context, in a different culture, the child might interpret it differently. The 'messaging' would be totally opposite and taken as a negative act! So, could one defend himself or herself for the gesture or act? Something I wonder...

    I was also totally surprised, or stunned when some fellow educators reacted - "I touch my students and there is nothing wrong!" and added they go clubbing with students, etc... and they felt that it was fine! ... while back in school could retain that student and teacher relationship...

    I just wonder... what's the reaction of the school leaders of these teachers?
    My first reaction: It's ridiculous! It's unacceptable... definitely it's against my value system.
    Hm... or... I belong to the "older generation"?

    It's not the only channel to build rapport with students. There are more than one ways to get to know them better, to build the relationship with the students....

    When nothing goes wrong... It's alright...
    When it goes wrong... it becomes ugly...
    I think it's no longer just a matter of maturity... it's a matter of values that one upholds...

    Saturday, October 09, 2010

    It's so 'humane'

    I was a bit surprised when first saw this error message.
    OK, surprise not because of the 'problem' the browser encountered; but it's the way the 'problem' was expressed... with the human touch! Haha... so, the browser has feeling, too!

    Bravo, I like this... it's a step closer to incorporate 'humanity' into seemingly emotionless software and programming!


    Tuesday, October 05, 2010








    Saturday, September 25, 2010


    Recently, someone made a comment: "Saw you in that classroom (doing lesson observation) and were grinning throughout..."

    Hahaha... What do you infer from the above comment?

    I guess, the first reaction is, the lesson must be excellent! (or at least very good). That's what my face showed?
    Further inference: The teacher must have done a great job?
    Hahahah.... having a smile on the face at a certain context could lead to so much inference... and probably people start jumping into conclusions.

    So, am I suppose to be more stringent with my smiles? hahah... ok, no offence to the one who commented.
    Hm... I thought, I would just laugh it out without giving him my reply.
    However, I added, "that's to create a comfortable environment to the teacher."

    I subscribe to this practice - regardless of how good a lesson is. Basically is to create a conducive environment. Be the visit is for evaluation or developmental purpose, I think it's my responsibility to create a safe environment for my colleague to demonstrate their best. This, in fact, is an extension of the PETALS model (which is meant for students).

    I guess I learnt from my experience. I could be easily pick up facial responses or body language from the observers and somehow make inference of the spot. Hm... one might say, I lack confidence? Haha... maybe, maybe not. But it does affect how I carry on with my lesson, my interaction with my students - my 'mood' is affected. I dislike to have a very stern and strict faces, worst still, one that looks thinking so deeply and seems to be trying to figure out what I'm teaching. Ah! I definitely hate those faces. I would be distracted!!!

    Haha... see, these are unpleasant experiences that I do not want my fellow colleagues to have during the lesson - 己所不欲,勿施于人

    I think, no matter if it's for evaluation or developmental purpose, the primary objective is to bring out the best of our colleagues :)

    What makes you look forward to go to....?

    Haha... let me generalise the question... it applies to almost everything:

    "What makes you look forward to go to....?"
    • meet up with new faces?
    • meet up with old friends?
    • talk to somebody?
    • work?
    • to go school
    • the class?
    • attend the meeting?
    • shopping?
    • a place that we are familiar with? (this is rather event-based)
    • a place that we never been to?
    • a place that we have gone so many times?

    Haha.. there are unlimited ways to fill up the rest of the question... I guess the key is the first part of the question and 3 key words "look forward to"

    Let me make an attempt to answer some of these questions... but these answers could change over time. Indeed, what does that tell us? The response is very much dependent on one's emotion, passion, and feeling at the point of answering the question. The response could just change in the next second... of course, some of these responses are 'beliefs' and therefore, they are here to stay for quite sometime, until some factors that is 'strong' enough to change it... (at varying extend). Responses could come direct from the heart, it could aslo be some politically correct responses. Oh! Human beings are simply.... complex!!!!

    • meet up with new faces because it's an extension of network... I know the opportunities these new faces come with...
    • meet up with old friends because friends are hard to come-by... and what's more... friendship that lasted more than 10 years. It's not a given and we must not take for granted.
    • talk to somebody because of the richness of the interaction, I get to hear from another perspective... it's how a frog breathes fresh air beyond the well...
    • work because there's where I could make my dreams come true, that's where I contribute to the growth of the society, to mankind through little means and effort that I could afford. I make an impact in what I do - big or small.
    • to go school because I get to hear something different from what I 'preach' at work, I get to hear from other perspectives, I get to know how people's experiences were different from mine.
    • the class because there's where I re-live the days I learn, but in the
    • attend the meeting because I know I'm going to get wisdom over the next couple of hours, I know I'm going to hear new ideas, it's embedding with opportunities.
    • shopping because that's the most immediate way for me to relax and unstress!
    • a place that we are familiar with? (this is rather event-based)
    • a place that we never been to... love the mystery and uncertainty... (as long as I've factored in the essential before setting off)
    • a place that we have gone so many times... because of great memories... for instance, I love London, not because I'm not tired with the 'time-stand-still' scenery, but it was the good memories I had with the different people I was with for different occasions... I treasure those 'time-stand-still' memories :)

    World's Most Outrageous Guest Requests

    Chanced upon this site was browsing the web: World's Most Outrageous Guest Requests

    I was totally amazed... and totally surprised on the kind of requests that people could ask for... not because when they are travelling... definitely 'travelling' is just one platform where they exhibit their habit and mindset... it's their lifestyle, and I guess, in directly, their personal values and beliefs... that are exhibited through such... not just outrageous, but also exorbitantly expensive "wants".

    Can't imagine... for instance, the request at Cancun's Ritz Carlton: "A few years ago, a loyal (and extremely wealthy) guest of the hotel wanted to watch a film, privately, on the beach fronting the hotel. However, the guest did not like sand and asked the concierge to "cover it up somehow." A team was dispatched to Mexico City to buy a panoply of rugs that were carefully rolled out on the beach."

    Oh mine! What's this????? What difference does that make? I wonder... Well, what if it rained... Could he pay for the sky not to rain so that he could enjoy his movie there?

    Another example, 'entertained' at Hotel Adlon Kempiniski Berlin, Germany:
    'When a family vacationing from Hanover, Germany, realized they had left their 4-year-old daughter's stuffed bunny at home, they asked the concierge, Raffaele Sorrentino, to remedy the situation since she could not fall asleep without it. When it was clear no substitute would do, the concierge arranged for a bellhop to drive the five hours round trip to retrieve the beloved bunny from the family's residence. '

    This is how the mindset that money could pay for practically everything is cultivated?

    Is the money well spent? How many people in the developing country would have benefited from this money spent? How many decent meals could that sum of money be used to pay for those who have not had a gain of rice for months?

    That's talking about SES divide!
    In fact, look closer to home, or even fast-developed countries like China. Isn't it true that many parents have cultivated in their children money can almost do anything and everything? Look at the branded stuff that the kids don on and use; look how parents give in to their children (for no good reasons)...

    Well, what has the world become?????

    Sunday, September 19, 2010


    I'm simply amazed... when I visited the EXPO 2 weeks ago. Amazed in the mentality and the behaviour of some of the locals.

    In fact, I always think twice before I decided to make a trip to China. No, not because I'm anti-Chinese... but I simply could understand and quite get use to the local culture. Each time I was there, I would be 'shocked' by at least one encounter... haha... the recent official trip was not spared either.

    I'm a Chinese, by ethic group. But I think the environment shapes the way I think, I behave... and maybe because of this, seeing the "Chinese" behaving differently from what I do... I still find it hard (or maybe I need more time) to accept "their way".

    This time, it's the World Expo, which is a world class showcase.

    That reminded me what MM Lee said in the documentary about Singapore, transforming Singaporeans into WORLD CLASS Citizens!

    It's not easy to have citizens to behave "world class"... But I applaud the Chinese's effort in puttng up reminders all over the place in the EXPO, and having security guards, policemen stationed at the very popular pavilions (with lots of long queues) to enforce order.

    Yes, there are queues... But I'm simply amazed by the fact that the locals would still squeeze their way through... not "like" but definitely in "nobody's business" way! Basic courtesy? NO! NO! NO! They look out for every single chance to slip through a tiny gap!

    My worst experience was definitely the almost 4-hour queue to the Japan Pavilion. See the picture below... the one with red fan, the one in green shirt, and the one at the bottom left corner). They 'made' their way before along the way... well, really had no idea where they were when I started the queue... those are typical queue-jumpers who were not ashame of their behaviour. Another observation: Such behaviour does not apply to the older generation, but the young ones too... as young as school children.
    Just wondering... what does one gain out of jumping the queue. We would still enter the area together. So, just one step before... Great deal???? Hm... I guess, it matters for those who are really kiasu... (ok... now, you see "kiasu" does not just apply to us!)
    Indeed, the best part was the one with red fan had her bag pushed against the one in green. In return, the one in green gave her a fierce look and scolded her for hurting her. Hahaha... 五十步,笑百步 I guess both deserve it... Well, mind you, the green one, you also pushed your way through... Anyway, it gave the impression (or further reinforce the impression) that those with a loud voice wins! Haha... the unreasonable beings!
    Of course, there's one more thing that clearly distinguishes the locals from the rest... indeed, there were many times more locals than the rest... their voice... haha... the whole world heard what they say, and they were so used to 'throwing' their voice across... ahahaha... "Human" thunders! Talk about "not noising" (see photo above).... oh! How do they measure the 'success'? I wonder...
    Here's another common sight in many pavilions... getting their EXPO passports stamped. Order? No, no, no... but the 'stamping' exercise becomes the key thing people would normally go for... and worst still, they rushed and put up a few "passports" at a go to be stamped. What'st he point of 争先恐后?Hey, hey... focus! What's the purpose of visiting the pavilion!? I wonder... or to many, it's the "到此一游"stamp is more important? Hm...

    Be Gracious. Be Courteous.

    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    What's the underlying motivation?

    This topic came about when I was talking to someone who was not quite able to see the rationale of his mother's reaction and action that displeases him. Ok, he said, to an extent that he was "fed-up".

    I think, many a time, we react or respond to our immediate experience. Of course, some people said, it's good not to make second guess. Things in life are not that complicated after all. However, if we think deeper. There are layers and layers of meanings just behind an act. Even for the one who acts on it, might not be aware of the hidden 'motivation' behind his/her action! (I belief, sometimes). And also, it's sending messages across... be it explicit or not.

    That's why, sometimes we ask, "Why do you act in this manner?" We'll get superficial answer.
    However, if we probe, we are helping one to ask his/her internal self, "why" he/she act in a certain manner, and "what" he/she wants to get out of it, and we might even uncover one's belief, too!

    In the instance when the mother attempts to "stop" her child's internet addiction by installing various kinds of software to deter the access. At the surface, it seems like, from the child's perspective, she is being "unreasonable" to deprive him from doing what he likes. So, the child would see the "impact" through what he experience.

    On the other hand, think deeper, are there ways to address the same issue without imposing restrictions to the internet access? Certainly there is... However, why the mother thinks of "acting" on the device? Well, usually we'll see that, by imposing restriction on the device, it means the device is no longer 'able' to accessible to the child! It is a form of distraction! So, the device is to the fault! It is to be blamed! Without the device, the child would not be indulge in internet related activities.

    So, all this sounds logical? Yes, yes, yes... no doubt.
    Now let's look back... The device is non-living thing! It doesn't "ask" the chlid to "come", to be "indulged"... though it 'creates' a temptation after one has cultivated some kind of habit or means of using it.
    Notice that: "One cultivate some kind of habit of means of using it"?
    So, the point I'm trying to drive is... it's human... to blame

    So, back to what the mother did... "Who/What" did she think is at fault?
    It think her action is sending a message... the fault lies on the device and the internet. The child is the 'victim' to the circumstance where he is being distracted.

    Haha... what kind of reasoning, some of you might think...
    Well, by removing the device doesn't necessary mean the child will be able to focus... there are other distractions (though the main 'distraction' is the device).

    So, I guess that's how mothers think.

    In another instance, the child said he has been disrespectful to his mother as he tends to shout back at his mother at the fiery moment, but would apologise after he cools down each time.

    I just wonder: Is the mother hurt each time the child shouted at her because of her good intent? Definitely... but would the mother forgive the child and continue to care about him?
    The child answered, "Yes" - a very definite reply.

    Why does that happen? Isn't it strange... Doesn't that sound illogical?
    One would not reciprocate in this manner in a long run - but it happens here.
    The reason is simple - It's the Love of the Mother. It's the relationship between the Mother and the Child.

    No matter what... the child, in the eyes of his mother, no matter how old he is, how wrong he did - it's still her child. Because she has HOPE in him! That was what the child added.

    Hope the child have undertood this... and treasure what he has...

    Aside... about how great Mother's Love could be...
    A Touching Story in the Sichuan Earthquake:
    Young Mother Breastfed Baby as she lay dying in the rubble
    Photo: Mother's Love in EarthQuake

    Beliefs... & Dreams...

    My Belief. Your Belief. Whose Belief? Sometimes I just wonder... how often could we find another person who has the same belief as ours?
    Of course, I'm vague... What beliefs am I talking about?
    Certainly, one could have many many beliefs... on many many different things.

    On the other hand, when we talk about dreams, one could have many dreams - be it realistic or not. Haha... that's why they are call 'dreams'! There are also dreams that belong to somewhere in-between, which means if we pursue further, it may just actualise and come true!

    To actualise a dream, to make it come true, I think, it must come with a strong belief of "I can" and "we can"... that is, not weaken by other influences and environment; or worse still, "threats" from our old beliefs.

    As mentioned before, we hold many beliefs - old ones, and new olds, especially those related to new dreams we want to actualise. There are times when old beliefs are in conflict with new beliefts (that yet have established a foot hold in us yet). This is the utmost challenge - either we can make it or we can't make it (2 versions of CMI).

    Certainly, it comes to actualising a dream as a team, as a community, it's even more challenging. First of all, when all come form a community, I believe all must have some common goals - at least one. However, it does not necessary that these individuals come with the same beliefs or they would have new beliefs that are common. New beliefs are influenced by the old beliefs, depending on the degree. Some hold to heart the old beliefs and think that would enable them to achieve the new dreams.

    I wonder...

    "Who" or "What" to blame?

    Was talking to someone about "Internet Addiction". This is one of the most common concern raised by parents on their children's use of the computer and access to internet.

    Very often, parents would think of means to "block" access to the device or the internet. So, I guess, the indirect message is... hey, "Computer" and "Internet", you are at fault! Because of you, we loose our focus, our concentration, and we are distracted from our daily routines... all BECAUSE OF YOU!!!!

    Hahahaha... I'm not joking. In fact, many a time, went faced with a problem, we jump into 'conclusion' very quickly and we also tend to be able to identify the MAIN CULPRIT almost immediately - that is the device or whatever that distracts us!

    Look inward... did the device say to us, "Come, come, come... use me!"


    so, who's to blame? who's fault?

    Saturday, September 04, 2010


    While studying for the exam (another 4 more hours to go before entering the exam hall), this suddenly flashed across my mind:

    "Being a head of department is not easy; being a head of department in SST is even more demanding."
    Hahah.. I guess, it's EXPECTATION from self? hm... also an expectation from others? (indirectly).

    In fact, there's an expectation for the head of department. Like what a student commented on another matter (which is not related to this context) "What so big deal?"

    Yes, what's so big deal being the head of department in a school? It's just another job designation with added responsibility (anyway, work responsibility goes with the job designation, isn't it?). I think, what makes a difference is how we want ourselves to carry out the duties and responsibilities. To what degree we wanted to perfect it as an art? To what extent we wanted to push the boundary... That's where it makes a difference. This is still very much - SELF.

    The next is the link between SELF and PERCEIVED Expectations; followed by SELF and OTHERS' Expectations.

    Wednesday, September 01, 2010

    Happy Teachers' Day to all...

    It's been a good year of learning... though real 'business' only started this January 4 when we welcome our first batch of pioneer students. Yes, I love to use this term "Pioneer" because its a privilege to be given an opportunity to be one... not anyone would experience that in their life time... I think I was lucky enough (am still) to be one of the Pioneer Teachers in 2 schools!

    There are lots to learn... not just from the "teachers" in the formal sense, but also through the interaction with others, in the midst of doing new stuff... and even troubleshooting! Of course, that includes my fellow colleagues - be it they are in the admin or academic faculty. Not forgetting others like working partners (e.g. IDA and Apple), thanks to them, too!

    Hm... how about my students? Ha! The "Back to School" feeling was very different... esepcially 'first' encounters of the digital natives (I think they are truly dignital natives) since I left NAS in 2005 December. Yes, who says teachers don't learn from their students? Lots of learning points to draw from, lots of strengths and yet-uncovered goodies to draw from all of them :)

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    It's Teachers' Day

    Greeted by a string of words that was said in high speed...
    ah! ZQ is the choo-choo train :)
    Should have used speedometer to measure... hahaha...
    Would love to have recorded that...
    Then came ZY's angelic stare... Hm... that mi-mi eyes... pause...
    and a er.... pause, pause, pause... a hug?!
    hahaha... Something that I rarely do...
    Hm... my 1st hug at SST
    There's one little eraser...
    JJ was giggling when passed that to me... and showed me he has a bad of
    Hm... that reminds me of those good old days
    Guess what country was presented to me?
    Hm... maybe that's my next destination? Haha...
    Thanks for helping me to plan
    Wow! Beary is enjoying the Bed of Roses!
    Hm... Life is not a bed of roses? Hm... it's really up to our imagination...
    Certainly, there's a chocolate to sweeten the day
    Weighty "LOVE"
    A short froggy story behind this little er... bear bear?
    Hahah... So, Ponda loves virtual frog porridge too?
    Cute little white bear with a red heart sat in the Pigeonhole
    TWO big words inside the card: "Work Hard!"
    hahaha... Just wondering...
    Is JH making a promise to work hard or asking me to work harder :)
    Cheers! Let's work hard together!
    A big card... with signatures, email addresses & handphone numbers of the class...
    Hm... indirect message: Keep in Touch
    Practical use: during emergency relay!

    Sunday, August 29, 2010

    The National Day Rally Tweets

    Briefly... more than 50 tweets within 2 hours...
    1. #ndr Done! Thanks to the internet, I sat through the National Day Rally :) cheers!
    2. #ndr The Fighting Spirit matters... Size doesn't matter... #ithink #iinterpret
    3. #ndr recapping the nation's pride :)
    4. #ndr oh! a new complex beside the MOE building - it's the NERVE centre - named after Dr Goh
    5. #ndr talking about us exercising our global responsibilities
    6. #ndr doing extreme sports at 'extreme' parks?
    7. #ndr rescuing horseshoe crabs to save the environment? Hm...
    8. #ndr oh! using technology as an analogy... ah! would the 'dinosaurs' able to make connections? #iwonder
    9. #ndr Talking about our National Pledge... We got to maintain our Singaporean Call - The singapore spirit - keeping an open architecture...
    10. #ndr ok... now into NE #ithink
    11. #ndr Keeping our nation's identity - shared values, shared loyalty & commitment, shared memories, etc...
    12. #ndr on education: now, talking about donation (after giving out angpows in the earlier segment) Hm...
    13. #ndr on education: What? Matching 3 to 1? That's really generous!!! existing programme worth less: Matching 1.5 to 1 (hm...)
    14. #ndr on education: having scholarships, loan schemes, etc... to help "WHO" - locals or foreigners? #iwonder
    15. #ndr on education: NTU branching into medical fields? Hm... in order to train more docs? oh!? training BOTH singaporean and foreign docs?
    16. #ndr on education: Oh! a university town? village? at clementi?
    17. @dancescapes maybe it's by an imported talent?
    18. #ndr on education: Opening Pathways, Building Peaks. 2 special schools highlighted - Northlight and Assumption Pathway. Kudos!
    19. #ndr on education: Going to NT is also a "good option"? to prepare them to do well in ITE... oh, what a way to put across
    20. #ndr on education: for the less academically inclined - the NT specifically - enhancement carried out so far worked well.
    21. #ndr on education: The new 7 sch will have dual track! Life is getting more complicated; it's becoming more complicated! oh no!!!
    22. #ndr on education: Expanding the IP (Integrated prog)? For 3 years, 11 schools on board. Oh! 7 more schs into it! Which are they?
    23. #ndr on education: Popular schools, popular programmes.. talking about replicating programmes in all schools?
    24. #ndr on education: Talk about choices of secondary schools. Fret not if don't do well. Competitive programmes wait for you no matter where..
    25. #ndr on education: Seeing exam in perspective! It won't determine the whole future of the child... not a live or die matter #ilike
    26. #ndr on education: paying more attention to PE, Art and Music? Oh no! that specialist ought to be coming to us soon???
    27. #ndr on education: OK... the msg is to 'tell' parents, all schools are doing the same, nurturing the whole child. No need to choose pri sch?
    28. #ndr on education: Camel trekking... ok.. that sounds exciting. DNA profiling in life sciences. Robotics, yes..about the annual NRJC.
    29. #ndr on education: oh... why so much about Art? Dances? oh? Our students perform in HK Disneyland? Hm... #iwonder
    30. #ndr on education: art & gardening. Music - Fusion orchestra - oh! our rojak culture! that's Singlish art? Hm... #iwonder
    31. #ndr on education: Let's hear a whole range of things done all over the sch - 1st group, about art - oh! mural instead of graffiti!
    32. #ndr on education: All schs are well equipped with modern facilities and well staffed - in any neighbourhood sch, kids are exposed and given
    33. #ndr on education: Talents in many dimensions... how the system nurture them? including those less academically incline?
    34. #ndr Now, into education... Singapore's education system - when students leave the education system "BIlingual" (hm...)
    35. #ndr how to keep door open and yet protecting the interest of Singaporeans?
    36. #ndr bonding through common interest.. oh! that's an exchange of ???
    37. #ndr still... talking about accepting the foreigners in the Singapore society, Singapore community
    38. #ndr Population and Talent Division @ PMO - like PSD to do what?
    39. #ndr Those who earn a bit more than $8000 but can't quite afford private property will get housing grant... er? neither here nor there...
    40. #ndr Oh yes, HDB will speed up... so, you mean "building flats" can also spped? I thought only pilots can speed in the air!
    41. #ndr how are we going to manage immigration so that Singapore is not overcrowded? Oh yes, HDB flats at a dear price for locals?
    42. #ndr basically, the speech revolves around foreigners and immigrants - on transport, on housing, at work, property prices & on schooling!!!
    43. #ndr Circle line Phase 3 will be completed by next year... ok... NS line & EW line - 120s now(?) to 100s next year... ok, some maths again
    44. #ndr NE line - one extra train in the morning.. ok... let's do the mathematics... to what extent (%) it helps to alleviate the conjestion?
    45. #ndr Talking about peak hours crowd in the MRT train! What? The green part is ok? Can't believe, you mean Tamines area not crowded?
    46. #ndr upgrading our system so that everyone would get good education... must open years wide wide... now, about Transport first...
    47. #ndr Last time, baby bonus... now NS man "bonus"???
    48. #ndr Another new initiative - a national service man award?
    49. @kevinkjang oh yah... when I 'missed' the train and late for work! haha
    50. #ndr Will one day Singaporeans thought of coming back to Singapore as a visit to another tourist attraction?
    51. #ndr A handbook can help one to 'become' a Singaporean? #iwonder
    52. #ndr Unbelieveable??? Commuters asking for their 'personal' bus driver... Still can't believe it!
    53. #ndr there are immigrants who come with social graces, there are also some 'ugly' ones... does the govt make an effort to do some filtering?
    54. #ndr talking about integration into our Singaprean society... hm... at the MRT, one could identify the "foreign talents" straightaway
    55. #ndr Are Singaporeans really getting better deals? Are we enjoying the "competition" from foreigners? #iwonder
    56. @dancescapes haha... u watching/ listening at the same time too?
    57. #ndr Now, talk about reality, the reason for having foreign workers... Making a distinguishable difference in who we accept here?
    58. #ndr what??? the 3rd reason for welcoming immigrants is because of Singapore's low birth rate? No! No! This is definitely no good reason!
    59. #ndr ... unless they are truly singaporean... #ithink
    60. #ndr Frankly speaking, there's still so much to do in terms of sports. While they fly the SIngapore flag, it's still very different unless..
    61. #ndr oh! When talking about imported talents, we would never forget talking about our imported sports talent..
    62. @dancescapes Certainly, Singaporeans work very hard to reach where we are today, and now we are capable of buying services worldwide :)
    63. #ndr Talking about how Microsoft draws talents from all over the world
    64. #ndr Look at the maps! ah! PM's not using GoogleMap... it's customised!
    65. Ah!!!! I missed it! Just crossed the 3000th tweet! #Ijoy #ilike
    66. @dancescapes Well, anyway was told that there's minimal immigrant in Japan...
    67. #ndr Immigration: Embracing Diversity, Growing Roots
    68. #ndr What's exactly the immigrant's role in the country? Are there more plus than minus?
    69. #ndr Drawing parallel in terms of concerns raised else where (e.g. US)... also drawing out how they could contribute to the residing country
    70. #ndr Immigrant matters - setting the context. Singapore is not the only one with foreigners. It's worldwide phenomenon.
    71. #ndr Talking about immigrants... why we need them... and how does the nation manage the influx
    72. #ndr Now, moving from productivity to immigration... the next big topic of the rally
    73. #ndr bravo PM Lee! U are giving a lecture on deep sea operations!... #ilike
    74. #ndr we have world class corporates #ilike
    75. #ndr Talking about economics, talking about mathematics... #ilike