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 :)