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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Entertainer_%28rag%29

More about Scott Joplin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 (http://www.unicef.org/emerg/index.html)

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