Special Watch

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Catching up

Hey hey,
Another long period of silence. And the reason for that is clearly in need of a creativity boost. So, I shan't mention it here. The silence could have been longer still if not for my dearest chum and so I owe it to her for this post.

For this post, am going to go into the alphabets A-Z. And that means, this is going to be really lengthy? We see how it goes, okie? Ha ha, dun panic. I don't think I will ever arrive at Z, although there will be repetitions of some letters. Ok, so here goes:

A is for Aungklung
I chanced upon it when I was in Kindergarten. I was performing in the then National Theatre (the one I have always associated with diamonds due to its architecture) and got to hear and watch an Aungklung performance. I was mesmerised by the sound coming from those wonderful wonderful instruments. Ah, but being 5 years of age, I could not find out any more about the set of instruments but it has left an imprint in my little heart since then. The next time I got into contact with it was last year - Siglap S Skool has got an Aungklung Ensemble. I was hoping to attached to it during practicum but no such luck - they put me to SJAB, my very own ECA when I was schooling. But hey, my skool now has an Aungklung Ensemble and once in a while, our tired brains get to be calmed by those beautiful musical notes. Nice! What could be better than that, one may ask? Ah ... getting to play the instruments. We, the chers, played 2 simple pieces, one of which is named 'Graduation', dedicated to our graduating kidz. I could hardly contain my delight when the email to 'recruit' the chers to perform something for the kidz came. But that's not all. My dear chum signed up for it too! Ha ha, we had fun learning to play something decent. Well, it did get more and more decent with every practise. And I hope we did well on the graduation day itself. Phew! What an experience.

A is also for Arena
1 was good, although it took all my energy, earlier in the year. As for 2, we did not make it into the televised rounds. The kidz were devasted. I was puzzled with the results. My consolation is that we went into level 2 auditions while 20 other teams were knocked out in the level 1 audition. 3 of our 4 kidz are from NA, mind you. It's a feat for them to achieve something other teams from the gifted or E streams could not. The honour is mine, watching the kidz grow and improve. I was touched by their positive attitudes towards improving their oratorical skills. It keeps me going as well. And I was also touched by my fellow chers who went all out to help the kidz in every way possible. They have given me the energy and inspiration to go on.

A is also for Award
Hmmm.... Outstanding Contribution Award... hmmmm... still don't understand how it landed on me. There are many more deserving chers around. And I was riding on the groundwork others have set. And I regret that Arena 2 did not go further. Or else, I could have shared it with the other terrific three. Sigh...

B is for back
8 months down the road, my poor back is still not as good as before. Sigh.... Was just one room into spring cleaning the house, and I had to lie down. 2 days of sitting through meetings, my back muscles were ready to go into cramps. Hope this hols, I have time to improve things. Or else, I'm in for some serious trouble next year.

C is for dear chum
Who has unknowingly sent energy and inspiration my way. Looking forward to working with her next year! And for many years to come. Ah, I miss her already. And her dearest twin and the best mummy in the world.

D is for DVDs
Been sharing some wonderful DVDs with pals at work. Once I am back from hols, will be procuring lots for the library. And screening will be done to support IP, throughout the year, in the library. Yeah! Lots of work for me (synopsis etc), but it's something I really wanted to do. I can't wait already. There are many wonderful ones around. I have my own collection, which is still rather small. But one big one for the library, ah, it will be a dream come true.

E is for Exploration and the Environment
My N parks friend invited me down to Hindhede park last Sat to see what they have been working on in their outreach programmes. Some interesting stuff there. But what she said struck a chord in me. She said that all those skools sending pupils down to pick leaves for C I P and for healthy lifestyle does not work to the advantage of anyone, except to fill in quota for skools. The kidz come, thinking that they have seen all that the rainforests offer, and then leave, not having understood that this very vulnerable and previous forest that needs their protection, can be adversely affected by the huge loads of kidz that keep pouring out of skool buses. Hmmm... and she is right. I have no control over C I P and healthy lifestyle plans but if the chance arises, I will spread that on. In addition, they would love to reach out to Geo chers to come down for some sessions with them and to bring kidz to be educated on the fundamental issues of conservation etc. I have to salute those working with the N parks!

F is for Facebook
Been on it quite a bit these 2 weeks, in between meetings. Been trying to find old pals who are up there and renew contacts.

G is for Graduation
All the best to my kidz. Could not say a proper goodbye on their special day because they were 'rushed' out of the hall so that the next event can proceed. No closure for some of them. Poor things. I can still rememebr the look of disappointment when some of them tried hugging their chers but were waylaid before they could reach them, and were rather rudely ushered out of the hall. But ah, have invited many of them onto Facebook. Left them my number so they can remain in contact. Hope that sweetens the bad experience they have had.

H is for Holiday
Yippee! Leaving for NZ in a couple of days. That will always be the number 1 place in my heart. It's literally paradise (ah, and I will probably come across a little place called Paradise there). I don't think I will ever end up in heaven so... hee... More, after the trip.


Friday, August 24, 2007

It's been a looooong while

Yep, it's been such a long while since I last posted. The lazy me would rather sleep than blog nowadays, since we never have enough of that. Hmmmmphhh.. so what brings me here today? I am stuck in skool and yet, I cannot be doing what I have to do (testimonials, papers etc). My kidz are researching their debate motion and so, it's wait time. I sometimes wonder why there are so many suprises in life. To be honest, I know nuts about debates, and I still know nuts about it today. Yet, time an again, I have to train the kidz up, a result of the accidental success earlier this year in the Arena. Just when there is something I fear/weak at, I am constantly nudged towards it. Strange is it not?

On another level, just when I am getting tired of it all on a bad rainy day, a kid, bearing an umbrella and a golden halo came to save my day/life. A poor t'cher, waiting for a taxi while a light drizzle got itself promoted into rain, found an umbrella appearing over her head. I was sooooooooooo touched. He waited with me for the next 15mins, bearing all kinds of curious looks other kidz were giving him. Wonderful boy, isn't he? From then on, I have to over throw what I have said before, and proclaim - there is still hope with our future generation!!!!

Oh yes, and a great great movie came my way - Bridge to Terabithia. Was first introduced to the book by my lovely tutor, shared the wonders of the book with my Lit mates, and I only wish we can get together to share the wonders of the movie. I was blown away by it! It is not everyday that we get a great movie. It is not everyday that we get a movie that stayed truthful to the spirit of the book and handled the intricacies so well. Many a times, after watching a movie, I will go "the book is still way better". Not this time and I am so glad of that. And I could not wait to pass the DVD to Minerva, whom I know will enjoy it as much as I do. :P The last time this happened, it was LOTR, which literally blew me into space when I was still wondering what all those hoo-haa's are about. Since then, I have not touched down on earth yet.

And then, my physio-therapist just ordered the world's wierdest treatment for me back - SLOUCH! She told me I probably have never slouched before all my life. Wow! When I showed her how I supposedly 'slouch', she told me that was the straightest back she has ever seen. And so, after more than 30 years of over-straining me back, 'slouching' is now my ideal posture I have to achieve. Ah... how can one 'slouch' and walk and jog at the same time? I have to try to manage, somehow.

Life is strange, isn't it?


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Downs and Ups

Hi hi,

Been in the dumps for a couple of weeks. But things finally brightened at the close of the case. The Tolkien books I ordered arrived at the same time, and in time for my trip too. Hmmm... Was literally floating amongst the clouds then. Then, came the much-awaited trip.
Visited a country that has never fail to touch me. It's a place where:
1. People say thank you to their public bus drivers, teenagers included
2. People have big hearts and go all their way out to help one another
3. People laugh at everything, even when the situation is irksome to them
4. People go round greeting everyone else with a 'How's it going?'
5. People and pets are so friendly (even dogs come to you, trusting that you will shower love on them)
6. For someone like me, who never fail to learn something
7. People appreciate everyone else Ah... my kind of place.
Here is the route:
1. Darwin (wonderful monuments recording the cruelty of WWII and Cyclone Tracy, Mindil Beach Market)

2. Litchfield National Park (swimming under waterfalls)
Wangi Falls - just opened for swimming a week prior to my arrival (no crocs here)
3. Katherine (where the proprietess of Springvale Homestead took such great care of me and watched out for me, and where the night river croc cruise sets off every night, and where the guests at the bistro taught me the game of rugby)

Springvale Homestead - where I called home for a couple of nights, boasting stunning sunrises and sunsets, where wallabies roam, where the people's hearts are more beautiful from anywhere else (perhaps because the place floods every couple of years and evacuation is often needed, that people here have such big hearts)
The nightly croc river cruise where you get to see the wild freshies up close

4. Manyallaluk (where I had a great time learning from true blue aboriginal guides and tasting bush tucker - spear throwing, playing the Didgeridoo, bush walking and intro into uses of plants all around, Aboriginal painting, basket weaving, fire making)

Life for the Aborginals is certainly hard (you can tell that I probably fail in all the above). And much as I would love to pay tribute to my 3 wonderful Aborginal guides/friends, I have to refrain from putting their names and pictures here for cultural reasons.
Bush plums - a nice nibbly full of Vit C

Damper, billy, ordinary bbq food plus skippy tail (a bush delicatessen)

Learn to make a bush paint brush and the paint (the white piece of rock)

5. Mataranka (springs, historical homesteads, Baramundi feeding)

6. Nimiluk National Park (where the beautiful Katherine Gorge is found)
It's absolutely beautiful here

The cruise

7. Pine Creek (mining settlement)

8. Kakadu National Park (Aboriginal museums telling enlightening stories about the Aborginals, Nourlangie Rocks and Ubirr with 360degrees view of the floodplain and the escarpment, Yellow Water floodplain and its legendary sunset)
Yellow Water cruise

Never seen such a beautiful sunset before
9. Cooinda bush camp (my first attempt at bush camping but ended up not able to fall asleep because of animals sizing me up all around the tent, and being a light sleeper does not help matters)
10. Territory Wildlife Park, Jumping Cros Cruise, Croc Farm, Windows on Wetlands, Fogg Dam reserve, Didgeridoo Hut (a short stop that captivated me heart absolutely - an Aboriginal Art Gallery that has been nicknamed Noah's ark, for the owner is a volunteer in housing injured wild animals - where a galah hops onto your finger when you say 'hop on' and a little joey who has losts its mum in an accident and a dog who requests a few loving pats from you etc)

The guide cum skipper getting the pork ready

There it goes - the agressive salty

And then I set off for home in the most grouchy mood possible. Sigh...


Sunday, May 13, 2007


Hi hi,
My Lit mates will love this. Shall we have a date after all that ticks and crosses we make?


Friday, May 11, 2007

It hurts

Hi hi,
Remember when we were younger and had to be caned because we were mischevious? Remember your parents saying that it hurts them more than it hurts you when they had to cane you? I can finally understand the true meaning behind those words today. Yep. Today... sigh....

Almost 12 hours after it happened, my heart is still aching. Cheating during exams - my kid from my form klass, my subject and under my watch. The best klass in me skool on top of that. The moment I saw that note, my heart literally cracked into pieces. Then comes the inevitable confrontation where I had to take his accusations that I have something against him. I wish it were as simple as that. Understandably, he is upset. But it hurts a whole lot more having to report him. Yep, it really hurts. But, no, I cannot let it rest. Or else he will never learn. If he gets away this time, he will attempt it again and the consequences get more dire when it comes to his prelims and nat exams.

And now, I cannot help but worry about him.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Yesterday vs Today

Hi hi,
Yesterday, something reminded me that our children do have a conscience, despite what they do to their t'chers in class. It also reminded me that all our kidz do have a sense of justice, although they do not seem to exhibit all that in klass. During assembly, a sharing session of how kidz turned the odds against them and excelled in their results, saw the kidz silenced by how unfortunate others can be. Yet, some of them behave like they do not have a single bit of decency in them back in klass. Why the disparity? Is it because we were not able to bring out their sense of decency in klass? Is it the fact that it is a klassroom environment? Or is it because of the novelty of it all? Doesn't matter which is right. The fact remains that my spirits were uplifted by their response.

Today is an entirely different story. My best klass made me shout at them, for not bringing their text books (so I had them do their work in groups); for not bringing their activity when they were told to do so (so I allowed them to work on foolscap to be clipped to their books once they are home); for not being on-task; for lying that they did their work when I walked round to check; and for lying for their friends who did not do their work by passing off their own work as their friends'. How much more must a t'cher concede? How many steps back must a t'cher take to ensure no one wastes the hour in klass? To think that they are graduating this year. I am losing faith in them once again, despite yesterday. Or was it me who was/have been in the wrong. Hmmm.... I realise I sound like someone about to turn hysterical.... :) Not to worry. This is the effect of my worrying too much for people who aren't even worried about themsleves. But it is good to get really angry once in a while. Sets the heart pumping, sets the blood flowing, which in turns starts those brain cells working. :)

And oh, was on course today. Recalled something I heard told to students some time back, which I use once in a while to make kidz laugh - t'cher to student: Dun sleep in klass. But if really must, at least, don't snore. And this is exactly what happened today. Oh my. We were all too polite......