Friday, July 30, 2004
I just spent 26 minutes and 43 seconds on the phone speaking to a distraught parent. She's petrified her son will run away or in her own words do something silly
. For once, I didn't roll my eyes when those words were uttered to me because I could genuinely feel her pain and sense her fear.
It's hard to be a parent. That much I know. Especially when your child is 17 and their life and their mind is a total mystery to you. What you don't know often makes you fear even more. Even though I'm not a parent, I am familiar with paranoia. Dan has on many occasions called me a paranoid, neurotic, damn near crazy nut (which I take as a sign of affection :) ) and I worry a lot about things that are beyond my control. And none of those things, I suspect come close to figuring out the mystery that is the 17 year old.
The mystery that is a17 year old...my 17 year old cousin's blog totally belies a totally different side of her that I am certain her parents do not know anything about, as do the blogs of my students. And I'm sure my parents would have had an aneursym if they knew what I thought about at 17.
The unknown is always frightening and when the unknown is your own spawn, I suspect that terror grows many a fold. You worry if the child is depressed, suicidal, sleeping around, flunking school, doing drugs, alcohol, smoking, hanging out with people who have butterflies or multiples of 3 tattooed on their arms, small of their back, ankles...where ever.
And when your child's flunked the common tests and their teachers tell you to lay off on the pressure, you worry a little bit more about whether you're driving your kid to the brink. I now recall with much guilt what I must have put my mom through when I was 14. Younger than my kids, but equally angsty and stretched.
I remember going to my teacher and telling her I wasn't going to do well because my mother was on my back all the time. And I begged my teacher to tell her to back off. Which she did I think, but I can now imagine how my mom must have felt, that I couldn't tell her directly and had to get an intermediary to do it.
Well, that's the role I'm in now and I don't relish it. I've grown up and become that teacher and I worry for the kid but I sympathise with the mother as well. It's hard being on either side. The kid probably sees the mother as fussing too much and stifling him. The mother probably sees the kid as distant, a stranger in their own house, reticient and something akin to a 1000 piece 3-D jigsaw of blue sky that cannot be figured out.
Boy, come to think of it, it really makes feel useless. I've sent the kid to see a counsellor, I've alerted the parents to what his problems are, but those things are measures that I was told to take to cover my own ass in the event that something happens. But it's more than that now. It's about people who genuinely fear each other, for different reasons and there's a wall in between that they can't or won't scale. And it's not going to be a fair ending. It'll either be a win-win or lose-lose ending.
I hope to God it's the former and when I move a notch up in the student-teacher-parent
progression, I'm going to pray very hard that I will never find myself in a situation where I feel so helpless I'm ringing my kid's teacher in the middle of the day begging for his timetable just so that I can call him to make sure he's all right and to quell that nauseating fear in the pit of my stomach that something bad might befall him.
The trials of parenthood...*shudder*
Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:11
Thursday, July 29, 2004
There is no better way to end your day than with a car crash.
Our car's been giving us loads of problems. It's what we bargained for since in itself, I think it's almost an adult. Anyhow, since we filled it up with gas last night, it's been smelling suspiciously like it's going to blow up (I once again repeat, I watch far too much television for my own good). While on the way to drop it off at my in laws, we see these cars at a stop light so we prepare to stop. Unfortunately, confused and intoxicated by the gas fumes, the car decided to not heed the gentle pressure on the brake pads. To cajole it into stopping, Dan hits the brakes even harder. Now, like I said, the car is about adult age and possibly trying to break away from any sort of control whatsoever. So, instead of slowing down like a nice obedient car, it speeds up and rears its right headlight into a stationary cab in front of us.
We're ok. Our 20 year old is unrepentant and a little bit broken and crumpled. Dan however is taking it hard and if he gets any more pissed, there will be a hole the size of a fist in our toilet.
All this comes when I was seriously contemplating getting rid of the problematic car. First, the back cabin seems to like to flood and slosh rain water around when it pours for more than five minutes. Then, the springs of the seat squeak embarrasingly. And last night, the smell of the fuel and today this? Plus the road tax and the insurance?
I was trying to calculate if it would make more sense to take a cab. Unfortunately, it wouldn't. I wouldn't be able to give tuition and in the event of us having a child, carting it around on public transport is just beyond my imagination. Should that ever be the case, the child will stay home till it is old enough to tap his/her own ez-link card
Well, anyway, I should go and keep the funky husband company.
This reminds me of something my very corny friend used to say in college.
Life sucks, like an army mosquito. It has no mercy.
Not the most profound, but hey, in a nutshell, that's today.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 20:18
My Little Refridgerator's All Grown Up.
Last night, I went to see my mom because she had her other eye operated on. I'm told that it's routine for people her age to go for cataract surgery. Anyway, I go with the intention of saying hi to her and disappearing seeing that I was totally exhausted from watching 15 of Singapore's best woo and court our favour, trying to convince us that they deserve a spot on the national team.
But it was not to be so.
There were these suspicious looking styrofoam boxes near the door, reminding me that I actually wanted to stay away from the house since my very loud, big haired, speaks only Cantonese aunt was down from NZ. Anyway, she came bearing gifts of meats. Well, actually a whole animal carcass. There were 2 legs of lamb, 2 rolls of sirloin, weighing up to 10kg and a hunk of roast beef. Anyway, seeing that my mother does not have an industrial restaurant sized freezer, she needed to borrow our freezer but insisted on us cooking the leg of lamb this weekend since it had actually started defrosting.
So, we heave one of the boxes home and fill our tiny fit for two people who don't eat in much freezer with meat of dead cow. The leg of lamb was a little more tricky. We had to cook it and we didn't know how. So, frantic phonecalls were made to the only chef we know
for instructions of how to cook the ginormous leg of dead baby goat.
Anyhow, we were told to marinate it and Dan looked slightly ill as he compared the experience of marinating it with olive oil to giving a massage to a really cold thigh- I think nacrophilia came to mind.
And then the challenge of putting it in the fridge. Out came two shelves of ham, jam, juice and a whole lot of sweets and in went the lamb. All our junk food got squeezed into the top two shelves making it look cluttered. Then it dawned on me, my fridge looked like my mother's fridge, cluttered with bottles of strange unidentifiable liquids on the top shelves with breakfast type foods and raw food to be cooked at the bottom.
It made my fridge look all grown up but I wasn't too happy about it. I liked my fridge being filled with no real food. It reminds me of how we are not our parents. Now, my fridge is my mother's fridge, in every sense of the word since it holds all her meats and by extention of that warped but true logic, I am my mother.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 13:36
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Yesterday, I met my first unreasonable parent. I've been fortunate enough to have dealt only with parents who have their heads screwed on right and who do not blame us when their child fools around too much and fails.
Unfortunately, that luck ran out yesterday. Granted this wasn't a parent of a student in school. It was a tuition kid's mom. I knew she was trouble to begin with because when she rang me, the first thing she said to me was " I like the way you talk"
which is really
the last thing you look for in a tutor. Anyway, the girl's really sweet and I do
feel like I can help her. But the mother...that's another story.
When I took the assignment, the agent told me that I had to bring my name card to prove
that I actually taught at the school that I teach at. In case I was lying. That was worthy of eye rolling as it was. Then yesterday, she comes down on the one and a half hour dot (when I was supposed to finish the session)- almost as if she had a stop watch running from the time I rang the door bell, freaky. Anyway, she asks to see my teacher training cert saying it would prove my authenticity. I give her a very puzzled look and say that it'll only announce my completion of a course that well, did little to prepare me for any of the teaching I've done in the last year or so. I tell her as politely as I can, without the aforementioned rolling of eyes that I had given her daughter my name card the previous week for the purposes of her verification.
She claims that she cannot accept the name card because I could have printed it myself.
Yes, I would go to all the trouble of creating a name card for myself with a school's crest on it. And if I really wanted to be fake, I could have picked a nearer school to my home instead of one the other end of Singapore. Why would people want to pretend teaching in my school when there are far more glamourous ones around? And on top of that, I would have had to go to this school that I do not teach in
to a) steal a parking label b) steal workbooks to give her daughter c) steal exam papers to give her precious daughter and d) create an entire persona of someone who teaches there.
At the end of it all, I manage to convince her that I did not
print the card for myself and she's still reluctant to believe it. She tries to justify it by saying it's necessary since she's paying me so much. In my crooked, scheming mind, I'm thinking if that's the case, then I should really have said I came from a top school and make buckets more.
Seriously, there's a fine line between making sure your child has the best and you're paying for what you get and insane paranoia. I think the Merz driving, koi breeding lady who lives in a big 3 storeyed house with only her daughter has crossed that line, so much that the line is a dot to her.
She may be paying me but I refuse to be her butt monkey.
Some people. *throws hands up in exasperation*
Ondine tossed this thought in at 12:09
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Guns a Blazin'
Yet another minister visited my school today. We're really popular. Heh.
Anyway, in order to make sure the minister goes away with an impression of the school that is not really us, the kids were given a talking to during assembly. They were told to behave themselves, say "good morning" to the minister if and when they see him, tuck in their shirts and be the "polite, mature, pleassant"
students that they all are.
Well, I don't know if as a school they behaved themselves because I didn't see the minister anywhere. One would have thought it was a phantom visit if not for the two men dressed in innocuos boring clothes standing outside the crown jewels
of my school, this room with no corners. It's a round room that's known as a research centre with one fish tank, five oval shaped tables that can be arranged into a shape of a flower (as they did for his visit) and some matching chairs.
I presume these men were his guards of some sort, but scanning their outline, I saw no odd shape that could be a gun anywhere on their beings. Perhaps they keep it taped to their shins. My colleagues think I watch to much television. I also say.
Anyway, the biggest difference between this minister and the one that visited on Saturday
wasn't the socks they wear, but the fact that Saturday's minister rocked up in a Mercedes and today's one parked his MPV in our porch. That must say something.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 13:38
Monday, July 26, 2004
One of my debaters was shortlisted for the national team. I'm glad for her and I thought I'd let the coaches know too. The response however, wasn't what I expected. I expected them to be pleased or happy for her. But the message I got was
"She will never make it. Everything was predicted and coached. She can't think for herself."
Which I thought was extremely mean of them. Ok, maybe she's not as bright as the other debaters. Maybe she won't make it past this selection round, but being selected and shortlisted is an honour all by itself and at least be happy for her for that much. These "Bah! Humbug!
" kids are just not accepting enough and in my book, that's very ungracious.
Anyway, morale is extremely low today in the staff room. We're all exhausted and there's no end in sight for any of us. I managed to doze off while marking in class so I had to escape back here where I can doze off without wrecking the impression of being infalliable. But then, I end up blogging and possibly writing absolute rubbish after a while, but at least the kids won't know and more importantly, remember how daft their teacher was.
One more lesson after this and then my psych elective. I've already demanded not to repeat it next year. Not only do I not have the time and energy, I will have to dumb it down some more to a level where I could clip out social-individual interest articles from Glamour
and pass them off as serious academic material!
*Eye lids half closing*
Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:44
Sunday, July 25, 2004
My mom had cataract surgery a few weeks ago. This meant that she couldn't go anywhere alone because she could only see out one eye. She asked me a few weeks ago if I could go with her to the wedding of the daughter of one of the illustrious church members of the church she attends. I figured, since I haven't spent a lot of time with her since I got married, why not?
I've just come back from the wedding. Irritated and annoyed that I spent my only day of rest at this wedding. I'd sooner die than go back to another like this.
In the middle of the ball room, stood a huge gazebo where I assume the bride and groom exchanged their vows. It looked somewhat strange but was still something I could live with. As I was at the wedding by my mother's seeing-eye dog, I had a large amount of time people watching. That was when I started to sink deeper and deeper into cynical, bitchy depression.
The guests could be segmented into two different groups. One, the church group who were making corny Christian jokes about how God didn't send emails. I didn't get the punchline for that one, but I don't think I'd missed out on much. They also sat around and talked about cataract surgery and how wise people did not eat very much at buffets. Then there was the group like they were at an event worthy of a ten page spread in the Singapore Tatler. Tall modelesque girls dressed in clothes from The Link, Armani, Valentino, Gucci and Prada and men in Boss, Zegna suits.
It wouldn't be far from the truth to call the wedding the social event of the year and I was informed that all three daughters, including the one whose wedding it was, were all debutantes. Figures.
Anyway, what really got to me was that I knew a lot of dirt about this girl and the best man was talking about how she had led her husband into a stronger relationship with God and how she was a wonderful human being. All the perfect things to say at a wedding, just vague enough to get away with it but personal enough to bring tears to the eyes of the families. Unfortunately, with the inside scoop I had about this girl, I just couldn't feel that the entire event was somewhat farcical bordering on hypocritical. To make it more of a farce, I don't think any of the family knew who we were and my mother said all of two words to the father of the bride.
Weddings are meant to be the time when you are surrounded by the people who love you the most and want to share in your joy. I think their wedding was pretty much off to a bad start because they had at least one of me in their guest list of 700 odd people who felt that this was an ostentatious event designed to impress more than to be meaningful. Why else would you have unidentifiable deserts in small cups, tables and tables of tuna nicoise that few people touched and enough foilage at each table to reforest Africa?
I know I'll never be as beautiful or as thin nor as wealthy as some of the women there so perhaps, part of me is. But what I was more resentful about was the world these people live in. In the receiving line, I said goodbye to one of the debutante sisters whom I went to Sunday school with and she was like all, "Darling, leaving so soon ?"
To which I replied that I had work to do. She was all "But it's Sunday. What God awful job do you have that requires you to work on Sunday?"
Yup. My job is
God awful. I only teach kids how to read, write and think. It doesn't make as much money as hers does but in my world, it's something I get by with. It's one of those things that perhaps, she couldn't possibly understand and it bugs me. It bugs me that I was in a room with so many people that I believe, no matter how much you've worked your ass off to be where you are, it's not going to matter to them. What matters to them are the charity balls they put up, the latest preview
sale that they're invited to or organising and it bugs the heck out of me.
world, I'd be Lorelai and they be the DAR members or the Chiltern parents.
3 hours of my life that I will never get back. Ever.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 16:51
Saturday, July 24, 2004
I Am Now Allowed to Die
About 3 days ago, this was the conversation in the staff room.
Me:" Argh, my lymph nodes are swollen"
KW: " Ahhh, so you're coming down with something"
D: " You cannot get sick now! You cannot die before Saturday! If you want to die, you can die on Saturday night!"
KW: " Ah... and you must only die after you've left school, otherwise we must clean up and write report. Cannot."
Me: " What caring colleagues I have..."
Other colleague: "Ay, I'm going to buy flowers for Minister this afternoon. What flowers do you want on your Sunday funeral? I buy now, then no need to make two trips. Don't say I don't care..."
So, now, it's Saturday night, and officially, I am allowed to die now. We're done with the one event that's managed to ruin every one of my Saturdays since term began. Some things learnt from this experience.
- Some Powers that Be don't think it is appropriate to present a minister with flowers because the minister's a boy.
- According to the adjudicators, the debaters all speak in the same artificial manner and are rather like clones (I apologise to the rather nice debaters I know that read this blog)
- Glass noodles can go bad if left in the open for too long.
- You can fit 25 sambal fish balls into a styrofoam box
- Our minister of state for trade and industry and something else wears Hush Puppies socks
- There is protocol of who sits on the left and the right of the minister.
- Trying to figure out how Lee Hsien Yang's (second son of the illustrious Lee clan in Singapore) son would address one of the VIPs who is his father's elder brother's second wife's sister during a debate just makes your head hurt too much.
- When one has an over exaggerated and powerful expiration of air with every b and p , it causes the speakers to boom a split second later, rather loudly and distractedly to the kid's disbenefit.
So, it's over. As I was reminded, it's not the end for me yet because I still need to help pick the team for Calgary and go with them next February. Technically, I can't die yet, but since, in the capacity, I'm rather expendable, I think I might afford myself the luxury of doing so.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:52
Friday, July 23, 2004
In Case of Emergency
---Edited to add in commas. Previous post's verbage was symptomatic of my inability to breathe and much harder to read---
This morning, I woke up with the great inability to breathe. I've had swollen lymph nodes under my chin bugging me the whole week and I suspect it was done rebelling and sending me a clear warning that my work schedule's insane and my body was going on strike.
So, after much hesitation, I changed out of my work wear, into scruffy t shirt and berms and headed over to the nearby Emergency room seeing that no clinic was open at 6.40 in the morning and I didn't want Dan to get into trouble being too late for school.
Got to the ER at 7 am and was registered at 7.10am. Waited till 7.45 am before seeing a doctor who reminded me of Doogie Houser and apparently knew my brother-in-law. Anyway, he figured I had one of those vague upper respiratory tract infections but to be on the safe side,
I was shuffled off to get an x ray of my lungs done. By then, I'd sent Dan off to school with the assurance that I wasn't going to turn blue and drop dead. Then I settled down to wait. And wait. And wait and wait and wait. The doctor saw me again at 9 am and told me he couldn't figure what was wrong since my lungs were clear and prescribed me lozenges and painkillers! And then sent me out to wait some more.
By 9.20, I was getting extremely impatient because I'd been there for 2 hours with Doogie not really knowing what was wrong with me and I was still waiting on meds that I could get at the pharmacy and with a brother who had a brain tumour last year and another one with the ability to prescribe, I could open up a little cottage pharmacy with the number of painkillers in my medicine cabitnet. (Extremely long sentence, but I'm full of annoyance and it's too much trouble to take a breath). Anyhow, I march up to the counter and ask why it was taking so long for my prescription to be written out. The lady there tells me that I should expect to wait at least 3 hours since this was an emergency ward and when I indicated that it was coming up close to 3 hours she shut up and went to find out what was taking them so long only to come back out and whisper to a nurse to explain to me hospital policy because I didn't understand it
. So then, I'm talked to like I was stupid and an idiot and about ten. I am told that the doctor must print out the MC and the prescription in a tone that is only fit to tell young children that taking their meds was good for them and a lollipop would follow. Only that I didn't get any lollipop. And while this was happening, Doogie walks out of the consultation room with another nurse laughing away obviously heading out to breakfast.
And then I'm left there, seething in my own breathlessness and the ineptness of our wonderful health system. At 9.45 am, the same nurse who didn't give me the lolli shoves a whole pile of papers at me. One of them my prescription for Difflam
lozenges and Anarex
painkillers (which I have bullet packs of in my fridge), a letter to see a specialist in August if I'm still breathless then (If I'm still short of breath in August, I think I would either have to be on oxygen support or blue and dead already!) and a list of things to do since I have the common cold (which I don't!)
- Do not blow your nose too hard because it may cause a nose bleed (no shit)
- Use a cool mist humidifier not hot steam to clear your nasal passages
- Rest as much as possible and get plenty of sleep (well, I would if the hospital didn't waste 3 hours of my rest time!)
- Wash your hands after you blow your nose and cover your mouth when you cough
- Drink plenty of fluids like water, juice, tea (!), soups and carbonated drinks ( I can drink as much 7 up and Coke when I'm ill? That's new)
So there, they don't know what's wrong with me but give me more non descript medication that even outdoes my Panadol -cures everything- prescribing brother. Tell me to rest but hold me hostage for 3 hours when the waiting room resembled a ghost town when I walked in and in the true spirit of the kiasu Singapore doctor who fears anyone dying on their watch, thrusts the responsibility of figuring out why I'm breathless to another person.
A wonderfully true testament of our efficient and to be admired by all medical system. *growl* So, in case of emergency, never go to A&E unless you can arrive under the blaring sirens of the ambulance and even then, only if ambulance coverage is included in the insurance policy you have. I'm quite sure I don't, so I'm staying away from hospitals from now on. I can die at home, thank you very much. More less annoying.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:22
Sunday, July 18, 2004
General Knowledge Quiz
My school is running a quiz in the name of Humanities Week and the teachers were supposed to give them to the students to do. I brought my copy home because I wanted to try out the hundred questions and see how many I could do. Unfortunately, not many.
YM suggested I put it up on the blog and see whether, collectively as a blog community, we are actually be able to get a higher score on it. Maybe I'll do 20 a post otherwise we'll all get bug eyed.
- Name the title of the book that began with- Marley was dead to begin with
- Name the title of the book that began with- Yesterday Mommy died
- Name the title of the book that began with- There was no possibility of taking a walk that day
- Who wears the "fisherman's ring"?
- In which year and where was the Inaugural Ministerial Conference of the WTO held?
- What martial art is named from the Japanese "way of the sword"
- What was the name of Alexander the Great's father?
- Who has been quoted to have said that "Britain gave the world William Shakespeare, but it is really ______________ which has led the world in the best way of easing traffic jams in city areas." and which country was he referring to?
- What did the Russian policy of perestroika translate as?
- In music, what does "forte" mean?
- What do the French call the English Channel?
- What was the name of the theatre where US president Abraham Lincoln was assasinated?
- Which language is spoken in George Orwell's 1984?
- Which currency is used in East Timor?
- What is the smallest state by area in the USA?
- Which novel, first published in 1719, is based on the real-life exploits of Alexander Selkirk?
- Which flag consists of just the colour green?
- In the Bronze Age of China, the Ding and four ram Fang Zun were used for what ceremonies?
- Which Chinese dynasty existed concurrently with the Roman Empire?
- Lhoste, Kangchenjunga, and Dhaulagiri are all large Asian examples of what?
So yeah, these are the first instalment of 20. Not an easy feat, especially when you realise these questions were meant for the students.
Anyway, I'm off now. Tomorrow is the beginning of a long week with will once again culminate in a one day weekend. What joy!
Ondine tossed this thought in at 16:06
Friday, July 16, 2004
Dan's finally back from field camp, all smelly and grubby, but he's back and it's nice to once again have a bedfellow. Sleeping with his T shirt just didn't cut it. It was a strange few days that he was away. I wasn't sad or miserable, like I used to be when I was younger and my boyfriends were away for various reasons. But there's something strange about coming home and not talking to anyone at all from the time you step in till the time you go to bed. I missed his presence in the house. And I thought to myself, that was what people who lived alone had to contend with- an empty house that echoes.
I never thought about relationships that way, I suppose. When I was young, I wanted a boyfriend because that meant someone liked you and my brothers had girlfriends so I wanted one of those as well. Then, when I was older, I realised the perils of relationships and understood that they weren't all pretty and being in a relationship could at times suck big time. Plus, there was always the added element of being hurt.
But what I've realised lately is that we all have different standards when it comes to relationships- whatever relationships they may be.
My parents-in-law are in a little bit of whirl because Dan's younger brother has finally moved out and I think it's hit them big time that their nestlings have all flown the coop. There seems to be an undercurrent of anxiety with them because fundamentally, I don't think you're ever ready for your kids leaving you and it takes a very secure set of parents to not think that your kids don't need you anymore. So, they're trying hard to disguise it by coming up with ideas of setting up French inspired businesses. On occasion, I've compared them to my parents and wondered why they are so anxious about whether their children will come home to have dinner with them. My mother never asks and seems to be utterly nonchalant when I show up on her doorstep asking her if there's food in the house for lunch. But then again, my mother's always been pretty much whatever about us and leaving it up to us and we've never disappointed her that way. My parents-in-law have yet to realise that, so they're still anxious and trying to keep that anxiety just under the surface with carefully placed, seemingly "by the way" questions.
But then again, they have each other and it's always nice to see couples who are married to one another for the longest time, still enjoying and wanting each other's company and teasing one another. My godparents are another pair who seem to share that sort of relationship where they make fun of one another and still actually hold hands when they go out. You know they have their off days and you know they may quibble and fight but you also know that at the bottom of it all, there's a deep affection and respect there that's been there from the beginning but also has deepened because of all the years together. They epitomise for me what it would be like to grow old together.
Perhaps, it's the little girl in me that still believes in "happily ever after"
even if it's not in a "far far away land"
but I believe in some of that. A colleague of mine, whenever she's unhappy about her husband or if they've had a fight, her first response is "divorce".
It's such a toss around word with her- a first resort rather than a last. But what the both of us do agree on is how we have every right to expect our spouses to treat us with respect.
Like I said to another friend some days back, all women have this general sense of blurness about us causing us to ask stupid questions at times or state the obvious.
And by my book, it should never invite a mean, "I can't believe you are that stupid
", roll your eyes in full, malicious disdain response. I do know of friends who tolerate that from my partners and I have been told to leave it be since it really is a "to each his/her own
" situation. But how do you stand by and let your friend's partner be so rude about him or her so blatantly and let said rude person get away with thinking that's the accepted way of treating your partner?
In the same vein, how do you stand by and watch a dear friend plunge into a relationship knowing that he will end up getting so badly hurt by it? How do you tell him that you don't trust his newly-acquired partner and having a relationship in such close quarters with a previous interest also working in the same environment, is a recipe for disaster?
At the end of it all, my conclusion is we all expect different things from relationships and we should really just let be. I can't control how other people behave in their relationships even though I harbour great fear or resentment on their behalf. We all have fantasies of how we would like our relationships to be. If I had a daughter, I would so love to be able to have what Rory and Lorelai have on Gilmore Girls
, even though Dan thinks it's a little too freaky. And with Dan, I would like to be able to grow old with him and still want to hold his hand and he mine.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:59
Sunday, July 11, 2004
The One Day Weekend
This has been a really short weekend. I finished work about 7 last night, had dinner and promptly fell asleep during Super Size Me
inviting jibes about how I hardly ever stay awake during movies. Heh. There's something about comfy cinema seats in the dark that lull me to sleep especially if there's a grain of tiredness in me and last night, I had an entire padi field of it sprouting out of my ears.
So, tomorrow, I go back to school and we start the week all over again, having hardly rested. We had lunch with the in laws, well, my in laws, Dan's parents. It was strange. Gilman village is nothing
like Holland village. It's a veritable ghost town with a rotting 10 ft dinosaur to put things into perspective. There, we had japanese pizza. No, it's not an adulterated Japanese dish calling itself a pizza- it really
was Japanese pizza, with the sweet mayo, the freaky move by themselves fish flakes and seaweed atop the cheese, chicken and shitake pizza. You couldn't quite call it fusion because it wasn't exactly pretentious, it was just, well, I guess where Pizza Hut got the idea of the "bak kua" (read: processed roast pork slices
)pizza or the "char siew" pizza ( I'm making this one up, but I'm sure I'm not far off from the truth).
Dan's off to field camp for most of next week. It was nice having him around this week when I fully expected him to not be around. I did say that him not being around would have made the week go better last week what with JCDC and the horrid horrid marking. But he was a sweetie the entire week and tried to make it as easy as possible for me to just concentrate on the marking. Thank goodness that is over and the next round, I'm marking essays, which are not much better but at least will have more variety than "money will not make you happy, love and relationships will"
. Right. Wait till they are in a relationship and need to pay bills then let's see how they handle that one.
I guess it's been hard for him too, having to travel 45 minutes across the island one way to get to camp, do menial tasks the whole day and then travel 50 minutes back to a grumpy wife or in the case of Friday, to his mother who's having a severe case of empty nest syndrome now that my brother-in-law and his wife have finished doing up their house and have decided it's time to spread their wings and move out. So, she was angsty too - my mother-in-law, not my sister-in-law and Dan felt it was his responsibility as the family's first born to return for dinner and show that we weren't so much as abandoning them as just building our own little nests.
Responsibility is such a big word and a big thing to uphold. It's the sucky thing about growing up. It really does go down hill from there, especially after you get married. Then you're not only responsible for yourself, you're responsible for your spouse and by extension his or her family and inadvertently, it strikes you that you've been responsible for your family as well. It gets tiresome at times, especially when you're tired and you want to spend the rest of the day just being alone. It gets extremely tiresome when you realise these responsibilities wear another hat at times and that hat goes by the name of obligation
, a higher levelled responsibility that you can't run away from.
So today's been a day of just that, well, the week's been actually, but I've only had time this evening to throw a hissy fit about it. The one on Friday didn't count- that was just sheer exhaustion to the point of delusion and hallucination.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:08
Thursday, July 08, 2004
This is the second night in the row that I'm up at an ungodly hour trying to finish marking my scripts. I told Dan I haven't worked so hard since my last uni exams and I haven't felt so tired either. The manky weather as opposed to the cold one makes it much worse though.
Sigh. At least I have Net Radio
in the quiet of the night to keep me company. That and Dan's sneezing.
Sleepy, sleepy sleepy.
Done with one class. Shall return to the happy confines of my comfortable bed now.
*gurgle in exhaustion*
Ondine tossed this thought in at 01:24
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
It's 5 in the morning and I'm listening to net radio and drinking ribena. I'm not suffering from severe insomnia or in dire need of Nytol (sleeping drug T recommended in Vancouver). I've just finished marking another class of very bad scripts. I was too tired last night to make any sense of the largely incoherent scripts and I couldn't just go back to school today without a class marked. I am going to pay for this through the day though.
I have a very strong urge to go shopping, even at 5.15 in the morning. This is not my usual "I need to shop" rant although some would say there really isn't very much of a difference. Well, the impetus is different.
The scripts that I'm marking are about how consumption and happiness are linked in today's society. My idealistic 17 year olds all insist that they do not want to be rich because when you are rich, you are lonely. Only when you are poor, like the street urchin on the streets of Jarkata are you really happy. They also insist that regardless of how many things you buy, you will never be happy, so you shouldn't buy anything at all. They all think love and fresh air is all they need. Monks take a vow of poverty and the reason why they do it is because it is a great sacrifice. Now, it wouldn't be a great sacrifice if it wasn't something all that important, would it?
Anyway, after marking about 400 of these idealistic, eat grass, breathe fresh air and live atop a mountain scripts, I really want to show them how happy I would be after hitting Mango
, Kate Spade
, Nine West
and maybe shop online at Sephora
. My colleague who is sharing the marking with me is tempted to buy a BMW and rock up to school and show the kids a thing or two about how you happy you really could be if you had money.
Although I agree it's less infuriating to mark these than to mark gender essays where the girls themselves dial the feminist movement back about 150 years, it's still an experience that would rival getting my wisdom teeth extracted all at one go while having a brazillian bikini wax and upper lip waxed together with an over zealous facial therapist attacking all your skin problems all at the same timeall at the same time.
Now, to catch a half an hour nap before I have to start the day and resist the urge to shop as I stare down the next lot of scripts.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 05:13
Monday, July 05, 2004
So, I'm sitting at Starbucks, happy with my passion tea and marking my sixth script of the morning when these two kids sit a table away from me. I'm fine with that until they start talking. And they're talking loud. They're talking about how the ministry of education doesn't really care about the number of people doing special-government scholarship-demanding papers and their school isn't going to stick up for them when the ministry frowns on them doing 3 of these papers.
That's when my eyebrows go up. A regular science geek would require two of those papers to qualify for the government scholarships. An arts nerd only needs one. And these kids are talking about a math, a physics and a chem paper. Can anything spell geek any louder?
Anyway, that's still fine. But then, they up the volume and start discussing wave lengths and lumda equations, at the top of their voices, all this in airconditioned and enclosed starbucks.
This is 10 minutes into my sixth script and I haven't the slightest clue what I'd been reading. And I look at and stare at them and past their physics ten year series out the windows and realise it's dark outside and threatening to pour. That's my cue to leave since I had windows wide open at home and suddenly, the incessant but non-descript, non-geek like drilling doesn't sound so bad.
So here I am, going to attempt my 7th script of the morning.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:20
Book In Blues
All the years of being an NS girlfriend never quite prepared me for being an NS wife. Sent Dan to camp this morning. We left about the same time we would if we had to go to school, which means on my holiday, I didn't get to sleep in.
Anyway, there's something very sad about watching grown men queue up obediently, under the orders on a youngling to give their document papers to some guy sitting under a green tent. It's not as strange when these guys are 18 year old boys who look scared shitless and need some hoo-ah kicked into them by those slightly older but empowered as the Men in Green with bars on their shoulders or thingys on the arms. But grown men, who may be professionals in their own field, kow-towing to the same young uns?
But be it 18 or 30, they all wear the same look. The look of that becries "damn it, I don't want to be here and I can't believe I have to do this"
. They all wear it, in varying intensities. Of course the wet behind the ears NS boys would look like they are about to drop everything and run weepingly toward the car driving off and the reserve units look like they want to punch the lights out of someone for making them pull out their dusty-haven't been worn for ages- fatigues and disinfect their mud laden-sweat sodden-another world growing in there- helmet.
Such is the life of a true Singapore man.
On the way to the camp, we were discussing the merits of being an officer. Dan could find none, I could find about 5, all linked to the cosmetic coolness of being an officer that he scoffed at. Cool uniform, sword, a double bar on the shoulders, having gone through OCS (Nothing makes a man like OCS does...haha..) and well, cool uniform. He listed laughed at by underlings and yelled at by superior officers, tough training at OCS and 10 more years of serving reservist as key reasons that it was a vocation to be avoided. Oh well. Little does he understand the attraction of a man in a dress uniform.
Off now to Starbucks to complete more marking. There has been drilling everyday since we've been back from Vancouver on the ground floor of the opposite block and it drives me insane, so off to quieter pastures.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:29
Sunday, July 04, 2004
We had fried chicken for dinner. Dan's last civilian meal for the next two weeks. And I am not a happy camper. Not because he's going to pretend to know how to serve the country for the next two weeks but because it was the most dissatisfactory fried chicken I've had in a long time.
The colonel got it wrong this time. Well, not him personally, the blind counter staff who packed the pressure cooked with 11 herbs and spices
into the box for us. I know some people only eat the breast of the chicken because it's healthier, but get real, it's KFC. Even if the chicken was on the Atkins' diet and made to run round the yard for an hour a day, its breast would still be fatty and oily! Anyway, the breast of the chicken was all we got! All 8 pieces of it were breast meat! Dry, stringy and yet, oily breast meat! Bleagh. The counter kid really should have asked if we preferred oil sodden breast meat to oil sodden other bits of the chicken because the answer would have been a 100% definative no
to the former and yes
to the latter.
I hate breast meat, especially KFC breast meat. Now I'm unsatisfied and I'll have to go to KFC again sometime in the near future to appease my very displeased tummy with some correct bits of oily meat of fowl.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 19:21
Friday, July 02, 2004
Red Pen Leaking
Someone uttered sotto voce to her friend on the train the other day while giving me a once over
......"Bet you she's a teacher"
Friend: "How you know?"
Sotto Voce girl: "Look at all the red ink marks all over her fingers"
After which, I hastily stuffed my hands into my pockets.
Yes, the marking season is upon me again and it's been a slow painful process interspersed with things that don't really matter but have to be done anyway. The Junior College Debates begin next week and I'm in the thick of things.
Note to self, wear flat comfy shoes that I can run in next Saturday.
In a way, it's good that Dan goes off to serve his reserve unit next week. I'll be in a grouchy mood for the whole week having 300 more mini essays to mark and another 500 single questions to get through by the end of the coming week and the debates take up the entire Saturday afternoon. So, I'll be snippy and whiny and at least Dan won't have to bear with that and I don't have to feel guilty about being that way.
On a brighter note, we've been watching a whole lot of Gilmore Girls
and Angel the series
. I'd forgotten how yummy Angel looked in his duster even though I do have a life sized cut out of him in my living room. I mean, Buffy is not complete without Angel.
Gilmore Girls makes me less fearful of having kids, but then again, it's in a town where you get to chase people down the streets for just because they didn't want to buy your strawberries. It glamourises small town living so much, you know the guy who owns the diner and he knows you and you do a thing for the neighbour's cat's funeral. Fun fun fun. Don't think I'd really be able to survive living in a small town but everything about that show makes me smile and go "awww"... plus the best line from the episodes I've watched fully encapsulates how I feel, especially at work when the phone rings incessantly.
Lorelai: Michel, the phone...
Michel: Um hm, it rings..
Lorelai: Can you answer it?
Michel: No, people are particularly stupid today and I can't talk to anymore of them
Yes, quite so.
Anyway, I've been trying to get this blog up for days, so I shall just post it and blog when things are less crazy and my brain's not filled with stupid information like " In order to prevent terrorist attacks, we must remember to take our vitamin supplements" Yup, and by that logic, maybe taking calcium and iron tablets would prevent the polar caps from melting.
Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:29
" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"