Wednesday, May 31, 2006


3 years ago, at about this time, the large wooden doors were held open and the bride glided in to a single voice singing Song for a Winters' Night by Sarah Mclachlan. The groom waited with an anxious but goofy smile at the alter. The congregation was hushed. It was the moment they had all been waiting for.

The ceremony was simple, meaningful and reverrent. The reading was 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 The congregation waited as the couple said their first prayer together as man and wife.


Then, they stood, they turned, they smiled and they walked out.

That was the end of the wedding.

That was also the beginning of their marriage.

It's 3 years on. They're a little wiser, a little less carefree, a little more joyful, a little less merry but a little more in love.

Tis true what they say about marriage.

Marriage has in it less beauty, but more of safety, than the single life; it hath not more ease, but less danger; it is more merry and more sad; it is fuller of sorrows and fuller of joys; it lies under more burdens, but is supported by all the strengths of love and charity; And those burdens are delightful.
- Jeremy Taylor

Happy 3rd year, my Love.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:30

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Challenge of another sort

Packrat posted sometime back his dream challenge which involved copious amounts of red meat.
Now, this is a challenge that's more up my alley. Equally formidable but nothing a whole lot of exercise couldn't cure. Plus I'm sure it's a whole lot more colour with pretty toppings and by the end of it, a sugar buzz of epic proportions.

courtesy of askgerard

Bring it on! *Roar* Who cares about the cough?
Who's keen?
More importantly, what flavours?

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:58

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What causes a headache

At first I thought it was the drugs that were causing me to read what I thought I was reading.

In Singapore, it is criminal to kill animals because they have rights. And if we kill them, we will have lesser food. (!) Moreover, stray animals are put to death to prevent them from spreading disease and germs. If this is disallowed, more people wlll get sick. In addition, humans will then have to pay for animals, for their labour employed, which is kind of ironic. Because, can animals receive payment? No. Furthermore, animals get to share the welfare human enjoy which leads to the wastage of resources on them.

Then I thought it was the drugs that were preventing me from understanding it. Then I realised, it was the drugs that were preventing me from having an aneurysm because this is a kid who is 4 months away from a major exam. Even if I tutored him every day from now till then, I'm not sure if I could explain to him what was wrong.

I don't even know where to begin correcting this. And this is now, when the drugs are wearing off. But in the place of the haze, the mother of all headaches that threatens to grow even more when I try to take apart this argument. I think I'll just put a very big "HUH?" at the end of the paragraph.

How to not throw a fit?
Need more drugs.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:47

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For a good time dial 1900...

I needed to make dinner reservations for tomorrow night. I didn't imagine it to be a difficult thing to do. But I was discounting the fact that I had a blocked nose and an extremely husky voice. So it was a trying affair.

Me: Hi, Could dye make reservations for tomorrow nigdt please?
Operator: Sure. What time.
Me: Seven-dirty.
Operator: Sorry?
Me: Seven -dirty, never mind. Halfed past seven.
Operator: Oh, seven thirty. Can I have a name please?
Me: Tan- D. A. N.
Operator: Mr Dan?
Me: No, Tan. D for Dango.
Operator: Oh, ok. Sorry, not clear lah. What's your phone number?
Me: Dine. Seben. Siss....
Operator (interjecting): Sorry, could you say that again?
Me: Neber mind....
Operator (eternally patient): You say slowly.

It took 5 minutes for her to get my reservation and my details correct. At that point, I figured, want to be 1900 phone sex operator also cannot. The poor sod would have no idea what I'm talking about so my low husky voice wouldn't be of much help. And he'd be paying for nothing but himself going "har??? what???" Perhaps a good way to turn people off having phone sex. Hahaha...

Ondine tossed this thought in at 17:08

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One side effect of the drugs- weird dreams. Totally weird. And this is coming from someone who generally has weird dreams. In the last 3 days, I have dreamt enough weird stuff to make a sci-fi movie.

Dream 1-
Let's see, there was a monster that was skyscrapper tall with one of those sucker mouths with its long neck flailing around and it was some sort of commander of troops. His troops were, strangely enough, a whole pack of huskies that were all lined up in some formation on a slope, ready to attack. Attack what? I don't know. Me, when I saw them, I was like "Ooooh! Puppies!". Ai yo, even in my dreams, can be ditz. Of course, the next second, I realised the great danger I was in, about to be mauled to death by cute, furry huskies baring their teeth, I ran. And at that point, I realised I was on the same slope and it was like a 20 m drop to some beach.

Ok, do not try this at home or faced with such a scenario because this is a dream and in dreams you can do super things.- I ran down the cliff, all 20 m of it. It felt like I was running down the rock wall in school except I had loose pebbles and stones falling all over me.

Next dream-
The fruit stall owner in my College apparently owned a huge house and for some reason, I was invited there. And there were strange fruit and plants. I think there was one that ate people as well. I don't know why, all I do is buy apples, guavas and the occasional papaya from him. It's not like I buy tau huay and all sorts of combination juices from him. A colleague of mine, without fail, would order a carrot, celery, honeydew melon drink everyday. Just thinking about it makes my stomach curl.

Dream 3-
I was looking for a swimming pool. That in itself is puzzling. I am a member of two clubs which between them have something like 4 swimming pools and I don't go anywhere near them. Anyway, I was looking for somewhere to go swimming and none of the pools I found had water in them. Perhaps all the huskies drank it all up.

Dream 4-
So I'm in a refugee camp, and I'm walking and walking. How do I know it's a refugee camp, there are tents and tents and tents, sort of like East Coast Park on the weekend or the holiday. I keep looking into the tents, looking for people that I know, but I don't find any. So, I just go on. And then I got tired and a McDonalds materialises. Then I think! Yay! I can get an iced tea. Then I realise that I'm in a refugee camp and I am a refugee and I have no money so I cannot buy iced tea. Then I kick a stone in frustration and I wake up. Because I kicked my life-saver, the tissue box off the bed.

Well, all ye Freuds out there, much fodder here to pyschoanalyse. Just please don't say I have issues with my father. That one, I already knew.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:36

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Sick Days

I'm generally an active person, meaning that I could never sit still. I get bored easily and I have an attention span the length of a gnat's. So, when I voluntarily stay at home the whole day without even venturing out of my room, that's really something.

That's me today. The Full Body Breakdown was complete. Walking to the doctor's across the road took half an hour because air on skin hurt. Big time. Every step I took, it felt like I walked into a wall of pins. There wasn't much point whining because Packrat's serving the nation for the next two weeks so there really isn't anyone to whine to.

I know some people who hate medication and I loathe what antibiotics do to me but today, I was really grateful for the stuff that cleared up my nose, stopped my throat from itching and removed the pain from my hips, my back, my ribs, my fingers and my toes. But still, I couldn't sleep. Like last night and the night before, sleep was haunted by strange dreams- perhaps that's a side effect of all the drugs that I was given.

Whatever it is, it sucks to be this sick and on some level, I'm pissed off that I've subconsciously put off being sick for so long that this feels like a ton of bricks just dropped on me. I need a job and possibly a personality makeover that will allow me to be sick as and when I want. Then, when I do get sick, I won't be so totally floored and flat out like now.

Damn the Confucian/Protestant work ethic that's got me still working despite everything! Ah, to take more Panadols now, the aches have returned- a true sign that the meds are wearing off and I like being totally and utterly sedated.

It takes me to my Happy Bubble place.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:22

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Crying bloody murder

The downside to upgrading in my neighbourhood is that we now have an open air amphitheatre about 500m from my block. It's used for many things. Kids displaced at the local Youth Park use it to hone their skateboarding skills- if I were an adolescent girl, I would so hang out there because of all the cute Caucasian or Eurasian kids that skateboard there.

It's also used to throw block parties or neighbourhood parties. The most recent one, a party to celebrate the electoral victory- which personally, I thought was a load of shameless, self-serving, patting yourself on the back crap. With the huge party came a huge banner that congratulated the GRC for having been returned to power in a large victory. Can anyone say W-A-L-K-O-V-E-R? When there's a walkover, there is no election and when there is no election, there is no victory. If p not q, If not q not s. Therefore, if p not s.

Tonight, it was an open air karaoke session and since sound travels upwards, I hear it, loud and clear on the tenth floor. At times, it sounded like bad wayang singing, other times it sounded like a dog being skinned and I was sure that for a while, there were native Americans doing the war cry in Chinese.

All not good for a head that's cotton wooly from the flu and they're too far for me to throw eggs at.

Times like that, I miss staying in a house.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 20:34

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The Singa Lion

My colleague was clearing out his desk and testament to how long he hadn't done it, he found this.


Post it pads with the Courtesy Lion on it. Goodness, it really threw us back to the 80's where we had the courtesy campaign and they would give out the orange lion on a pin for you to proudly pin onto your uniform to show that you were incredibly courteous. It's rather telling that a nation had to run a courtesy campaign to teach "please" "thank you" and a smile to its people.

Anyway, I remember being selected as the Most Courteous Girl in school once and I laughed all the way up stage to get my badge and all the way down stage back to my friends who were in all stitches. I think I said thank you after the badge was pinned onto my uniform. Unlike my collegaue, my housekeeping skills were efficient enough to guarantee that fifteen years later, there was no trace of that Courtesy Lion anywhere in my possession.

Another thing that was a throwback to the 80's were these sweets, that juxtaposed against the sticky pad made me feel all of Primary 3 again.

Courtesy lion

If you haven't had those sweets before, they're basically plum powdered sweets that melt in your mouth and can be totally addictive. I remember it was like $0.10 for one or something like that. Anyway, I found them in 7-Eleven in a pack of five. I don't know what I'm going to do with them because the novelty lasted about half a tube, which meant I still have 4 1/2 tubes of these sweets left. The rumour was that they were taken off the shelves because it had mercury in it. Seems like a lot of things that can from China had mercury or lead in it.

Ah, the things of childhood. So with a plum tablet in our mouths, KW and I spent the rest of the afternoon singing the only two lines we could remember of the jingle.

Courtesy is for free.
Courtesy is for you and me....

In the most sickly sweet of voices. Drove everyone insane.

PS. Olie, I brought home one pad for you!

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 17:44

3 thoughts...

Haha Crabs

We don't really have pets in our house. Unlike Tym who has been somewhat domesticated by Ink the Cat, we're still resisting.


We had Molly the dog for a bit but we felt extremely guilty when we were out late and she was stuck living in our bathroom. To show her displeasure, she'd chewed through the toilet and shower hose. We still have some of her stuff lying around, but I don't think it would be fair to her if we took her back, especially now that she's a mommy dog.

So imagine our trepidation when we were asked to babysit some hermit crabs for 2 weeks. I was promised that they would be hardy little creatures that can live up to 15 years and all they needed was some food and water everyday. They live in a little tank and they're vegetarian and they're called Haha crabs and they even have their own website. I had no idea how effective using cartoon crabs were as a ploy to get people attracted, until I looked at the website and decided they were the cutest things in the world.

Of course, it helps that they come in their very own tank with extra shells to play with and a fake oasis and plastic coconut tree.


And they're quite acrobatic as well. If you look very carefully, there's one perched on top of the plastic coconut tree.


Not the clearest of pictures and even more proof that I need a mega pixel camera, but you get the idea.

They scurry around a lot but they hide when you come close, kind of like snails. Apparently, they also need a bath now and again, but I think I'll save that for the real owners. My responsibility ends at changing their water and food everyday.

Nah, no pets for us even though we have a cat door into our bedroom.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 17:18

1 thoughts...

Full Body Breakdown

When I was in Honours year, I worked hard for the entire year with no break. There was fine print in my offer letter that I did not read and only realised some way into the year that I was not going to have any holidays whatsoever. No Swot Vac, no winter break, no nothing. So I ploughed through two dissertations, writing 25000 in 6 months. And to top it all off, they tortured us with, after submitting our thesis, a VIVA- an oral presentation of our findings and a session where it gets ripped to shreds by university academia and you have to stand your ground and defend it. That was the last thing we had to do before we were conferred our class of honours. And by that time, I think I had worked 9 months straight without coming up for air. Two days before that, I ate some strawberries, that afternoon, my throat felt like there were shards of glass . The next day, I was panicking because when I woke up I didn't have any voice. The doctor said I had laryngitis and I had to shut up for a week. Major panic, the VIVA was the next day.

I did the VIVA anyway, with an opening apology that they had to keep very quiet to hear me. My supervisor and my lab mates all put it down to it being stressed induced. I croaked it off, pulled off the VIVA and went home to pass out for a week.

Fast forward.

3 years ago, about this time, we were running around madly, trying to organise our wedding. Round and round we went, contending with the usual stresses of planning a wedding and contending with the huge SARS outbreak that had hit Singapore. All was fine, till we landed in Australia for our honeymoon and again, POW! No voice- same thing.

Freeze frame, yesterday. The first day of the holidays.

By lunch time, my throat felt weird. By dinner time, my entire right nasal passage was blocked and by midnight, I was ready to pass out. Repeat the thing about the shards of glass, add in a dose of skin that is tender to the touch with a dash of burning eyelids and that's where I am now.

The finding?
I have an over-responsible body. It won't break down when there are things to be done, when things get paralysed or need to be shelved if it breaks down. So, it powers itself through, overdosing on adrenaline and sheer willpower. Tolerating the long days that begin as they have for the last month at 3 in the morning and only ending at 11 the following night.

But the minute there is respite, the minute the brain is stupid enough to stop blocking the signal and lets slip that it's holiday time, all the barriers go up. Everything that was dammed up, is set free and all the defences take a holiday. That's when any little thing makes me ill. I'm reminded of Osmosis Jones and the havoc that is wreaked in the body just because of one little germ.

And I'll have to suffer through this. It's payback time and my body's not going to let it go until I've paid back in full. I just hope it doesn't take too long. A girl's gotta go places.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 12:17

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Sleep typing

When I'm grading papers and I doze off involuntarily, I either scrawl on the page that I was looking at or write ridiculous things that don't make sense. I'm tempted to try and allow my subconscience to write. It then sounds like a stream of consciousness type of thing where all the semantic, lexical, logical filters, dams and gantries in my head are lifted, allowing all the rubbish to flow through.

Being sleep deprived is not an enjoyable state to be in. I've been up for about 20 hours and need to crawl into bed soon but it is the semester break and I would be quite a loser if I just went to bed now. But so is a stream of consciousness post.

It wll be words randomly put together, making sentences that make no sense like the green ideas that dream in a colourless world about teddy bears and level heads and portfolios. No doubt the hair is looking good but the chickens come home to roost with the mountains singing over the hills. Where jelly babies bounce around and cheesecakes are grown on trees dripping with rainbow trout and fairy lights. The mobile phone beeps and it wakes the rake that is left on the ground for all to step on with great loud sounds. The Lana cake was wonderful but the purple ribbon was missing. Class funds are bad to collect and papers to be printed one after a thousand. Dogs that scramble past can always visit for sure, water leaking and dripping all over your clothes with Nike and Reebok cleaning up the ocean.

Go figure.
Bed time.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:27

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I remember this one episode of Gilmore girls where Rory's spazzy room mate introduces her boyfriend who lost a bet and had to speak in cliches the whole day. That's quite difficult, although I did find a website that purportedly has 3300 cliches on it. Overused that they are, sometimes, they ring very true.

When they said "it doesn't rain, it pours", they weren't kidding.

It really does.

In the last weeks, I've had to deal with an amazing array of issues. Some were work related, some were health related, some were family related and some were future related. All required my attention at the same time. And sometimes there really was the feeling that I had horses tied to each one of my limbs and they were all threatening to run off in different directions.

Multi tasking works most of the time- for spurts, it's fine. Not for these long drawn issues that don't really have easy solutions. So, sometimes I deal by crying, sometimes I deal by being super-efficient, sometimes I deal by wanting to throw things against the wall, sometimes I deal by just shopping. Sometimes, I just don't deal at all.

The advice I've been getting range from being useful to utterly useless. Especially things like "don't worry", "things will sort themselves out", "don't think about it". Ok, you try that. I think the best piece of advice I got recently, as cliched as it sounds, is "one thing, one step at a time". And while my automatic hackles started to rise at the sheer platitude-ness of the statement, it occurred to me that it made sense.

I did have to deal with things one thing at a time. And I had to prioritise them. First thing that needs to be taken off the list has to be all the grading I have to do. And then, some of the most pressing issues, it's beyond my human ability to solve them so they get pushed onto the backburner as well and hopefully, things will sort themselves out.

For now,
1. Get grading done.
2. Take a break because I think I'm one step away from losing all my marbles.
3. Once one and two get done, then I'll figure out how the rest of the list should pan out. And the rest of the list indeed is extremely long.

Yes, indeed, one thing at a time.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:50

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Thursday, May 25, 2006


So now I know how to get through movies- go in thinking it'll be absolutely crap and have no hope for it whatsoever.

That's how I survived X Men III yesterday. After an entire after at a seminar full of droning, I arrived at the cinema utterly convinced that I was in for an extended evening of cinematic torture. After all, the previous blockbusters that I had seen had all primed me in such a way. But I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't a brilliant, award winning, sweep you off your feet movie. It was an action flick and they took the word action seriously, with the numerous blowing up of things scenes choreographed for the greatest impact. Unlike Packrat, I had never read the comics so I had to constantly ask what was the deal with this guy? But all in all, very decent. Except for the fact that there were rows and rows of kids and families behind us who must have brought in their week's entire grocery shopping judging by the sound of the rustling plastic bags. There were also people that were chatting through out the entire movie. Hey, at least when I didn't know why Professor X was in a wheelchair, I whispered it into Packrat's ear.

So there's been partial redemption. I'm not totally convinced that our relationship is past its rockiest phase, but I think it's rounded the mountain. We're supposed to watch Over the Hedge next, but like I said before, it's a cartoon so it doesn't really count.

What did really inspire me yesterday was the idea of the Arts School in Singapore. I don't know if I'm totally keen about teaching, but there sure is quite a desire to actually be somehow involved in it. I think I melted into an envious puddle when the Principal spoke about having established ties with the VCA and the Royal Ballet School. Perhaps, that is my dream job, well, for now anyway. What I would give to be near dance, to be near ballet, to live it and breathe it. Just looking at the RBS website made me miss those painful, nail splitting pointe shoes. The mere discussion yesterday of dance and the oft taken for granted, seemingly natural positions and mannerisms sent me into a tizzy.

And now, reality sinks in while I struggle to grade more papers and shove aside all fantasies of tutus, carriage, pointe shoes and music that can be counted in 8s.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 04:37

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006


The end of the grading of papers is no where in sight. For the first time this week, I managed to drag myself out of bed at 4 am to work. I haven't been able to do that for most of the week and I suspect it's an indication of how "on strike" my system is.

And I didn't really wake up because I had to mark. I woke up because I was hungry and I haven't stopped being hungry.

At 4 am- I ate a banana
At 5.30 am- I had a cup of Australian Milo (Not Australian recipe Milo or Malaysian Milo, the real thing)
At 6.30 am- Another half a banana.
At 9am- Wholemeal raisin buns.
At 10am- Cookies.
At 11 am- a walnut muffin.

And lunch is in an hour.

Food for Champions!

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:03

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School's Out

While teaching my last class for the semester, I decided to entertain myself and created this- a How well do you know me quiz? I did one a few years ago and my brothers were extremely peeved that they didn't know me as well as some other friends did. Let's see if this repeats itself.

Technically, there's still tomorrow and the day after, but there're no classes to teach so everyone's happy. The relief teachers are jumping for joy because they never ever have to mark another script in their lives again.

How nice for them.

For us, at least we get a reprieve.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:34

1 thoughts...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Locked out

There's a lot to be said about living near parents. They come unannounced, you get unsolicited invitations to dinner or lunch that you sometimes cannot reject. And I'm told, when the kids come, they want a piece of the action too.

That said, it's also not bad a thing to live near the parents. When you need to use the fax machine, you can just pop over. You can borrow their maid to do the ironing and the cleaning of the house, which is a very very big help. And you can call them in case of emergency.

Like yesterday.

The front gate was open because we had let Tym in. So when we left the house, we just walked out and locked the gate behind us.


With the house keys, in the house.

So who do we call?

Packrat's mother, who gamely drives over and gives us the keys to let ourselves in.

Moral of the story, well, morals actually.

1. Don't lock yourself out. Always make sure you have the keys before you lock the gate.
2. Living near parents aren't necessarily all that bad.

Of course, I stand by that until the next time I come home to see one of the parents lounging on my couch.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:26

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Keeping the Faith

Tym's blogged about it, the Council of Churches has spoken up against it, almost everyone's read it and we watched it. Today.

And I hated it. It was an absolute waste of two and a half hours of my life. Worse than Titanic in my opinion. And seriously, the Church really didn't have anything to worry about. They feared that people would start believing that Jesus was indeed human instead of divine and that Jesus actually started a family with Mary Magdalene. But really, the movie was created in such an unconvincing manner that only the daftest and most naive would believe it to be true. I know God intended for ALL to be saved, but if there are those so daft as to believe that load of crock, then they really should be smacked on the back of their heads. The character that damns the religion the most in the book is not the Mona Lisa or Mary Magdalene but Paul Bettany's very excellent and scary portrayal of the albino monk, who believes that by murdering, he is carrying out God's work.

That, in itself, is more damning than the conspiracy story in the plot. A monk, a man of God, who is so dogmatically obedient that he would do anything to be seen as a faithful servant and that includes killing mercilessly to protect his faith and beliefs. This rings some true tones for reality now.

Anyway, I didn't think much of the book, although I suspect it had a lot to do with reading it in the backseat while going round the Pacific NorthWest 2 years ago. And now, I don't think much of the movie.

The problem is, now I'm terribly disilluioned. So far, the last 3 summer blockbusters that I've watched have been awful. There was MI:3, an action packed movie that I fell asleep in. It wasn't impossible, it was just long. And it really felt like an extended episode of Alias where Tom Cruise was playing Jennifer Garner playing Sidney Bristow. Extremely painful to sit through.

After that, there was Poseidon, equally bad. Long. And on top of that, wet. Lots of water all round to make my toes curl up to try to avoid the rising water. Plus, once you've seen one huge ass ship sink, you've seen 'em all sink.

And then now, this. I had thought that Da Vinci Code would have been much better since there were some stellar actors in the line up. According to Packrat, who didn't read the book, it was a passable thriller with twists and turns. For me, it really was just blah.

All three, struck out. Far far out.

There's X III on Wednesday but I don't put much hope in that one being able to get on my good side. I didn't enjoy the first two and I'm unlikely to be enthralled by this one. There's Superman. Something I'll probably watch as part of my wifely duties. The only two movies that will probably appease me in my disillioned state would be Cars and Over the Hedge. But then again, they're only cartoons and I'll probably need something more substantial after that to munch on.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:58

2 thoughts...

Next Stop Wonderland

Yesterday, we were talking to someone who was about to embark on a whole glorious month of home leave to the US. He also told us that he was organising a trip to Minneapolis. My question was what was there in Minneapolis apart from snow?

Well, apparently, there is a Mall. Not just any mall, but the Mall of America. It has Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Macy's and Sears, all under one roof. And that's just the departmental stores, not including the individual shops. There's also a huge 30 ride amusement park in the mall itself.

My eyes lit up like the 50 stars on the American flag on hearing this. The bubble in my head just kept growing. Shopping, shops, shoes, bags, clothes, Gap, Kate Spade, books, DVDs, make up, food, more clothes, more shoes! Packrat is just thrilled that there's an amusement park and a cinema.

So, that's where I want my next holiday to be. Unfortunately, there really isn't anything else in that area. And we really want to do the coasts. Well, we'll see how cheap budget flights get round the US.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:44

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Pretty In Pink

Pink is one of my favourite colours right now. I have many pink tops, I have a pair of pink slippers, I have some pink bags and I have many different types of pink make up (of course, make up more often than not comes in shades of pink, orange and browns- it would be weird to see blue blusher!).

I draw the line at pink cars and pink hair.

Yesterday, I overdosed on pink. My 5 year old niece had her birthday party and it was a Princess Party. Dress code: Tiara and pink party dress. I wore a pink t shirt sans tiara sans frills.

When we walked into the house, we were visually assaulted by 12 girls running around in pink in a sea of white tulle and pink balloons. My mother, with one stiff shoulder, could still decorate the house to look like a giant pink marshmallow. Balloons in all the different shades of pink, red and white.

That wasn't all. The food, was pink too. Pink giant Pocky sticks, strawberries, candy, all pink. Swirly swirly all the pink flurry. They played games like Pin the tiara which was an improvised version of Pin the Donkey. Then while waiting for the pink Barbie cake to thaw (ice cream cakes are a pain to slice), the little princesses decided to rough it out and play a game of air hockey. Most bizarre.

Pink 2 Pink

If you look very closely at the photographs, you will notice that the bowls and cutlery were pink too.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the most masculine of parties and the men felt left out. My brother and some of the dads were talking about this game called Top Trumps they played when they were young. I tried to google it but I couldn't find the fighter jet version that they were talking about. It's been upgraded though- Air Force One is part of the pack now. My other brother started reading car magazines and Packrat was going on about how he felt like he was in a giant marshmallow. My nephew, stoutly refused to be dressed in pink, was the Jedi amongst all the princesses. Unfortunately, the novelty of that wore off very quickly and he soon retreated cloak and all, into his bedroom to play solitaire on my brother's PDA/phone.
Bored jedi

When asked whether they were too many girls out there for him, he nodded bashfully and hid behind the cupboard door. Fancy that, a Jedi, afraid of girls in pink. He did however, allow us to take some awesome shots of his Vadar mask.

Bruce vader

Quite ominous if George Lucas had seen this before he wrote Episode Three. Young Jedi driven to the dark side to hide from screaming girls brandishing Barbie dolls and using his light saber to savagely attack the unicorn pinata.

His revenge, which I did not get a picture of, was to impale the said unicorn with his light saber and brandish it in at the pseudo-traumatised, sugar buzzed girls, who ran away screaming at the morbid sight of the dead paper unicorn. He also hatched the evil plan of causing the birthday girl to bawl because he starting stabbing at the balloons and popping them all. With every scream of hers, he popped even more balloons with macabre delight!

Ah, big brothers, the power they have over their little sisters, especially when one is a Jedi and the other a Princess, despite the fact that she had a pink felt throne. His force was the stronger of the two.

Whatever it is, I'm all pinked out. I told Packrat, our children will have their birthday parties at McDonalds. Because once you have a Princess party or a Star Wars party, there's no turning back and it's difficult to up every subsequent year.

On another note, no pinatas either. Hey, if you want to figure out the root of animal abuse, it's right there. First you hit the pinata senseless with a stick and then when it doesn't break apart, you pull and tug at it till it spills its insides out. Sweets and chocolates regardless, it's still cruel.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 18:22

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Teach Less, Learn More

I keep having to go for these meetings where we try and discuss strategies to Teach Less, Learn More- an initative borne from an off the cuff statement the newly sworn in Prime Minister of Singapore made with regards to education in 2004. That's the problem with how things work in this part of the world- when someone important and high up and power-that-may-be enough, all the little minions and lackeys jump and scurry around, trying to do what they think they are supposed to do.

There've been many attempts at institutionalising TLLM, but we're always held hostage by the reality of exams. I know for a fact I could run more interesting lessons if I didn't need to teach them how to go get that distinction on the exam that is looming in the distance. So perhaps, a logical assumption would be that the younger the child is, the easier it might be to teach less while the child learns more.

But that, I suspect does not happen, even at a young age. If anything else, many people are of the idea that young children should be drilled and taught as much as possible because their minds are like sponges. Yes they are, so, it would be a great time to teach them how to think, thereby acquiring knowledge using those thinking skills we are so fond of imparting. The problem with that mode of learning is that there is no guarantee that the child will learn what the child is supposed to learn.

And that is the greatest fear here. I occasionally get emails asking me if I would like to tutor students. The two that stuck in my head were these.

1. Subject(s): K1 (eng + maths) or K1 (chinese)
***parent does not want the teacher to teach both languages at the same time, thus please indicate which subject(s) you are able to teach***

Weekly Frequency: once or twice a week
Days available: Mon - Thurs
Time available: Night

A five year old, subjected to tuition twice a week, once for English and Math and another time for Chinese. At night. I don't know about you, but I slept quite early when I was five. How is the poor child supposed to learn anything when he's tired, it's late and all he wants to do is play?

And even worse,

Tutor NEEDED to teach Art to a little boy (this was indeed the real title of the email)
Subject(s): Art for a 5.5 years old boy

Weekly Frequency: 3 times a week, 1.5 - 2 hours per session
Days available: not stated
Tutor Requirement: Someone with qualifications in Art, or a NAFA Arts Students/Graduate

Why would a 5 1/2 year old boy need art tuition 3 times a week from a graduate art teacher? Aren't 5 1/2 year olds quite happy to scrawl on paper and finger paint? Are the parents preparing their little Van Gogh for the Arts School? And if they're doing it this way, they should really be prepared for little Vincent to chop off his ear.

It really bugs me, the intense amount of pressure parents put on their kids to learn. And not experiential learning, but the connect-the-dots type of learning that does nothing to breed creativity or all those other wonderful things we desire for our children.

I would like to teach my child how to play "one-leg", hop scotch, trade stickers and stamps. I would like my child to be able to tell me that a leaf can be drawn in various shades of green, yellow and orange because he had noticed their different colours with the different seasons. I would like my child to be out in the open, running, cycling, playing catching. I would like my child to be like reading and create great imaginary worlds from books. And none of these things can be tutored. Maybe home schooled by Packrat and I, but definitely not taught in a structured, twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour a time type of way.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:10

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The reason I hadn't washed my clothes or my hair was because it seemed so silly.
I saw the days of the year stretching cahead like a series of bright, white boxes, and separating one box from another was sleep, like a black shade. only for me, the long perspective of shades that set off one boc from the next had suddenly snapped up, and I could see day after day after day glaring ahead of me, like a white, broad, infinitely desolate avenue.
It seemed silly to wash one day when i would only have to wash again the next.
It made me tired just to think of it.
I wanted to do everything once and for all and be through with it.

- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

My first year psychology text book defines six different types of depression that people can suffer from.
1. Exogenous Depression
2. Endogenous Depression
3. Primary Depression
4. Secondary Depression
5. Involutional Depression
6. Post Partum Depression

We all suffer from one form of depression or other at some point in our lives. When you discover that your boyfriend or husband's been cheating on you and you cry uncontrollably in bed and refuse to get out of bed, you're depressed.

But all this isn't clinical depression. Clinical depression is when it is chronic, when it is acute and when it needs to be treated by more than a tub of ice cream and a day at the spa.

It's common now. Some kids get diagnosed with it and skip school for two weeks because it's exogenous depression and they can't bring themselves to come to school for the fear of failing. Adults get it for a variety of reasons. But the question is, do they all justify treatment and medication? What's happened to the plain ol' traditional way of "dealing" with it?

Is it a symptom of society that people are left so helpless that they have no way of coping with what comes their way? And the thing is these people who are unable to cope and seek medical assistance are able to make it known to the world and there is a legitimate reason for sympathy. But what about those who struggle and claw and fight their way out of their problems, emerging battle-scarred and war wary? The ones that don't make their battles obvious. They don't get any sympathy. More often than not, it isn't even noticed that their life is shit, just because they are able to cope and are able to function.

I have absolutely no doubt that those who seek help for their problems feel like their worlds around them are collapsing and it's a last ditch effort to save themselves and it is good that they do seek help when they've run out of the resources to do it by themselves. But I cannot help but feel for those who don't seek help because maybe, they just don't have the luxury to do that. Maybe it never occurred to them that it was a viable solution.

I'm glad for the mental health physicians. I think we need them. I contemplated training to become one in my fourth year. But as a human being, who has gone through her share of things being hurled her way, I wonder, has the human race in the developed world just turned to mush, as helpless as a babe in swaddling clothes?

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 09:59

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Filial Piety

There's so much going on in my world now that I've become a bad daughter. My mother had surgery yesterday. Not a serious one, to remove a spur from her shoulder, but it was still serious enough to warrnat general anaethesia. I knew she was going in for surgery but it totally slipped my mind until I got a message from my brother saying that Mom was ok but was throwing up. Thought bubble in my mind was "why is Mom throwing up?" Then the thought bubble was replaced by a lightbulb. And then there was the "Oh Shit! I forgot!" feeling.

To atone for my sins, I went this morning. My classes start late today so I snuck in a 7.30 visit to Mom. She wasn't doing so good because she doesn't do well on morphine. So I just sat and chatted with her. The moment I walked into the room, I was overwhelmed by the feeling of my mother looking very small in the hospital bed. Hmmm, I must have grown very big to feel my mother tiny. I never thought about her that way before. Perhaps it's because I usually see her vertical and being vertical often adds height! It's difficult to see one's mother vulnerable and it dawned on me that I'm going to be seeing this more and more with my parents as they get older, weaker and afflicted with some health problem or another. Yet another issue that I have weighing down on my not very broad shoulders.

It's strange when it all builds up. You don't feel it when you are faced with the immediacy of the situation but when you sit back and have a think about it and it hits you, like a brick wall. All the issues that require your attention, in some form or the other, whether it's work or family or friends, whether it's physical, mental, emotional or psychological. It's all there, thinly veiled by the need to function and to go about one's daily routine.

I haven't broken down into a salty puddle of tears yet and I think i'm just tired. It's the end of term so I'm mentally exhausted from the teaching and countless papers I have graded or have to grade and I keep having to add more storeys to my house of cards.

So, I'm in need of a strong drink, or many drinks depending on how much alcohol it contains. It would be extremely interesting to be hung over at a College event Saturday morning. Perhaps some goth makeup to go with my dark eye rings. Hahah, that's one way to get the Guest of Honour to remember me.

Anyway, a moment of brevity this morning at the hospital was when I realised how much my mother's orthopedic surgeon looked remarkbly like my own brother. Perhaps all orthos are cut by the same cookie cutter. And when he addressed me personally and asked me if I was a doctor too since I was asking him questions that, unbeknownst to him were fed to me by my doctor brother.

For the briefest of moments, I wondered why I didn't become a doctor. I did think about it when I was younger. At one juncture, I had to decide- Humanities or medicine? Since my brother was just about to embark on his med school career, I figured he would be the one to wear the whitecoat. I turned coat on all my previous aspirations and went onto fall in love with history. My science teachers at school, were all very displeased with me.

So, here I am now. Not teaching humanities, not a doctor, not doing very much of anything actually. Just juggling. And I'm getting pretty good and keeping the balls in the air, despite my lack of hand eye coordination.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:15

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

5 senses

Looks like Chicken.
Smells like Chicken.
Feels like Chicken.
Ok, can't sound like chicken cos it's dead.
Tastes like fish.

What the heck is going on in my sandwich? I know I put chicken in. Why does it taste like tuna?

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:17

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What dreams may come

Sometimes the mind has strange things of telling what it wants. My mind sent me a Santa Claus list last night, through my dreams.

I dreamt I lived in a house, my bedroom had slidable doors, it had great big windows and I had pale yellow sheets on the bed. There was a clothes rack where I had hung out the laundry and when I picked up a pair of running shorts, the edges were all shredded. I had a pair of jeans as well and the cuffs were all shredded. In the kitchen, I tripped over a bag on the floor. It hurt my foot and it was cold. It turned out, I was defrosting steaks on the kitchen floor.

So, what does my mind desire?

It desires a big house with a beautifully bright and airy bedroom with wooden sliding doors. It desires cats that will shred my clothes to bits and while I cannot go running in shredded shorts, I think the jeans can be fashionably in. I also have a hankering for red meat.

But in reality, I can't afford the first, my husband is allergic to the second, but I think the third can be done. Steaks for dinner!

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 09:37

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Monday, May 15, 2006

What gall.

On Thursday last week, just as I was about to leave College for the long weekend, I get a phone call on my office line. Nothing good has ever come out of answering that phone. I've never won anything, been offered anything or been the 9th caller through to the local radio station. And true to form, the phonecall was an ex student telling me, not asking me, that I had to write her a letter of recommendation.

In my mind, I wonder, didn't I spend many weeks of my life at the end of last term writing testimonials that can be easily passed off as reference, recommendation letters? Apparently, that wasn't enough. But I tell her, I don't have her testimonial. She had it and it was the long weekend and I was about to leave school. Gamely, she offers to type the entire thing out and email it to me. Fine. I'll look at it when I have time. Then the girl stipulates that it has got to be ready by Monday. Crap shit. It was Thursday evening, it was the long weekend and she wanted me to get it printed, aligned (her words, not mine), stamped and given to her first thing Monday morning.

Over the weekend, when I did look at it, I realised I couldn't write the reference for her because it was for a Chinese scholarship and I had to write on her ability and attitude toward the language- something I knew absolutely jack shit about. When I told her this, she told me that I had to write it and her Chinese teacher to write it too. And only at that point, she tells me that she needs two letters and not one.

What? In itself, printing two copies isn't very much more hassle than printing just one. But it was the tone and the expectation and the undisguised surprise that I couldn't get it done immediately that really got my heckles up. Do students really think we sit around and twiddle our thumbs the whole day? That we can wait on their needs every second of the day? It seems like it. Such expectations, so misplaced.

I'm not sure if I should have lost it with the girl, but I did. I'm glad she got a scholarship, I'm more than happy to help her get her scholarship, but shouldn't it be my choice to help? Based on some wildly inaccurate and inappropriate methods of shortlisting instead of her insistence and her shoving it into my face with hardly more than a platitudinal pleasantry.

What I really want to know is if these are the same kids that grow up to do this.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 09:45

4 thoughts...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What a loser!

For the last two weeks, I've been getting up early to work. I've had too many papers to grade and too little time during the day to do it. So I sneak in unimaginable hours at 3 in the morning. It's been very exhausting and in the last week, my body was showing the physical signs of protest. There was the diarrhoea every night (no other time of day, just at night, before I go to bed, as if my body was begging me to take the night off, please- of course, I didn't heed it and it went on for a week). There was the rash (a little zit outbreak on my shoulders and my collar bones). There was the great internal imbalance (dizziness, aimed at keeping me in bed the entire morning because everytime I stood up, the floor moved on another plane) and the mother of all, great and overwhelming nausea that saw everything in reverse projectile, causing Packrat to think it was something else. But no, purely psychosomatic. Nothing hormonal about it. Just plain ol' exhaustion cranked up several notches.

Well, as of yesterday morning, I'm done with the grading of the papers. And all my physical ailments quietly snuck out the back door without my knowing. I have a lull period until Tuesday before the mock exams come in, but until then, I have nothing. The strange thing is I feel a strange sense of guilt, that I'm not doing anything, that I should be working, but am slacking and therefore should be checked, reprimanded and sent to my table via the do not pass go, do not collect $200 route.

Packrat, of course, thinks I'm insane. But it's not an uncommon feeling. My students tell me all the time that they always feel a little bit lost after a big exam because they are all creatures of habit and all of a sudden, there really isn't much of a habit left. I felt it myself, at the end of honours year, after writing hefty dissertations and then having absolutely nothing to write all of a sudden. Hence, the birth of my first blog- before the term blog was even made popular.

I'm a creature of action. I can't sit still. I can't not do anything. I think if you made me stand still for too long, I'd start to vibrate on the spot. And at the end of the day, very loser lor. Slave to the Confucian slash Protestant work ethic. That's what has got me up at 7.15 on a Sunday morning.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 07:27

2 thoughts...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Me Boy! You Girl!

Being a public holiday and being somewhat reluctant to work, Packrat and I both had friends over for tea. But that's as together as our afternoon was. Packrat and the boys had decided that it was going to be a game afternoon with the nefarious and extremely noxious toy- the X Box 360. Tym and I, on the other hand, had decided that we were having tea, with the bestest and most excellent of cakes, Lana Cake, that Cour Marly so gamely brought over and LMD experimented with Nutella. The conclusion, Lana cake is good on its own. Nutella, while a remarkable food group all on its own, not so good with the cake.

There was good table conversation too except for the fact that it had to be shouted because there was no way four girls could compete with four boys yelling "KILL KILL KILL" at the television screen. We couldn't even make out what was going on, since we did have a good 650 gm of dense chocolate cake in our systems and watching the screen constantly move around erractically due to the boys' attempts at trying to charge at some mysterious but not obvious to onlooker enemy just made us feel sick.

The problem was that there was no way to tell four guys to shush up and after an hour or so, we decided that it wasn't worth the trouble to be yelling conversation over the table. It ate away at what we imagined tea would be. As lady of the house, I should have forseen the amount of noise the boys would make in an attempt to breach the enemy's defences and gain a foothold on the beach. I should have banished them into the bedroom with the 15 inch television but then again, it is my bedroom and I didn't want grubby boys anywhere near my bed.

We left them be and went off to have our own fun, away from the house. When I returned home, the house did indeed look like a war zone, or a boy's playroom, whichever is messier. Wires everywhere, controllers on the floor, game boxes strewn across the couch, laptops on the table where there had been cake a few hours ago, wires snaking out from the bedroom- all a huge mess.

It's not a new revelation but this sort of day reminds me of how different and how much more civilised we are compared to the boys. And next time, we're banishing them to the playground, with plastic helmets and toy guns where they can play to their hearts' content while we eat cake in peace.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:04

5 thoughts...

Sinking Ships

In school, I've been talking a great deal about disasters and how part of them become part of our cultural inheritance, some fade into obscurity and some get made into movies. A question that I posed to students was "Why are we so fascinated by disaster?". Among the more insightful discussions I conducted was one about how disasters fascinate us because we can watch all this destruction from a distance and feel guiltily safe at the same time.

Last night, we went to watch Poseidon. Packrat was hesitant to watch it because he didn't particularly like disaster flicks and could not find it in him to be moved by the human interest angle of it. But we did anyway, because he owed me one bad movie since I had to watch MI:3 with him and was bored to tears.

But I didn't enjoy it either. It wasn't as grand as the Titanic and there was far too much water. I don't usually have a thing against water. I used to be a little water baby when I was young, with hair green from the chlorine and called Fatimah bte Ng because of my skin colour (yes, that was racist but I was too young to protest or know what racist meant at that time). Anyway, what struck me about the massive numbers of people dying and drowning was that this was one disaster that made me squirm and wish I never saw it, from far, let alone have any part in it.

One of the reasons I think is because it had to do with drowning. Drowning must be worst way to die, you struggle, your lungs burst on you and there really is nothing romantic about a watery grave. The other reason I think is because disaster has been brought so close to home so many times in the last couple of years that it's not something we can safely watch from a distance and be reassured that it won't happen to us.

Once again, in class, we talk about how Singapore is affected by world events and the naive, bubble, nation sanctioned view that my students possess goes along the lines of Singapore has always emerged victorious and we have always been lucky for not being affected. Part of that thanks, according to their little world view , goes to our wonderful government. Yup, we sure do a great job spinning our stability and security, so much so that our students think we are immune to everything.

I, on the other hand, having taught all this stuff, reading into it and having the benefit of that bubble bursting on me a long time ago, feel strangely disconcerted and uneasy when looking at tragedy and disaster now. The tsunami hit too close to home, I still remember the horror I felt when I watched the planes plough into the Twin Towers- I remember we caught it live in Australia and I remember wondering if the world was indeed going to war. I have dreams about that sometimes and the panic that engulfs me as I search for safety in futility stays with me when I wake.

So, no, unlike the intellectual discussions and conclusions about the fascination of disaster, I take no comfort in watching it from afar. Possibly because I don't think of it as that far away and us as being that safe.

And oh, another more superficial outcome of me having watched the movie, no matter how much Packrat wants to go on one of those Scandinavian, Alaskan cruises, no husky sleigh is going to be able to drag me in that direction. I'm sure I wouldn't want to fly too, if I watched one of the remakes of those Airport movies that I used to love so much when I was young. I thought George Kennedy was super cool!

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:47

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Drawing lines.

While I wait for Reader Requests, this was just too good to not blog about. Spook has already suggested that as a teacher, I should write a blog beginning with some sentence, very much a primary, secondary school composition thing.

I shall attempt to do the Spook thing but not with his question but something else that was brought to my attention this morning. And I imitate the form that it was presented to me in. Complete the following sentence, "Not all boundaries are drawn on maps..."

This is my answer.


Not all boundaries are drawn on maps. You just have to look at you and me. You, boy! Me, girl!. That is the most primal boundary that divides us. It is not just in physical appearance that girls are pretty and boys handsome but because boys can urinate standing up and girls cannot. We have many parts of us that are different and this is not a boundary that is drawn on a map.

Another boundary is the one drawn by religion. I have not seen a map drawn according to religion, but it is something that will divide us. I cannot eat lunch with my Malay friend because he cannot eat char siew and I like char siew. But then again, there are similiarities amongst us so maybe this boundary is not really a real one. All religion believe that if you do not belong to them, you will burn in hell. So, because we believe in our own type of religion we will all be in hell and hell will be overflowing. Maybe in hell, there will be boundaries too. Those there because they are not Christians. Those there because they are not Buddhists. Not Sai Baba. Not Hindu. Not Jew. And since hell is not on the map, it is not true that all boundaries that divide are drawn on the map.

People are also divided according to colour and even though the map has different colours for different continents, it doesn't show our own colour. My friend ask me before, "why is your skin black when mine is white?" That divides us because people have gone to war fighting over the colour of our skins.

So, in conclusion, boundaries that divide us are many and they do not appear all on the map.


The end.
A star.
Make what you will out of it.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:45

3 thoughts...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ear to the ground

Sometime back, Tym did a Readers' Request Week. And I thought how convenient for blog fodder. And then recently, I was told that people liked reading about adventures in school and in the classroom. I've been consciously trying not to blog so much about the happenings in school because of that infamous brush with fame I had last year courtesy of the New Paper.

So, I'm stuck. I spend most hours of the days, most days of the week, most weeks of a year with students who do and say the darndest things and sometimes it's just too damn tempting. But then again, I'll be damned if I blog about anything that will cause me to get hauled into the boss' office. But then again, if I don't blog about what I do most of the day and I'm tired from waking at 3 in the morning the rest of the time to grade the papers and correcting the mistakes I shouldn't blog about, there really isn't nothing much to blog about.

And, bloggers aren't the most original people. We do memes because someone's tagged us, we do quizzes because they appear on other people's blog and at the heart of it, we're the most self-serving, ego-centric bunch, we blog because we're inspired by something someone else has written.

Because of all this, I'm going to be shameless and ask the average wanderer that reads the blog, what would you like to read here? No promises that all requests will be turned into blog posts but in bureaucratic-corporate speak, it will be KIV-ed and kept in my Inbox.

Now, to go off and check on my class who are part of a College wide attempt to spruce up the entire College and have quite cheekily nicknamed themselves the Desperate Housewives because they are the cleaning crew in charge of tables and windows.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:47

3 thoughts...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Misplaced vision

I forgot to wear my wedding ring today. And the little vultures in class spotted it immediately and questioned me on it. What happened? Why wasn't I wearing my ring? Did my husband and I have a fight? Does he sleep on the couch? Would I fight with my husband if I saw him talking to another girl?

They refused to take the truth, that I plain simply forgot, as the answer. It was just too boring.

Now, if only they attacked their work with that much curiosity and hunger for knowledge, my job would be much easier.

But then again, sometimes, I think I deserve it. I was walking past the Physics lab and the teacher inside was yelling very loudly, "What is a proton?". As far as I know, no one gave her an answer.

Me, on the other hand, was muttering to myself, " A Proton is a car made in Malaysia". Some kid overheard me and gave me a strange look that sent me into uncontrollable giggles, wondering what he must think of these ditzy, stupid GP teachers.

It's almost as good as my stab at A level chemistry.

Takes one to know one.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:52

1 thoughts...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Deliver Me From Temptation

I need to pick up three new hobbies.
a) Gardening or horticulture (for the haughty)
b) Fine dining
c) Write a book

The reason is
a) Gardening

b)Fine Dining

c)Back to School

Such great beauty that I cannot bring myself to attain. After all, I did have an entire week of debauchery that I haven't quite paid for yet. But one can still look, drool and dream. Ah, such great beauty, so near, yet not.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:52

2 thoughts...

Trying Days

I'm not usually home this time of day, but today's been an especially trying day in school. And it's a trying day when told the following things.

1. The national anthem of the USA, the answer was Stars and Strips.
2. The current Pope is Benedict x- vee-eye (XVI)
3. That Moussaoui has it good because he has his own cell, a tv and a whole lot of alone time.
4. People from South America speak Hispanish.
5. The fact that the PAP won 66.6% of the vote was a bad thing because 666 was the number of the devil.
6. The different in governing styles between Lee Hsien Loong and Goh Chok Tong came from the fact that Goh was taller.

It makes it an even more trying day when you're grading a paper about why the world needs action heroes and you realise 2 pages into it, without paragraph spacing, in fountain pen cursive handwriting was that the essay was about religion and how the dearth of religion now has caused the need for action heroes. I'm now wondering what Bible I've been reading because there didn't seem to be all that many around and I looked around other religions and figured, since Buddha spent most of his time trying to achieve nirvana, I'm willing to bet, he didn't move around all that much either- a necessity for an ACTION hero.

I should take a nap, but I fear that Hsien Loong and Chokkie might come chasing me and as I run from them, the Pope is at me in the opposite direction brandishing a copy of the Bible with the American flag burning in the background. And all the while, everyone's speaking Hispanish and I can't understand a single word they're saying.

No. That would be just too scary.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 16:13

1 thoughts...

Why I should go to Grad School

Many people around me know I'm bound for grad school sometime in the future. My principal has already wished me the best of luck and sent me on my way, even though I'm not leaving for a few more terms to come.

I know a few people at grad school but the one I've been in most contact with is Spook at Cornell. He's been trying to convince me that Cornell rocks and that I should consider that as one of my options.

In a bid to do that, he's sent me this video to show what a great time they have there.

My conclusion is, I should go to Cornell because,
a. I will drink a whole lot of coffee
b. End up sleeping on someone's couch.
c. End up bald.
d. Swear a whole lot.

Hmmm.... Quite attractive an offer.

Spook's gonna have to do much better if he wants me in Snow-belt, suicide inducing Ithaca. Having one Gap store doesn't cut it either.

He's also sent me one for a rival school to show that his is better. But the rival school is in NYC, where there's not only Gap, but also Kate Spade and Broadway! Plus Julia Stiles goes there.

No prizes which one wins.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:03

1 thoughts...

Strip Poker- The G version

Sometimes, to convince little ones to take a shower, we have to do the darndest things. I'd finally managed to get my 5 year old niece into the bathroom but she wasn't keen on taking her shower.
Having come back from running with my socks still on, I decided the only way of getting her showered without resorting to showering her with her clothes on was to strike a deal with her.

For every piece of clothing she took off, I'd take off one too. I knew I had enough to go round, with a crop top under a tank top that was under a dri-fit shirt, shorts, plus socks on both feet.

And it worked. She finally got undressed enough to be showered and I was short of socks and a dri-fit t-shirt. But the important thing is I won.

Cheap thrill, to outsmart a 5 year old.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:19

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Hello, Do you remember me?

The words every teacher fears to hear. Why? Because each year, we teach about 100 students personally and are in some form of contact or other with another 200-300 others. That's a whole lot of names and faces to remember.

So last night, at the new Cathay where we had gone to watch the 2 hour plus long extended version of Alias by JJ Abrams, this kid comes up to me. He's slightly taller than I am, has more curls than I do in my hair and a wide somewhat familiar smile. And he asks, "Excuse me, do you remember me?"

I'm stunned. Is this an ex students? Someone I danced with in some production a long time ago? I'm not sure. Click click click. Then he tells me his name. Click click. Then he says that I taught him when he was 14. Click! Jackpot! I got it.

He was from my very very first batch of students. In a class that was a great challenge to handle, especially for a newbie teacher. In a school that had such a cross section of society that made you feel very little because you'd grown up for most of your life thinking the rest did not exist. Anyway, his class. I taught them English. They didn't speak much of it. I taught them to distinguish between "three" and "tree". I taught them to say "please" and "thank you". And then, I taught them history. I taught them that during the war, my grandfather laid crab traps in the storm drains, and come high tide, my mother and her siblings would get crab for dinner and that's how they survived the war. I taught that to them so well, that during the exam, they replicated that, as an example of how people in Singapore survived the hardships of war. Verbatim.

This was also the class that taught me to come up with the most ingenous of punishments. This boy and some others defied all my efforts to keep lines from forming on my face. Their joint efforts were enough to drive any trained experienced teacher out of class. Let alone a newbie. Force didn't work. Cajoling didn't work. Meeting them on their level did. When he refused to tuck in his shirt, I would put on my most whimsical of smiles and approach him, offering then to tuck it in for him. Of course, that freaked him out, sent him retreating and hastily tucking in more of his shirt than he naturally would have. When another refused to shut up, his partner was given masking tape and was given full permission to use the tape on him. That led to the boy having tape over his mouth and words in bright red screaming "SHUT UP!" across where his mouth would be.

I never understood why teachers punished students by making them stand at the front of the class. It never worked because they never quite stood still. Early on, I attempted doing that and the result of that was, the boy was leaning flat on the board, spreadeagled, lying down flat, standing up against the board. That meant, I couldn't write anything on the board. And he wouldn't budge. What was I to do? I could have cried and fled the class, that works sometimes. But that wasn't me. I was more, if you want to play this game, two can play at it. So I whipped out a marker, and drew a crime scene body outline of him on the board and told him, he was evidence in a very important murder case and he couldn't move. Everytime he moved, the outline shifted and his white shirt truly became evidence of his crime.

It sent the class into stitches, it took all of my will power not to crack up and give up and I made the class write a detective narrative about a crime being committed and this was the evidence that was found at the scene.

It was a good lesson. He never fidgeted as much anymore. I wonder what became of that boy.

And yesterday, it was a different boy standing in front of me. He was a little bit older, a little bit more aware of what he was like as a student. And he had a brother, who was a carbon copy of him as I remembered him.

Great kid. Not in the he scored 9 As type of way, but the, he had grown up a little wiser, a little smarter, a little closer to his family and bit more at peace with the world sort of way. I gave him my card because we were already late for a movie. I hope he writes to me. It would be really great to find out what everyone of those other kids were up to now.

Time indeed, does fly. When I taught them, I had just moved back from Melbourne and now, we're planning to move back there already.

Age is indeed upon all of us.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 07:58

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Thursday, May 04, 2006


I'm hiding now. AXN has a new series on television, Supernatural. Packrat's watching it and I was, for about a minute, before I started watching it through my fingers, two minutes before I had Packrat's hands over my right hand, over my left hand, over my eyes. Four minutes before I was fully buried into the couch.

I lasted a good six minutes before I took advantage of the ad break to run into the room and I don't think I'm going out there again. It's scary. Spooky, ghostly, things under your bed going BUMP type of scary. And I'm really not good at scary. I'm not as bad as my ex flatmate who jumped during a scene in Antz, but I'm not much better.

Packrat's watching it because it's got Dean from Gilmore Girls. I didn't like Dean so much because he was the quintessential good guy that you could bring home, always nice, too nice, too boring. Yawn. My pick was Logan. Rich kid, heir to a newspaper empire, charming, spiffy. But even then, if he stared in a scary movie, I wouldn't watch it. Primarily, because I wouldn't see much of him and then when I saw him in Gilmore next, my experience would be tainted and my warped mind would forever link him to the scary movie in which he played the role of a restless and vicious slice and dice spirit.

And the mind is such a fragile thing. So's the imagination. In order to preserve it and also to finally get some sleep, I'm going to bed now. That way, I won't be scared, I'll be rested and I can once again wake up at some ungodly hour in an effort to grade papers although more likely than not, I will end up blogging as I usually do, except for this morning and it had to do with a wonky Internet connection and downright condescending tech support. But that's another story, for another time.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:24

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Practical Politics

Election fever has hit town, well, the half of the town that is able to vote anyway. There're many ways of deciding which candidate to vote for. Of course, one could attend rallies. One could decide that Singapore has done well and it couldn't have done so well if not for the PAP. One could also decide that the PAP has been far too cocky and has gotten too big for its shoes and choose to vote the opposition- not for a moment, believing that the opposition will win, but to narrow, as much as possible, the margin that the PAP wins by, hence questioning its mandate to rule.

Alternatively, we could use Plentyfish's logic. Discussion on local politics over MSN this morning.

Me: Do you get to vote?
Plentyfish: Oh shit! I have to vote.
Me: At least you get to vote.
Plentyfish: Ai yah, over rated. Plus I never see the other people around. Only the PAP shaking hands at the MRT station.
Me: Hmmmm....
Plentyfish: I only SEE the PAP so I vote for who I SEE.
Me (thinking): Maybe the opposition isn't up yet (And deciding that wasn't a very flattering argument)
Me: Some say the PAP has been too arrogant.
Plentyfish: Yah, that's one reason to vote for the WP. And if I did, the PAP cannot do anything to me.
Me: Why? So special?
Plentyfish: They cannot make my house no light. If they make my house no light, then George Yeo's house, also no light.

...Right. He obviously hasn't heard of the proverbial rain cloud that can just follow one person and leave everyone else dry.

Alternatively, he could do what most people do, flip a coin.

But warning! According to a source that cannot be revealed (like the KKK with pillowcases over their heads), even if you wrote in big bold uppercase NO in the PAP box, it will still be counted as a PAP vote. If you put a big cross in it too, also, your vote will still go to the PAP. If you put a big monkey face, with an upturn face- :-(, also, they will get the vote. So, if you want to vote for the PAP, you can do that, you can tick the box, draw flower, all can. But if you want to vote for the opposition, don't go anywhere near the PAP box. A faint pencil mark, as long as it's in the box, will also be counted as a vote. Don't accidentally vote for the wrong person ala Donna in the West Wing.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:50

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Enter Sandman

This is the second day in the row that I'm up when it's all dark and quiet around me. No, my higher up boss did not text me again and rudely wake me. This time it was more like an internal fire exit door that got breached and wouldn't stop ringing. And try as I might, to ignore it, it soon got so loud that I just gave up and got out of bed.

Trying to pick up the pieces after being struck by the lightning storm, I retired to bed early, only to wake at 2313 hrs, 0029 hrs, 0106 hrs, 0248 hrs, 0315 hrs and then unable to take it anymore 0331 hrs.

It didn't help that there really was a real alarm clock that was ringing non stop in the opposite block. It didn't help that there were people speaking so loudly that ten floors up, I could hear everything crystal clear.

So what is a girl to do? When the thoughts in her head are so loud and so disturbing she gets no rest? When she falls asleep and wakes up with the same recurrent thought only to realise she hasn't found an answer to it and is unlikely to? I know I'm going to pay very dearly for being up so early two mornings in a row, without much sleep in between.

But when the buzz, the noise and the interference is so intent that covering her head with her pillow doesn't block it out, there's little to be done. Especially when all of it is coming from within and the volume knob is beyond her reach.

Sleep,  don't come easy, to me,
how can I find a way,
to shut it all out,
I need to
but sleep, just don't come easy

Ondine tossed this thought in at 03:48

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006


There are days when you're just ambling along. Life isn't bad. It isn't good, but you get by. And then out of no where, a lightning bolt strikes. Not the ground beside you. But you yourself. Fizzling, you wonder how come you never saw it coming. It wasn't exactly that far out in left field. It had crossed your mind before that it might hit you.

Yet, you decided to concentrate on keeping yourself dry from the impending storm. You take all the precautions. You take all the advice, to build a house that would not get blown away in the rain. You think that as long as you do this, you'll keep yourself dry. And safe.

Unfortunately, you've built the house with hay and that can't withstand the rains that come. You're not dry, but you're not soaked either. You think you'll still be fine. That the rains will stop and the rainbow will be out for all to see. Then you hear a crack somewhere close. That can't be, you tell yourself. For you've built yourself up strong and resilient.

The next thing, you see a bright light. You're not sure what had happened. You've been blindsided. And when you look around, your house has come tumbling down. Hay is all around you. Everything carefully put into place is shredded, by your feet. On fire.

All because you got struck by lightning.
All because you didn't see that there was a lightning storm in the first place.

Do you go out and stand in the rain, getting drenched and bemonaing your misfortune?
Do you yell and shake your fists angrily at the heavens?
Do you throw bricks at the sky?
Do you bend over and pick up what's left to start over?

No prizes for which one being the most difficult especially when the fire's not put out yet and everything is still smouldering.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:04

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Rudely awakened

I was dreaming those strange, disturbing, disjointed dreams that I am famous for. There are more to be hyperlinked, but I don't have time right now. Anyway, I can't remember what I was dreaming this morning at about 4.29 am. But at 4.30 am, a shrill beeping sound sent me jumping out of bed. My phone had gone off.

Groggy, cussing, I open the message that unceremoniously woke me up and it was from one of my higher up bosses! He was asking about some presentation that I was due to send him later today. At 4.30 in the morning. The man is up and sending SMSes!

It is at that point, that I decide I really need a job change. I'm not asking for much. Just perhaps a job that doesn't entail me getting up at such an ungodly hour to get things sent out.

Is that too much to ask?

Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:50

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Monday, May 01, 2006

The Night Before

Tomorrow's school after an extremely long weekend since I've been on course since last Wednesday. So there's obviously work to be done and there's obviously a great amount of resistance when it comes to doing it. So, I got this off Olie's blog.

Encouraging Creator

I Am a Creator

Apparently, I have imagination, confidence, willingness to explore stuff. I also appreciate beauty. I am independent and enjoy my self-sufficiency. Sure! I love being able to buy my Kate Spade bags! I also have a vivid imagination, but we already know that from the strange dreams I have sometimes! Strangely, I'm not set in doing things one way. I like novel solutions. Hmm, I'm not sure about that but I'm willing to see how that pans out.

Feelings wise, I am not afraid of letting my emotions guide me and generally feel for other people. Yurps. That's probably why I cried watching D.A.R.Y.L long time ago.

I Am Encouraging.

When I care about someone, I don't keep it a secret. Apparently I let people know when I'm thinking of them. No wonder my SMS bill is so high. And I trust, so when that trust is violated, I go beserk and swear never to talk to that person again.

So that's me in a nutshell, from the kooky online personality tests like those you put a dime into at a fair and the big giant face chews on it and spits out your fortune. Times like this, I wonder why I convinced my parents to spend so much money to send me away to become psych trained.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:52

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"