Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A reason to teach

Deep inside me, I think there's a little glimmer of idealism. And that little bit of it still hopes that teachers can make a difference. And if anything, that would be why I would go back to teaching. Especially when on the rare occasion, a gem like this is found. Then I want to go back into the classroom, show them the video, incite them to react, to do something, to make a difference and to smack them on the back of their heads and tell them to get comfy asses, suck it up and get going.

This, is what I miss about teaching.

What I don't miss about teaching... now, that would be enough to fill a book.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 23:25

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Damn! Ondine is going to be made into a movie. Now, everyone is going to think I stole the name off the movie. Can I just say, I was here first? Ondine was a water sprite who was quite merciless with men who were bastards and could kiss a mean kiss. And if that wasn't heroine material, I don't know what would be? But now, that's not going to matter.

Just like Bonds, Crumpler and Kate Spade . When I first discovered them, they were just brands with something great but were in Singapore for mass consumption. Then they were, then I just became one of the masses.

My only consolation? It sounds like an art film so it probably won't get noticed in the Hollywood driven box office in Singapore.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 00:35

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Grand ol' Dame

Barbie celebrated her 50th birthday at the New York Fashion Week over the weekend. There were beautiful clothes as designers paid tribute to her and put their models in what would be beautiful Barbie wear. One problem with all that. The outfits, while being very very beautiful and humanly unwearable, were not what a fifty year old would wear, however coiffed and sophisticated she was. But I'm guessing stylish middle aged women aren't all that fun for couture designers. I'm also guessing if a 50 year old still had the vital statistics of Barbie, she would be wear impossible haute couture too and not modest knee length skirts and closed toed heels.

Having said that, my favourite Barbie shoes were her closed toed stilettos. And that was when I was 9. I'm keeping some of my Barbies so that Jordan can have them. I will need to remember to remind her though, that Barbie's impossibly small waist and legs that go on forever are unnatural and if a real person looked like that, she would fall down a lot.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 07:09

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Stupid is as stupid gets

Ok, ranty post ahead that might sound somewhat elitist. But to say I'm annoyed is an understatement.

I shop at all supermarkets. I generally berate Packrat for only wanting to shop at Cold Storage because things are more expensive there. He understands that it's cheaper elsewhere and he's all for cheap but he doesn't suffer fools gladly and he is of the opinion that there are fewer of them fools at Cold Storage. Of course, fools and stupidity reign. And with a high population density in Singapore, it's quite difficult to avoid stupidity completely.

But today, he made his point. I went to the supermarket. Not Cold Storage. I went to a large supermarket in the heartlands, because I had bought something for Baby J there and the size was wrong. So I went back, with my item, my receipt and went to Customer Service. They told me to go ahead and do my shopping and come back when I was done. Even with my trolley full of stuff? I asked. Yes, even with, was the reply.

Happily I went round and when I was done and making my way back to Customer Service, a dour employee comes up to me and points out I have more than 10 items in my trolley and will be unable to use the express counter she thought I was headed up to. I told her where I was going and in a loud scolding voice she gesticulated wildly and told me I had to go to the cashier to pay first. When I explained what I'd been told, she got another person at the Customer Service to corroborate her stand and sent me packing. Fine. I huffed my way to the shortest queue, all the while looking at my watch because I was due to pick up the kids from school.

Apparently, time was only of the essence for me. Watching paint dry would be quicker than watching the cashier who only spoke Chinese scan the items of the customer ahead of me. When it got to me, she saw that I hadn't placed an item onto the counter and had left it in my trolley. When I told her it was because I wasn't buying the item but exchanging it, she snarkily told me I had to exchange it before queuing at check out. Nope, that was not I was told, I replied equally snarkily and in Chinese. She proceeded to tell me that if I didn't pay for the item and wheeled it out of the store, I would be shoplifting.

This was where it got ridiculous. I was trapped in this bizarro world where to exchange my item, I had to go through check out first. But to go through check out, I had to pay for everything, including the item I wasn't going to pay for because I was going to exchange it. What was a girl to do? My solution, pay for whatever I needed to, back up the trolley, back into the store, traipse down to Customer Service within the store and exchange my item. One would think that would appease all parties involved. But no. I wasn't allowed to. Because backing up would disturb the queue that, by this time, had formed behind me.

At that point, I found the straw that broke that camel's back. Shot a look of sheer fury at the cashier and asked her, what in HER opinion was the best thing to do? Her response, leave my trolley where it was and come back for it once I'd exchange what I needed to. Now, that wasn't going to cause a queue.

I did it my way. I told her, I was going to push the trolley out of the check out lane and I would walk toward the Customer Service. She could watch me. And if I ran away, she could call the police on me. That was when she finally "tiam tiam"- kept quiet and turned away beetroot to the next customer who asked her why she had to make things so difficult. And that was when I decided, shopping in the heartlands can only be done with I have a lot of time, am not in a hurry to pick up my kids and have the patience of a saint.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 13:48

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

The key to my heart

The best way to spend Valentine's Day is not to indulge in the fluff that it is and spend ridiculous amounts of money of flowers that are half dead and food that is half the price on any other given day. Packrat and I generally don't do Valentine's Day. I like doing something but we generally do something anti-valentine's. Like go out for nasi lemak or go for a movie or something where we can remain untouched by the crass commercialism that engulfs the day.

This year is the same. We didn't buy cards for one another although I did get my little cottage industry to churn out some cards for Packrat and the grandparents.

The plan for today is as follows. Go to HDB. Go for lunch. Go to church and then come home to the kids. Possibly go for a late dinner with my bro. But it's a great way to do today because, going to HDB means we are FINALLY on our way to moving out of my in-laws house. And that means better marital relations between the both of us (read: less fighting). Going to church, is also about us because we're signed up for a marriage enrichment course. Going home to the kids, well, that's pretty self-explanatory and having dinner with my bro, well, that's what families do and who said Valentine's Day just had to be about ONE type of love?

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 09:34

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sex and the City

I know this is a couple of months late, but I finally saw Sex and the City. It took me this long because Packrat had been resisting all this time and I hadn't made it to the cinema with a girl friend in time to catch it. I finally watched it last night on video while watching Packrat roll his eyes just by looking at the back of his head.

It's a girl thing. He hates it as much as I hated the guy flicks he got me to watch. I could see why he did as well, once I got over the pretty clothes and gorgeous wedding gowns. But I must back track a little bit. Packrat hates Sex and the City because of what it stands for. Women, looking for love, being materialistic, whining and being destructive when they are disappointed and don't have their fantasies of being loved on their terms fulfilled. He also hates it because it embodies everything his favourite 'love to hate' columnist in the Straits Times projects and writes about. Her columns which appear on Sunday often involve her whining about being mid-40, unmarried, unloved and therefore unfulfilled. It never fails to make him want to throw something at the paper.

What I can objectively see as a bad thing about the movie and the entire ideal that Sex and the City embodies is the materialism. It seems worse than the Devil Wears Prada, possibly because that makes no qualms to be a movie/book about fashioin. This is about lifestyle and how the Manolos and the Louis Vuitton that is so important that it has to be rented. I have to admit that I'd love to be able to afford the lifestyle and I'm a bit of a sucker for it, as in I will "ooh and ahhh" at it and think it would be great to have some of that but I'm not about to sell my house and home or even my kidney to support such a lifestyle.

But one thing stuck and struck me as appealing. The four girlfriends. Of course Packrat couldn't some of them and I particularly hated one of them, but I loved the idea of it. The idea of girlfriends who were there for one another, come hell or high water was something that I'd always dreamt about. I think it comes from having a diverse group of friends. I have good friends from all over the place but they don't even know one another. That makes it tough to do any sort of girl group thing with them. And I love the idea of dropping everything and going on vacation with my girl friends where we could do spas and nails up the wazoo.

So, while I spent some of the time being irritated at what was going on in the movie, I stuck to it, did not fall asleep, saw how it panned out and gushed and waxed lyrical about female bonding. Of course, by then, Packrat must have felt that he needed to go out, get a few beers and burp very loudly just to ensure that the planets become in alignment again.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:07

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Growing old

I remember being 9 and listening to the radio on Saturday mornings to the Victor Khoo and Charlie show ( I tried to google this to link it but I couldn't find anything substantial). I used to wish that I'd get picked for the call in part of the show. I don't really know why but it sounded cool to a 9 year old. So, I'd listen wistfully at the children who did get the chance to talk to Victor and more importantly Charlie.

Then when I was 12, I used to listen to the radio because my friends and I were sure that the radio station got our dreamy song requests for the soppy songs of that time like "Because I love you" by Shakin Stevens and Bananarama's Love in the First Degree and many others. Once again, we were sorely disappointed. I wondered why some guy in Serangoon North got his song played for some girl he saw at the bus stop but why I didn't get mine played to wish the track team luck. Now I'm guessing because a) it was rigged or b) mine was just less exciting.

When I was in college, radio got better. It played things I wanted to listen, it stopped disappointing me, perhaps because I didn't expect much from it except for it to be playing 24 hours and by then, it did. There were also more radio stations, like "Class 95" that played better music than Perfect 10 which was cool to a secondary school kid but too noisy to study to when I was pretending to be an adult.

Radio became integral to me. Not because of anything else but the fact that I needed white noise. I couldn't work in an environment where you could hear a pin drop. I couldn't work in libraries, especially those old dome like ones. I'd fall asleep in 10 minutes. I couldn't drive without the music because the car sounded too still. Even when I was in hospital delivering the twins, I made sure that I had loaded my Ipod with enough music to get me through the couple of days. At work, I tried Net radio, I tried the I-tunes radio as well but that frustrated me everytime the connection buffered or streamed or reset itself. Once again, I gave it up.

The only thing left was having the radio on in the car for company or to keep me awake. It didn't really bother me what was playing as long as the DJ's weren't too inane and the music was passable. But the problem was indeed that the DJ's were either too inane or spoke extremely bad English and the music being played was obviously tracks played on a rather limited loop, even when the radio station prided itself in playing hits from the 80's and 90's. This was a station that was supposed to have been voted most popular and most listened to but it was rapidly failing to provide for my very basic needs. So, Packrat and I started station surfing on our rather limited bandwidth and amazingly, we found one that played music that we actually listened to, sang to and actually enjoyed.

Unfortunately, it branded us. It branded us as old because it was the oldies station that we were being drawn to. For a second, we wondered if we had become really old and frumpy. Then we decided, whatever. If we enjoyed the music, if we recognised the music and if it wasn't just noise that was on for the sake of needing noise, why not? We discovered that there was some white noise that was more enjoyable than other types of white noise.

We came back from Vegas spoilt for good white noise. Even though we were in the gambling and possibly sin city of the US, we had Air One, a Christian Rock station that played wonderful Christmas music. That was when this current phase of disappointment began. Coming back and realising that the radio stations weren't playing any Christmas music and still played what we began calling suck rock made us grumpy with our current choices. But beggars can't really be choosers. Even though we can get Air One on I tunes radio, we don't have it where we need it the most, in the car. So till we find something better, which is unlikely, we're going to be a bunch of fogeys listening to a goldies station.

Because at least, the music is tolerable, enjoyable and mostly singable too if we needed it to be and that just staves off the disappointment that we are likely to feel at some point.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 23:18

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"