Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We've been MPV-ed

The cars we've had over the years have defined who we are. The first car we drove was a manual 2 door Mistubishi Lancer. It was white and it had flames stuck on the side panels. We were students and we just needed to get us from Point A to Point B. Point A being home and Point B being uni. We didn't really care that it was uncomfortable for the people that had to be piled into the back.

When we first moved back and got married, we couldn't afford a car but needed one because home to my first school was like well, home to uni in Melbourne and it took me 1 3/4 hours to get to work by public transport. Because we couldn't afford it, we took whatever was offered to us. It came in the shape of a 13 year old Mercedes that drove like a boat, flooded like one when it rained and guzzled fuel like one too. The great thing about it was no matter how many clowns or elephants you piled into it, there was still space. But that car seized on us when we hit the brakes too hard one day and it merrily careened into a taxi. That was when I decided it had to go. It was just too unsafe by my standards plus I really hated driving the boat.

The next car we chose was the opposite of a boat. It was a Ford Focus 5 door hatch that was zippy and was like a small dog that was aggressive despite its size. We loved it and we drove it everywhere from Sembawang to Kuala Lumpur. The only problem was that it wasn't really a family car. And for the years that two of us constituted a family unit, it was a great drive. When we found out that we had two little muffins baking in the oven, we wondered if the boot was going to be sufficient space for them because the back seat sure as heck wasn't. So, even though it broke our hearts, she had to go.

At that point, when we traded it in, we should have bought something big enough for a growing family. Unfortunately, we lacked foresight as well as the ability to see ourselves as 30 somethings who had no choice but to drive an MPV and we didn't see ourselves as MPV people. So we bought a Honda Civic. It wasn't a boat but it wasn't a dream either. It was just fully functional and came in a nice shade of blue. For the last 2 1/2 years, that's what we used to move our family around and the kids were comfortable in it. Whoever had to sit between them wasn't but our priority was the kids.

Unfortunately, as someone very rudely said to us recently, we forgot that when people have sex, there are consequences. And the consequence for us was that we now had NO choice but to buy a bigger car because with 3 children and a helper, unless we strapped someone to the roof, there was no way a 5 seater family car was going to do. Even though we could ill afford it, we had to buy something as I discussed in a previously resigned post.

So, we are now on to our 3rd car. An MPV.

Thankfully, it doesn't look like one and doesn't drive like one. And it comes in the most impractical colour. Black. Black equals hot in Singapore. Hot equals sweaty kids who are already proned to eczema. Hot equals to the need to solar film the car. Hot equals spending more money trying to reduce the baking temperature in the car.

But the good part of it, it's not a girl car. It is as testosteroney as a car can get, with its big turbo engine to boot. And I can't bring myself to name it anything girly. Anyway, just look at it.

In my opinion, it looks like the Batmobile or the Dark Knight and even though it's an MPV meant for 3 kids. It handles like a BIG car rather than a Mommy School bus and I'm happy about that because it preserves the last vestiges of us that have to do with us being who we are rather than just parents.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:27

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Illogical math

Over lunch, I grew increasingly panicky at the thought of sending my kids to school in Singapore. It's not a new fear but every now and again, I am reminded of how much I'll hate having to subject my kids to it and how I'll be stressed and inadvertently stress them out.

This afternoon's topic of conversation was the recent but yearly and to-be-expected uproar over the PSLE Math paper (do not scroll to the bottom if you want to try the question because the answer is there)
"Jim bought some chocolates and gave half of it to Ken. Ken bought some sweets and gave half of it to Jim. Jim ate 12 sweets and Ken ate 18 chocolates. The ratio of Jim’s sweets to chocolates became 1:7 and the ratio of Ken’s sweets to chocolates became 1:4. How many sweets did Ken buy?"

My brain shut down after Ken bought some sweets. Anyway, 12 year-olds are expected to solve this. How? I don't know.

Not bad enough, I was also duly informed that when what 6+8 is, 14 is incorrect.
6+8 has to first, = 10+4 and then subsequently= 14
11+11 has to first, = 10+1+10+1 = 20+ 2 before arriving at 22.
If the child had the audacity to skip from 6+8 to 14, he would be marked wrong. Which is terrible because it's a) the CORRECT answer and how can they tell a kid that an answer that is right is wrong? b) insisting that the child can ONLY do it ONE way and that's why we're so screwed and complain that the graduates we produce can only think ONE way.

What do they expect when their primary school math insists on teaching them there is only ONE way to derive the answer?

It's annoying, it's worrying and that's why we're screwed as a nation.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:17

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"