Friday, 21 November 2014

Sleepless on the Eve of PSLE Result Release

Tomorrow is THE day. Technically, it is 'Today' as it's past midnight, but since it is 1am of 21 November, and I haven't slept yet, I will call it 'Tomorrow'.

The day when PSLE results are released.

Strangely, ever since Coco sat for her PSLE and received her results two years ago, I have developed a 'habit' of losing sleep over PSLE result release, even if I don't have anyone in the family who sat for PSLE that year, like this year.

I am not sure what the feeling is called. It can't be 'excited' because PSLE results can be unpredictable. I am not rooting for a top scholar in the country. There is no expectation of any sort for anyone. Or perhaps, there is. I happened to tutor a motivated boy for a few sessions about two or three weeks just before PSLE. He has been placed on the waiting list for a top boys' school through DSA, and it's no secret that the waiting list offer will be converted to Confirmed Offer (Then why go through the hassle of offering a wait-list?). He didn't need to do any better than he already was. He just wanted to get a better score. I was moved by the boy's intrinsic desire to do well. Two or three weeks was too short a time to do anything substantial, but I was willing to give it a shot if the boy was that motivated.

However, I don't really have anything huge to look forward to. The mother understood that time was a constraint and she didn't expect too much of me. She was happy that the boy managed to learn something new within a short span of time. To claim that I could push up his score by a large margin would be too optimistic. We hope for the best though.

Back to why I lose sleep over PSLE result release, it can't be 'anxious' since I have no one close to me straddling between 'pass' and 'fail' or 'express' and 'normal'.

I am not a Primary 6 teacher who looks forward to receiving her report card, as indicated by the performance of her students, tomorrow.

Maybe I am just a kaypoh.

Or maybe I am indeed 'excited'. I learn more about judgement of standards with each PSLE result release. I learn how to gauge possible T-scores of different students.

Maybe I hope to be surprised.

Whatever it is, I hope that no parent will show his or her disappointment should the child's T-score falls below parents' expectation.

That is the least we can do for our children we claim to love.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Studying at Cafes

There have been strong, nasty views on students occupying seats at fast food joints and cafes.

I would like to oppose to those views, but I quickly realised I would invite a backlash from the working adults.

When I was a teenager, I shared a bedroom with 5 other siblings. My father did place a study table in the room, but it was difficult to study in a 4-room flat filled with people constantly talking loudly and sometimes having a bone or two to pick with you over things that were trivial to you but mattered gravely to them.

I went out in search for a place to study. My final destination was the airport. I could get a drink when I was thirsty. I could have my toilet breaks when Nature called.

I also remember having our Bible study sessions at the Bedok Central KFC on weekday afternoons. We would buy a drink and sit there for at least two hours doing Bible study. On Saturday afternoons after our cell group meeting, we would fellowship at KFC, eating a big tub of whipped potato and occupying the seats for hours. There were times when the crew chased us away.

So, while I am annoyed that I can't get a seat at Coffee Bean or Starbucks cafes, I totally understand the need for these students to study at a cafe.

I do believe some of them, like me, do not have a conducive environment to study at home. There are too many distractions at home eg. TV, titbits and siblings. And sometimes, it helps when you have an abler study buddy with you to help answer your questions.

And to people who ask,"Why don't they go to the library?" Have you tried studying at a library yourself?

I hate to say this but students in the north area of Singapore are not the most hardworking students around, but even then, when I tried looking for a seat at the Woodlands Regional Library for Coco to study on a weekend, I could not find one! Students were sitting on the floor to study. Others invaded the Children's section to occupy the seats meant for young children and their caregiver.

We learnt to arrive at the library at its opening hour, and rushed to the study tables to get one seat. The tables were quickly taken up within the first hour the library was opened. And the seats were occupied for the whole day. It was obvious that there were some inconsiderate users who left their belongings at the tables while they went for a one-hour lunch, but there was nothing much one could do.

If we ban students from studying at cafes, being economically strapped or powerless, they would have nowhere to go. Changi Airport may not be viable for students who live in the west and north although it is accessible to the ones residing in the east.

I would appeal to the public to leave the students alone. You were once students. You might have the good fortune of having a room of your own, or a conducive environment to study in, but many of us don't.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Primary One Orientation Day

Yesterday, the whole family woke up early to go for Baby's P1 Orientation which started at 8am.

We took her to the canteen, the gathering point for the P1 classes.

The principal made a quick speech about the school motto.

When the boss speaks, everyone listens.

After a 2-hour briefing in the hall, we reached the classroom to see our children watching cartoon.

Filling up the forms

The previous night, Baby was lamenting that she was the only one from her kindergarten who would be going to the primary school, but she saw her Nursery mate in the school!

We met him at the Orientation.
He apologised for not winning the contest eight years ago!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Imagination Talk

While decluttering Baby's mountains of toys, Baby found her toy pram in a box. She placed a few of her favourite things into the pram.

I laughed,"Your doll looks like she's staring at them!"
She quipped,"And the tiger is afraid of her!"

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Intimate Relationship of Blogging and Photoshop

One of the reasons I hadn't blogged consistently was because we had a new computer, ironically.

Our computer was at least 5 years old. Its storage capacity was incredibly low.

So we got a new one, with a significantly smaller-built CPU. William said that no one used bulky CPUs like ours anymore.

However, removing my old computer effectively means that my Adobe Photoshop 4 is gone.

My Adobe Photoshop software was a one-time installation due to the low price Adobe was offering, so it was not possible to reinstall it unless I purchased a new one.

It's kind of depressing not to be able to edit your photographs. I am not an expert at photo-editing although I had attended a basic Photoshop class. I mostly simply brightened and cropped the pictures. Without the software, I couldn't make my pictures better, and it demotivated me to blog or even upload pictures on Facebook.

Although the desktop and laptop do have photo-editing function, but the images they created can't be compared to Photoshop.

So now, I take pictures with my Samsung S4, upload to Facebook before posting them on my blog.

Using a camera-phone for picture-taking and posting online is not all bad though. Its greatest merit is convenience. Not just the convenience of taking pictures anytime and anywhere I want, but also posting. I simply post it to Facebook before saving it into my laptop, and then post it on my blog. It's not as troublesome as taking out a bulky DSLR and a USB cable, connecting the camera to the laptop, waiting for the about 1000 pictures to load, and then go through the pain of selecting the pictures I want before saving on my laptop, and then post on my blog. Not to mention the stress of worrying that something might crash and corrupt my entire SD card! I did have the experience of my SD card becoming corrupted as I was transferring pictures to a laptop, and I also had the experience of an external hard disk crashing when I was saving the pictures from my camera to the hard disk. I certainly don't want to go through any of those again!

I have to admit that sometimes, just the thought of connecting the camera and the laptop makes me go into the 'sian' mode, and then, I skip blogging altogether!

That said, I still hope to get another Photoshop software installed in my computer or laptop so that I can edit my pictures. Till an offer comes up!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Love for the Alma Mater

A friend who is teaching in Nan Hua Primary School has enrolled her child in her alma mater, St Margaret's.

Prior to the P1 registration exercise, everybody had thought she would enrol her child in the top school. It was a no-brainer to everybody else.

Nan Hua was so 'top' that it even beat Nanyang Primary School last year at its PSLE scores, in terms of the percentage of children who achieved T-scores of 250 and above. If I remember correctly, Nanyang only had 38% of its cohort achieving that feat, while Nan Hua had 48% or thereabout.

However, to my friend, what she did was a 'no-brainer' as she had 6 years of her fondest memories at her alma mater.

I feel that what my friend did is truly a demonstration of her love for her alma mater. As a staff of the school, she qualified for the priority phase, 2A2, for the registration exercise. Although the phase did require the applicants to go through balloting due to over-subscription, she stood a good chance no less.

Above all, she lives in the far west of Singapore. It would have been a natural choice to pick the nearer school, other than the convenient access consideration, rather than the other one in the centre of the island.

Love for the alma mater is something so intangible, yet at the same time, so tangible it affects important decisions for someone you love with all your life. It can be so irrational it makes you send your child across half the island to attend school.

I can't help but draw a comparison with those who advocate distance priority for the P1 registration exercise. For all the 'distance must/should come first' slogan they had shouted, many change their tune when their children are selected for the gifted programme. Suddenly, people living in different parts of Singapore are all eyeing Nanyang Primary for the gifted programme. Didn't they say distance was important? Didn't they say the long journey would tire children out? Suddenly, all these don't matter anymore. Of course, there is still a minority who adopts the 'nearest school' approach, but from what I read on the forum, it seems Nanyang is the preferred choice, even if one lives in Jurong.

Perhaps, having a child getting selected for the gifted programme is the litmus test of whether a person truly embraces or advocates distance as the priority for school selection. I know someone would then say that the same could be said of the love for one's alma mater. Perhaps, but it does seem to me that there are more parents who choose to have their children stay put at their alma maters when the children are selected for the gifted programme than parents who advocate distance priority.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Of Swissrolls and Weight

If it had not been obvious, I am a big fan of Rich and Good mango swissrolls.

I would travel all the way to Bugis for about an hour just to buy two or three mango swissrolls. I would give one to my mother and covet two.

I love eating. And I am not satisfied with tasting something I deem delicious. I must devour, and devour a lot of it at that.

The wide gap between the two edges of a swissroll in the picture above shows the approximate length of a mango swissroll. 

Yes. I ate all of that at one go, after my lunch.

When I stepped on a weighing scale, I was shocked to see the number '48' appearing on the digital display!

I told myself that was the last mango swissroll I would eat, at least until my weight goes back to 45kg. 

Sigh. 45kg. How little am I asking of myself now! 45kg used to be my bane. When I hit '45', I would swear upon my life to return to '42' - the weight that I find myself looking best in: no double chin, no protruding tummy.

Now I just look like a fat aunty. I considered posting a picture of my 'current' picture to show my fallen state, but decided it would be better for me to do so after I slim down - if I ever do.