Friday, March 21, 2014

March Madness 2.0

The week of 16 March is officially the March school holiday period. The key word here is 'officially'. Unofficially, it has been pretty much business as usual, with the most noticeable (but still minor) differences being having the opportunity to dress down and sleep about one hour more than usual.

Now, this is not meant to be a complaint post. After all, in a way i have gotten myself into this situation by requesting to teach the classes i'm teaching, fully expecting that the words 'March (and for that matter, September) holidays' would not eventuate in the way that they would be expected to (by those who don't have any direct contact with the education system here, at least). And pretty much all the stuff that i've been up to this 'holiday' has been meaningful, and not a waste of time (or at least i hope that's the case). Even if it's meant that i think i've not felt so tired or, dare i say, worn out for a long time. I guess i may have felt worse before, but i think that the amount that i've to handle now is more than it was before [experience does build up resilience, or as i'd like to refer to it, staff capacity (capacity to tahan the worst that the job can throw you].

The fact of the matter, or at least in the way i see it, is that there's plenty of meaningful stuff that we do (and inevitably, a fair deal of stuff that at most helps to boost CVs but is really far more of style and substance), but some of us (or at least me) are not able to sustain doing the amount that is expected without some serious sacrifices being made (which in my case, being as utterly inefficient as i am, would be the giving up of a life outside of the holidays). And in such situations, i can't help but question if the result is really worth the effort.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

no one else to blame

On the one hand, i constantly lament (to myself) about the seemingly permanent eye bags and how i never seem to get enough sleep on school nights.

On the other hand, many is the time when, like tonight, i'm wasting perfectly good sleep time doing inconsequential stuff (including this i guess) on the computer (not that i've no work to do - there's always work to do, but there's not always the will to do it).

Thursday, January 30, 2014

no time for horseplay

It's amazing to see how we're already at the end of January, and so it's already the end of week four of term time. I haven't actually spent a lot of time in school, due to having an ICT as well as falling sick (for the first time since 2010), which probably has contributed to how fast these past few weeks have gone by. Things have been as hectic as they've ever been, though perhaps due to having a bit more experience under my belt i'm less ruffled by it all than i would have been say three years ago. In fact, no less than the big boss commented that i look happier than i did back then.

It still is early days though, and definitely there'll be many more speed bumps along the road ahead. In fact, much of this CNY break will (hopefully) be spent trying to preempt all of these, while at the same time trying to recharge a bit. (Horse) bit by bit.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

timely travel

While back home i may be a little bit of a magnet for (minor) incidents, i've realised that i had been unwittingly dodging a couple of far more serious incidents during my most recent trip. It was only after i had safely left the city of Cordoba that i learnt (through picking up on whatever i could from the Spanish-language Argentinian TV report that i happened to catch a brief glimpse of) that there was a police strike there, and in fact only nearing the end of the trip, close to two weeks after having left Cordoba, that i realised that it had turned rather violent, not only in Cordoba itself but in many other parts of the country as well, while i remained blissfully unaware of what was going on. In fact, the strike and riots had begun on the afternoon/evening of Dec 3, while i caught a bus out of the city that same night.

I suppose that you could consider this a benefit of travelling in a country where the lingua franca is by and large alien to you. And of course having to do stuff like arranging transport and accommodation during the precious time that i was able to get online rather than browsing news websites played a role too.

The second incident i just missed were the power cuts in Buenos Aires that have since escalated into protests. The reports state that the power cuts had started affecting residents two weeks ago, which is precisely when i flew out of Buenos Aires. In fact, there was a minor power outage that lasted less than a minute while i was at the airport awaiting to board my plane, though judging by the lack of any hit of surprise on the faces of the airport staff, perhaps that was merely routine. Whatever the case, my timing for both has been spot on, though of course i still feel sad to see such incidents happening in Argentina, which to me really is a country that potentially has so much going for it. NE lesson in the making, this is..

Sunday, December 29, 2013

world class

I've been back in S'pore for about ten days now, and in this time i've already encountered two cases of door malfunctions on public transport:

1) an SBS bus door that refused to close, resulting in the bus driver having to get everyone on board to alight and get on the next bus - this took place at the stop at which i had boarded the bus; in other words the bus didn't move an inch (just like the door) once i was on it.

2) the safety door (i.e. not the train door, but the one that prevents passengers from straying onto the track) at City Hall MRT Station refused to close, resulting in the train i was on being stuck at the station for about a couple of minutes, before one of the station staff had to rush down and close the door manually - at first i thought that it was all the safety doors that would not close, but then i realised that it was only the door right where i was standing at.

This all took place after me having a trip in South America that was relatively free of transport woes, apart from one Subte train breaking down at the station in Buenos Aires (or at least that's what i assume happened - i just followed everyone else's cues because the announcements were made solely in Spanish).

Well, if there's a moral to this brief story, it's that yes, Singapore does have a world class public transport system, in the sense that just like everywhere else in the world, breakdowns and malfunctions do occur. (I don't mean this as a criticism by the way - and also by the way i hate the phrase 'world class', but that's another story) And if there's another one, it's that at least in Singapore, my public transport jinx is still very much alive and kicking.

Friday, December 20, 2013

hasta mañana

Just got back from South America (Argentina and Uruguay) a couple of days ago; never having much opportunity to post anything here during that time. Not that there was no internet access - free wifi is rather easily accessible in many places there,  contrary to what many may think, though bearing in mind that Argentina and Uruguay are some of the more developed countries in the continent - but whatever time and opportunity i had online was spent on making trip arrangements, of which there were many. In a perfect world, this blog, which is just about as random and unfocused as a blog can get, would morph into a travel blog, at least whenever i'm on holiday. Instead, i've to make do with writing rather dull and formulaic recounts of my day on my (hardcopy) notebook whenever i've had the opportunity to, just so as not to forget whatever happened, while telling myself that what i've written will soon morph into some credible travel writing on this site. Well, that 'soon' will certainly not be today (i've only just finished uploading pictures from two trips ago), but we can always hope for tomorrow..

Saturday, November 16, 2013

too slow to beat age

I'm turning 30 in a few days from now. No point trying to avoid the fact, given that there have been several reminders of that fact coming my way. Firstly i received the never-welcome MINDEF sms reminding me that my new IPPT window would open two weeks from the receipt of the sms (and as expected, they left out the only part of that news that was actually something to cheer about, which is that upon turning 30 i enter CAT Y1 territory, which means it becomes easier to clear the darn thing). Then there was the notification for re-registration of NRIC which came in the mail. I'm proud of the fact that i've never once lost my NRIC, but that of course meant that re-registration upon turning 30 is a non-negotiable.

Actually, the reminder that hits me the most is this: i'm getting slower, and there's not much i can do about it. I run quite a bit. As far as i can get myself to do so, i try for at least once a week, most likely on Saturday, simply because we all should exercise regularly, and for me running hits my two criteria of being (relatively) hassle-free and being something that you don't require anyone else's presence to do [not that i don't want to run with others, but i never can find people to run with me (because i never look for them)]. I've never been particularly fast, but at least i can get a decent 2.4km timing, which is all i could ever ask for.

Since maybe a couple of months ago though, i've found that i've not been able to get the same timings that i used to get over a certain distance. I feel tired more easily, and find i've to channel all my resilience to last even 10km, which has never really been a problem in recent memory. Today's run was but the latest example of that happening. Normally i'd chalk it all up to busyness (my blanket excuse for way too many things), but i don't really have that excuse to fall back on now since lessons have ended, and life at work now is (slightly) easier. So i guess the only reason i can think of now is age. I definitely could get around this by simply running more than just once a week, but that's imply not possible even now, let alone once work gets back to full gear. So i guess my only option left is to (try to) grin and bear it, and embrace the third decade.