Thursday, September 17, 2015

Inedible Ink

I was polishing off a red velvet muffin when i noticed some crumbs on one of my fingers, so i licked them off. However, there were a couple of stubborn crumbs that refused to budge, in spite of me having licked my finger repeatedly. Upon closer inspection though, i realised why - those were not red velvet crumbs but rather red ink stains from the marking that i had done earlier. Eating ink - yet another sad marking milestone accomplished.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Jubilee Jubilation (or the lack thereof)

I've never been a National Day enthusiast. While growing up i do recall attending a few parades (specifically remembering one in the 80s at the old National Stadium when they gave out giant green and orange enlarged hand thingies, as well as the Silver Jubilee one held at the Padang in 1990) but i was never really enthralled by it all. As i grew older i also grew more disinterested in the celebrations, in part due to having become more cynical in general (another story for another day), but also due to (wholly coincidentally) also having developed an aversion to both crowds and loud noises, both of which are hardly in short supply at any parade. No surprise then that my favourite National Day so far hands-down is the one in 2006, for the simple reason that it's the only National Day i've spent out of the country; being a whole ocean away meant i didn't have to go out of my way to avoid what i considered to be a big fuss.

This year's festivities certainly didn't help change my mind. The whole SG50 thing was too much for me even from early this year, let alone as August finally came, and some of the painfully contrived ways in which it has been shamelessly used (and abused) have been plain cringe-worthy for me. I've never been a fan of overt displays of (sometimes so-called) patriotism, so having SG50 figuratively shoved down my nose and throat was hardly helpful in doing this. At the same time, try as i might, i cannot understand how some (or perhaps more accurately, the majority) of those i'm acquainted with still seemed to have been so excited about the whole thing. Certainly too, i cannot agree with the sheer costs involved for this year's celebrations in particular.

To each one's own, of course. I most certainly respect my fellow Singaporeans' right to celebrate (and indeed there is a lot to celebrate). I just wish that i had more breathing space to stay away from it all. I shall just take it as yet another thing i'd just have to deal with. Better that than to try to force myself to fit in.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Don't Stop Me Now!

Of late i've not been having much success when it comes to my main exercise activity (which is running, btw). Having been busy for much of the first half of the June holidays, traveling and sick for the rest of it, and recuperating from the aforementioned sickness for the first week or so into the new term, i didn't run at all for jsut over a month, before finally starting again a couple of weeks ago, and pretty much starting from near scratch as far as fitness levels and stamina are concerned. Furthermore, there have been quite a few events going on at my usual running spot (ECP) at my usual running slot (early Saturday morning), which led to me being chased out once due to the SEA Games and diverted another time due to some other event.

Hence i was pretty happy with myself last Sat, when i actually felt a semblance of the fitness and stamina levels that i once had, and even though there was a route cordoned off for some triathlon, it was only on the bike path, so i thought i was good to go on the running path.

However, i soon encountered a roadblock, in the form of a pathway stretching right across the running path for triathletes to use when transitioning from the sea to their bikes. I had to wait around a minute (which to me is enough to cut your momentum) for the pathway to be free for me to cross it. Of course, this is a public place, so they have every right to do this. What i could have done without was the organiser's adding insult to injury by blasting Queen's Don't Stop Me Now out loud, presumably as a fitting motivational soundtrack for the exhausted triathletes. Ironically though, now i (along with several others) was the one who ended up being stopped thanks to them.. Certainly not a good time (good time) for me..

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

operation suck it up

Am now halfway back from my latest too-short holiday. In several ways (e.g. professionally, linguistically, physically) it has certainly been more enriching than usual. Part of the reason for this though stems from the fact that since this was an abridged vacation, there was less time for idleness. That being said, i am glad that i did make pretty much the most of what i could get. Now awaits the dreaded transition back to reality..

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Just Another Manic May

No surprise, given the above title, that the token monthly post comes this late. May has always been one of the most draining months as far as the school calendar goes, and this time has not been an exception. As i've probably wondered before, is it that i tire more easily now as i get older, or that there genuinely seem to be more things to do as each year passes. Probably it's a combination of the two, though of course i can't help but think that it's more due to the latter.

Anyway, the good news, i guess, is that May is soon to be over. The work is never over though..

Monday, April 06, 2015

spells disaster

Not the best of days at school today - after making what i thought was very good use of most of my free time over the Good Friday / Easter weekend, there still was (and is) so much to do, and so i wasn't (and am not) in the best of moods. No better time to be dealt with a slew of (albeit tiny) problems that made the day that much more frustrating - losing the latest soft copy version of a lesson resource that i had been working on in the train (yes, there is that much work to do); having my laptop restart thrice (and hence losing all the working documents) after closing the screen (and you'd think i'd learn my lesson after restart #1, but no..); losing precious lesson time due to technical issues, and then not being able to carry out much of what i'd planned so hard for over the long weekend due to the same aforementioned technical issues; forgetting to bring up to class lesson materials that i'd carefully prepared just a short time earlier; being shown attitude from a difficult student (oh how i could go on regarding that one if i was able to); mistaking one student for another one and calling him by the wrong name - the list goes on.

I don't mean to rant though - the point of mentioning all of that was that in spite of it all, the thing that bugged me most was that i could not spell the word 'consolidate' properly. Seriously..

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

a bittersweet goodbye

After service ended last Sunday, i made my way out of the church preparing, as per usual, to head off to find a quiet place to sit down and get some urgent work done. Earlier in the day i had been pondering over whether to break my normal Sunday post-church routine by rushing home to watch the live telecast of the State Funeral once the service had ended. In the end, i decided to carry on with my usual routine, since if i didn't i risked not being fully prepared for the next day's worth of lessons, and i reasoned that i still would be honoring Mr Lee through working in the interests of improving the learning experience of the students (in retrospect this sounds a bit lame, but it made sense to me at the time).

Exiting the church, with the rain still heavy, i noticed a sizable crowd of people gathered about fifty metres away at the fence facing the Padang, with several hundreds more along the pavement, perched at SRC, and pretty much anywhere else there was space. The rain may have had passed its heaviest moment, but it was still not letting up. Yet, it did not matter to anyone, with everyone eagerly anticipating the 21-gun salute and the funeral cortege that was soon to pass. On the spur of the moment, i decided to join them, armed with a flimsy and leaky umbrella which did just enough to keep me from getting soaked through like how many of them were after braving through the heaviest of the rain while i had been safely inside the church. Thankfully, i was able to find a spot that had a decent enough view of St Andrew's Road.

It wasn't more than five minutes before the first of the guns fired, dramatically scattering the flock of mynahs that had gathered at the Padang, seemingly oblivious to what was about to happen (though befitting the occasion, they were suitably clad in black). Following a brief moment of shock at the sudden loud bang coming from the gun, the crowd erupted into loud cheers. A couple of equally loud bangs later, the escalation in volume of the cheers indicated that the cortege was on its way. That's when the chants of "Lee Kuan Yew! Lee Kuan Yew!" started to ring, refusing to be drowned out by the aerial flypast above us. Then the cortege passed us, and what a poignant moment it was to see Mr Lee's coffin draped in the flag of the country he loved so much and gave so much up for. I didn't exactly have any tears welling up in my eyes, but nevertheless there was much gratitude and respect mixed with grief welling up in my heart. And i'm sure everyone gathered there felt the same way.

And that was it. It couldn't have lasted more than ten to fifteen minutes in total, but it was time very meaningfully spent. I quickly headed off to get some work done, thankful that i had one last opportunity to say my personal goodbye to someone whom i never really appreciated until it was too late.