Sep 29 2011

## Speeding Up Our Life Cycle

Posted by in So-so Issues

Are you one of those parents who always needs to be around when your child is doing his/her homework? I may not remember much of my primary school curriculum, but I’m sure I didn’t do algebra at Primary 1!

Ali has 3 marbles more than Tom who has 1 marble more than Jerry. If Jerry has 2 marbles, how many marbles do Tom and Ali have?

Let Jerry have j marbles
Tom has j+1 marbles
Ali has 3+j+1 marbles
Given that j=2
Therefore Tom has 2+1=3 marbles
Ali has 3+2+1=6 marbles

Well, at least that was the way I was taught to do this sort of “problem sums”. I don’t know how smart other people and their kids are. But I certainly wouldn’t have a clue as to how many marbles Ali and Tom have when I was in Primary 1. And I don’t expect my 6-year-old son to be able to do that. To me, this is probably Primary 4 work. Why are they teaching it at Primary 1 now? A chill runs down my spine when I imagine what they might teach in Primary 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

If you think that’s not bad enough, have you heard of the Primary 2 kids who had to write book reviews as homework? Almost every child would seem to have read a book that no child would find interesting. Almost every child would get an A for their insightful review copied from Amazon.com. My son would probably get an F because instead of a book review, I’d be the only parent who would write an essay on how stupid the whole exercise is.

We are a nation obsessed with upgrading, efficiency and bang for buck. That’s not a bad thing – provided we don’t let things get out of hand. Compared to my son and other kids in school today, I went through primary school at a very comfortable pace. It’s not just about enjoying childhood. It’s also about being true to yourself. So what if my homework was never flawless? At least I understood most of it and did it myself. So what if my projects were made out of cheap cardboard and coloured paper? At least my parents didn’t have to scrimp on the next meal to get materials that would make my project look as professional as the others.

If learning is forever, why rush into it? More importantly, how much does a Primary 1 kid really need to know at Primary 1? Are the schools really in such need to show that they are improving and reaching ever higher standards? What simpler way to show “improvement” than bringing Primary 2 work to Primary 1?

Wow. That’s an impressive improvement. What do we do next year? Let’s bring the Primary 3 work to Primary 1. Wow!

The end point? There is no end point in theory, but for practical reasons, most people would stop at an MBA or a PhD. And my friend who holds an MBA (and a very expensive one too) just got retrenched for the nth time. He has been switching careers, attending diploma courses to help him remain employable. After multiple humbling career switches with equally humbling salaries, he still ended up retrenched. It’s quite baffling that with so much more experience, he is worth much less than he was young. He’s finally considering becoming a tour guide – a job done very well by another friend of mine who only finished his O Levels.

Is it because this friend of mine didn’t learn about how many marbles Ali has when he was in Primary 1? Would our kids not fall into the same predicament when they hit 40 because the education system they are under is now an improved one that will make sure you won’t wash toilets or drive taxis if you have an MBA?

I’m glad that I can sometimes decide my own worth. My years of experience are tangible and worth something in the field of dentistry. While I can still hold handpieces and scalpel blades steady, I don’t have to retrain and acquire new skills in a food court or toilet to remain employable. Not so for many friends my age. Many of them have reached their “employ by …” age. Like the primary school system, everything is being sped up in Singapore. We can’t wait to graduate. We can’t wait for the IRs to be built. We can’t wait for the next rally at the stock market.

So why not attain O Level knowledge by Primary 6? Retire to wash toilets by 40 (already happening). Draw CPF at 90. No, this is one thing which will only be slowed down. Happy speeding on the other lanes.

Sep 29 2011

## 爱情转移

Posted by in 诗人的眼泪

Are romantics foolish people who try to make some sense out of love or are they just not contented with a boring diary? The lyricist’s powerful yet confusing imageries make this song quite inexplicably touching. Examining closely, you may doubt the sanity of the lyricist. This may explain the turbulent mental state of those who wish to stay in love in our everchanging, constantly moving times.

Sep 22 2011

## 一個人的天荒地老

Posted by in 诗人的眼泪

We often speak ill of those who have stopped loving. But are they the only ones who have changed? Do you have the right to demand that someone loves you forever if your good character/personality is not quite forever?

＊已經對坐了一夜　恐怕天色就要亮了
我開始有點明白　我們的愛也要散了

妳像過去那樣走來　緊緊用雙手將我環繞
妳的溫柔其實如刀　要我還妳怎樣的笑

我明明都知道　這將是最後的擁抱
妳給我一個圈套　我不能跳不能遁逃　＊

＃我拿什麼和妳計較　我想留的妳想忘掉
曾經幸福的痛苦的
該妳的該我的到此一筆勾銷

我拿什麼和妳計較　不痛的人不受煎熬
原來牽著手走的路
只有我一個人相信天荒地老　＃

Repeat ＊＃＃

Sep 22 2011

## 哭过的天空

Posted by in 诗人的眼泪

This is a rather “feminine” song sung by Tarcy Su. It begins with the singer complaining about her lover’s love for freedom and apparent insensitivity towards her yearning. Then, later in the song, she seems to gain strength and acceptance for the inevitable imperfections in the relationship. An poetic yet intelligent song.

Just like the sky. I have my reasons or excuses for laughing or crying. You can’t make me laugh or cry, love hate as you please, any more than you can make the rain stop.

(music)

Sep 22 2011

## Seeing Ghosts

Posted by in So-so Issues

So what’s new? The hungry ghosts have come and left. The ang moh version of it, Halloween Horrors, was to haunt the Night Safari on the 30th of September. But the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) management decided to scrap the whole thing just 2 weeks before its launch.

A decision was made to cancel the Halloween Horrors event because of the negative feedback received from corporations, friends of the zoo, the public and the media about the event, especially over the relevance in relation to conservation.

Going forward, WRS parks will hold more family-centric activities, which will include new youth engagement and interactive activities and events throughout the calendar year.

Huh? Yao mo gao chor ah? That’s like leaving the bride on the aisle! Did the zoo manage to receive so much negative feedback just 2 weeks before the event? Look. The event has been very popular for the last 6 years. It was run by students from Singapore Polytechnic’s Diploma in Events and Project Management as their final year project. Seven months of hard work, almost \$1 million dollars spent, 1000 tickets sold, all down the longkang. I’m sure apart from the students (who were advised not to talk to the media), everyone kaypoh enough would want to know why.

So why could they not just let the show go on for one last time? We can have our family-oriented programmes AND this event on separate days. Why cancel the latter last minute when all systems have been checked and everyone involved was ready to go? Why the urgency to stop it unless it somehow threatened our national security?

I doubt we can get to the bottom of this and it probably won’t bother too many people busy catching up with another episode of Love. But all this reeks of authoritarianism. If WRS had done this to a real events company, they would certainly have been sued. I can only think of worse things that can happen to WRS if they have an angry bride to deal with. Fortunately for them, these are just students and having been a student before myself, we know better than to raise any “challenging” issues before our report cards were filled up.

Halloween is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic, ancient Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today. Halloween is a time of celebration and ritual. It has has long been thought of as a day when the dead can return to the earth and ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts.

Doesn’t that sound like some local festival we celebrate here every lunar 7th month? In America today, Halloween is more an excuse to have some ghoulish fun than anything else. Strangely, our learned folks at the helm even gave devil-worshipping as a reason to cancel the event. Again, it was last minute – as if they had a last minute “revelation” that Halloween is about devil-worshipping.

But toothfully, Halloween does have something to do with ghosts and spirits. Even Christmas has its fair share of ghosts in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. We must not fail to take into account the many folks among us who fear these things. It could be due to guilt, culture, upbringing or just being Ebenezer Scrooge.

Nobody welcomes death or tragedies, but sometimes in life, we learn a lot more from tragedies than happy endings. A recent tragedy at home made me realise what would happen to me after my last breath. Having done human dissections in anatomy class in school, there is nothing frightening about dead bodies apart from their looks and smell.

I might be a little afraid of the dead bodies of some highly vocal people I know, coming back to life to say their last words, but seriously if it’s a dead body of someone close to me, the last thing I fear would be their ghost haunting my home or even possessing the people around me. The sad fact is that dead people are inactive. No matter how much we wish we could talk to them, they will not listen. No matter how much we yearn for their answers to our questions, they will remain silent forever. Mandai Columbarium is probably one of the most peaceful places in Singapore that I know of. As a final resting place, it lives up to its name. The staff here seem so relaxed and friendly. I wouldn’t mind being their colleagues after retirement.

Even the most powerful words will not move the dead. The tears from a hundred men will not bring back the body’s warmth. We talk and we sob nonetheless, before the lid is shut one final time. When you’re truly in love, you would not worry too much about not gaining from the relationship. If you are truly mourning, you don’t fear looking at a deceased loved one. Nevertheless, the fear of ghosts and the repugnant attitude towards the dead that some people demonstrate at a funeral is an indication of how I would be treated when it’s my turn to lie in the coffin.

reposted from www.newagedentists.com © Chan Joon Yee