Monthly Archives: November 2006

Character

I had an enjoyable weekend last week. I visited Karimun on Saturday and found a certain fear in me. I attended my primary school friend’s wedding on Sunday. I would say that I had a very enriching weekend but I will discuss my new found fear later.

I read an article on Today’s 29th Nov issue. It was written by a retired MOE Caring Teacher Award winner. In the article, the current situation in education is being brought up. I believe that responsibility is the central core issue. The character “Responsible” is diminishing and it seems that many are playing the game “shift your responsibility”. (Who is responsible for the situation now? Option 1: Students. Option2: Teachers. Option 3: Principals. Option 4: Parents. Option 5: Force of Nature)

There is an article on the second page of Lianhe Zaobao today. It is about the accident which occured in Hougang Central yesterday morning.  The site is at the road along the canal and near to Hougange Mrt. At that road, pedestrians usually cross the road without using the traffic light crossing. The actual cause of accident is not confirmed yet. But the driver of the car “went away” from the scene but was “found” by the police in the afternoon in the office of a lawyer. Please read the article to gain a fuller picture, I will not comment further as I fear my own values and judgement will affect the tone in which I typed. (Can we blame planners because they did not use their brain to locate the traffic light resulting to the situation where traffic lights is out of the way for people to utilize.)

A while ago, there was an idol competition. One of the competitors made a comment during interview. When the competitor is interviewed the following day, the competitor denied that the comment was made. Maybe the competitor was upset by the loss thus did not watch the wrods that came out from the mouth. But personally, I feel that a person must be responsible for anything and everything that one does and this applies to words that was spoken.

I will not say that I am the very responsible type of person. I just follow a set of values and beliefs. I really wonder how am I going to cultivate the character of being respnsible in my future students. Many aspects of our life and the environment we live in have shown that there is a lack of responsibility somewhere. Many things are workign against my beliefs and values.

Looking at my surrounding, it seems that many experienced and good teachers are not fruitful in the character building . Looking at the new generation of parents and people who are not taking their fair share of responsibility, I really wonder how effective the meagre effort of those of us who want to do something will be. The bigger environment has brought about many of the things that happen now. There is a portion of us who are trying to go against the tide of nature. Like what the recruitment advertisement says, we just save as many starfish as possible by throwing back to the sea.

**The starfish are brought ashore by the tides. It is the work of nature that starfish are brought up to the beach to receive the future that awaits them. And we are the ones defying the nature and going against the greater force of the environment to save as many starfish as we can. Are we demanding too much of ourselves? Am I shirking my responsibility by having second thoughts about saving the starfish that even nature want to kill? Fellow readers, are you all blurred by the sudden shift in my entry?

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Bridge

 I was watching a documentary after dinner. It was about restoration of an ancient brigde. It was the Bridge of Mostar. The “old” bridge is a single arch bridge built by Turkish Ottoman Empire. It was an architecture with a history and has certain unique characteristc. It is located in Bosnia-Hercegovina, then Yugoslavia. I will not dwell too much on the history of the bridge, there is too much to say and I do not have that much knowledge to talk about it. However, the uniqueness which I want to talk about is that the brigde straddles over a river separate a muslim settlement and a christian settlement. The Bridge is a connection and a linkage between two different settlement. It provides a chance of interaction between different people. According to the documentary, the two settlements are very closely knitted.  I will get to the point why I talk about this Bridge in the following paragraph.

Mostar Bridge

I had a lesson today. My classmate is teaching a class but the “students” enacted a scenario where “cross fires” are carried out in a language totally alien to the teacher. The language barrier makes it difficult for the teacher to understand what exact words were exchanged.

This sets me thinking. Singapore is a multi-cultural and multiracial society. Teachers are one of the bridges that straddles across the various ethnic groups. Teachers are one of the linkages among the students. Will language barrier affect our role as “bridge”? Even though translation can be used, to fully translate the words, underlying meaning of the conversation and feelings cannot be accomplished easily just converting the words from one language to another language. This is one of the issues that surfaces when there is aim to train students or professionals to be master of two languages.

Language is deeply rooted into a culture. To be master of the language, one has to learn and master the culture as well. I would not say that I can be master of a language but I would try my very best to learn about other culture. Learning will lead to knowing which in turn would lead to understanding. I do hope this can aid my interaction with the peopel I will meet in the future.

**The “old” Bridge of Mostar was destroyed in the civil war within then Yugoslavia. But people treasured it and recognized its historical and cultural value. Thus a “new” Bridge of Mostar is rebuilt in the exact spot where the “old” had once stood up high against the onslaught of time.

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Self

Had a taste of a micro teaching where anything and everything could happen. It had been a decade since I misbehave or make stupid comments during lesson. Although I was not a very bad students, I still have my deviant behaviour.

It was a first time in “class”  where I say comments such as “cannot make it” but it wasn’t very loud. I enjoy this kind of feeling where I do not need to control or restrain my thoughts or behaviour. I was blurt out or do as I wish.

Is there really “good” behaviour? I feel that that we are good-natured people but this does not warrant good behaviour. We have good behaviour because we now when to behave and when to wreck havoc. We self impose some sort of behavioural guidelines and some of these guidelines are drilled into us by our upbringning and the school we went through. According to a Chinese philosphy, human needs rules, guidelines and punishment to ensure well-being of society or individual good behaviour. The punishment is some sort of deterrant for unacceptable behaviour. There is always a price for every action.

I feel that my friends could not forget our identity as a fellow classmate when they micro-teach. Thus they may be reluctant to scold or reprimand us when we misbehave. It seems that there is some sort of holding back as we role play. But then all the fun is gone when we hold back.

Actors have to put away their self when they are on stage or in front of the camera. At that instance, they are what their roles are. Thus for micro-teach, I feel that that as participants we need to put away “our own self” and just be who our roles are. If the need to scold arises, just scold. If the need to misbehave arises, just misbehave.

Those of you who are going to micro-teach soon, if you need to scold me when i misbehave in your “lesson”. Feel free to scold all out. I do not mind as I have some sort of thick skin and selective hearing.

At times, there is a need to let go of our “self”. Either to protect ourselves from harm or to truly enjoy oursleves. The need to uphold our own “self” is very taxing and tiring.

The statement is made by me, an experienced lazy person whose “self” is always running around somewhere and enjoying “himself”. Thus I am not be myself. Hahahaha, head giddy yet? Never mind me, I am not being myself. I got to find myself in my sleep now.

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Time, Where are you? Don’t hide. Come out now.

Last week, I got the letter from SDU which tells me that I had become their member. The first time I heard about SDU I was in secondary school. “SDU” was the abbreviation for single desperate ugly. 10 years later, I becomes one of the members. I have to agree that there are ample channels set up to provide us with ample opportunities to network and socialize. But is there time?

An article came to my mind. It was in the newspaper where journalists did a write up on the match-making agencies. Interviews with the agency and SDU spokeperson seem to bring out that people nowadays got no time. Thus they need some sort of one-stop service to help them. I am fine with such arrangement as I too, like to go to one-stop DIY store to grab all my tools when I want to do some touchup for my house. It is so convenient and saves time.

We are always complaining that we do not have enough time. Why on earth do we want so much time. Everyone is given their fair share of 24 hours a day. Why must we rush like mad to save whatever meagre time we can. Our rush and fast pace of life makes us lose sight of things. Many have realize and regret they did not arrange for time to spend with their love ones. Many regret not spending time to enjoy the elements of nature while they are still able to. When was the last time you raise your head to search for rainbow in sky instead of looking out for crows armed with their waste? When was the last time you stroll along a path enjoying the sight of cars of people whizzing past you?

I am guilty of not spending enough of time with my family. I am guilty of not spending enough time with my friends. Unconciously, my pace of stride will increase in my everyday life just like while driving on expressway I will pick up speed to be on par with the other cars. I am guilty of speeding up my pace in my everyday life just to keep up with others. It is perfectly normal to follow the pace or stride of others which reflect the pace of society for fear of losing out or fear of being left behind.

My friend of a decade will say “you are idiot. you are a slacker who had so much time” and yet did not buck up and contribute to the nation’s population growth. Therefore, I should have lots of time and there is no need to increase my pace of life.

My primary school friend is sending me a “pink bomb” aka wedding invitation soon. My friend led by example already. Maybe it is time that I should find time and think about whether or not to utilize SDU’s network. (^^!!!)

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