Friday, August 31, 2007

I remember my teachers ......

Happy Teacher's Day to all Teachers reading this blog.

In this post, I am sharing with you all that I remember of the form teachers that have taught me through the years:

P1: Mrs Sim - I salute her for remembering me, even after 25 years. I remember walking down Bras Basah Road one day, when I was about 30 years of age. I had stopped at a traffic junction, when suddenly a car pulled to a stop, the driver rolled down the window and said: Hi! You are...., I taught you when you were in P1. Yes, It was Mrs Sim, and she sure made my day. I must have been such an angel (or terror) in her class that she remembered me after all these years. I must have left quite an impact on her!!

P2 - Miss Lam - The only thing I remember about her was that she was my form teacher and Math teacher, and she was quite strict (read "Loud").

P3 - Mrs Smith - She was the gentlest teacher any one could ever have. I used to see her occassionally in church.

P4 - I dont remember her name, but she was an Indian, sari-wearing teacher. Guess her name was too long for me to remember at that young age. I remember her as the chalk and duster throwing teacher with very good aim.

P5 - Mrs Khoo - Quite a fierce teacher who did not hesitate to make her students stand outside the classroom.

P6 - Mrs Maisy Tan - A very patient teacher.

S1 - Mrs Singh - A teacher that made English and Literature lessons so interesting.

S2 - Mrs Pempimon, who later became Mrs Kulatissa - another fantastic literature teacher that ignited my interest in writing and acting.

S3 - Ms Yvonne Lee, who became Mrs Yvonne Khoo during that year - such a sweetie pie of a teacher who gave us some important life lessons. She was also a great literature and english teacher.

S4 - Ms Schooling aka Sr Germaine - the prettiest teacher in the school. Used to wonder why she did not become a model. I hated her history lessons, tho.

2 other teachers who taught me in my secondary school years that deserve special mention were Sr Cecilia Koh (aka Sr John) and Ms Rosalind Lee.

I remember Sr John for her very unusual Accounting lessons (I later went on to be an accountant, due to her influence), and Ms Lee for being the fierciest Math teacher in the whole school. Everyone dreaded math class (except me), for Ms Lee would terrorise everyone. The number of girls passing the math tests set by her on the average, would be less than 10% in each class. However, these 2 teachers, who have since passed on to join the Lord, produced the most number of students scoring As in the subjects that they taught. In fact, it was unusual if you did not score an A if you were taught by them. May their souls rest in peace!

In JC, we had the same form teacher for both years. Mine was Mr Yeoh. I remember he taught the most boring Math lessons and we used to laugh at the green rash he spotted.

Funnily, I hardly remember any of my uni lecturers, though it was not so long ago that I was there. I remember some of their names (Prof Han, Prof Chan,) but that's about it.

I guess, the best teachers were from my secondary school years.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty,
to provide you with guidance and support,
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met,
our desire fulfilled, their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons,
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson,
love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life,
whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

This was from an email I received.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What is your Japanese Name?

I have a Japanese sister-in-law and a half-Japanese niece. I love spring time in Japan, especially cherry blossom season. My hubby loves Japanese food. My children love all things Japanese, especially the food. Little D loves singing the Japanese songs she learnt from her cousin as well as from school (as she has a japanese classmate and a teacher that speaks a smattering of Japanese). And, my children's favourite holiday destination is: Tokyo Disneyland.

Now, they will be thrilled to know that mummy has a Japanese name:

My Japanese Name Is...

Kaori Takashi

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Teachers can inspire

Yes, Good teachers can truly inspire the children that they teach. Similarly, bad teachers can make a child lose interest in a subject.

I am speaking from experience. I told my daughter last week not to let her teacher affect her grades. I have noticed that recently her math grade has been slipping. I just cant believe it as my daughter has all along gotten perfect scores for her math exams. She is very conscientious in the checking of her work and she is one that doesnt usually gives marks away. So, was it a sudden lost of interest in the subject? No, I think it is the teacher. Why?

Thinking back, when my daughter was in P3, her mandarin grades also took a dip. Then she complained about her mandarin teacher, who "was from the old school", - as a grumpy teacher, who taught using old methods, not knowing how to motivate kids of this generation. I guess my daughter and her just did not have chemistry. But at that time, I just thought that since we were an english speaking family, the drop in the mandarin grades was due to the lack of exposure to the language. (But she subsequently moved to a SAP school, and has had to do Higher Chinese, and she has not had trouble with it, so I guess I was wrong). The teacher really affected her.

Now, it looks like its the same case with her math. I have bumped into her math teacher, who is also her form teacher, a couple of times this term (during the course of doing volunteer work in her school,) and her teacher seems to have a scowl on her face most of the time (even during the school carnival!!). Even when she talks to me, she does not talk with a pleasant tone in her voice. (She does not know that my daughter is in her class). My daughter has also been complaining about her teacher's grumpiness, lecturing them all the time because there is a boy with super bad behavoir in their class. And I believe my daughter does not like her that much, and hence does not enjoy her classes.

On the other hand, my daughter has been an average student in science. Has not scored above 80% for that subject before (well, for the last 2 years, at least). But, this year, she adores her science teacher. Always coming back with very positive stories about her science teacher. And guess what? She has been constantly scoring above her previous grades for her science tests and exams!! Even getting a high distinction for the NSW science. Boy! Am I pleased.

I have always told my children, that it does not matter what the teacher looks like or how they speak. They teach the best way they know how, and you have to make the best of it. You get good teachers and you get your fair share of bad ones too. You just have to work hard to get good grades for yourselves (and of course mummy, too!). You are responsible for your own grades and dont blame anyone but yourself if you have a bad grade.

I hope what I have said to them have sunk in. But I still hope for teachers that can truly inspire the children. :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Shut Up!

Should a teacher use the words "Shut up" on her students?

My son has been complaining about his math teacher shouting those words all the time. He said that she uses it on everyone, and many times throughout their math class. He does not like it at all.

I am a little disturbed by it too. I have told my kids not to use those words as it is rude. What more a teacher using those words? Cant she use: "Be quiet", "No noise please", "Stop talking", "silence" or just "Stop it"?? Or simply stare at the child until he stops talking? ... that killer look works, you know?. I think using "shut up" too frequently loses its effect. (Hmm, maybe that's why she is a math teacher - has limited vocab ..haha... couldnt resist it. Sorry!).

My daughter tells me that "shut up" is the new "be quiet" as her teacher sometimes says "Please, shut up". Can you beat that??

I believe that "shut up" should be used sparingly, and only by the truly exasperated, frustrated, fuming mad mum that is at wits end!! ....ok, and only maybe sometimes by the teacher too!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fireworks Display!

My kids got to enjoy 3 fireworks display over 2 days. On 17 and 18 August, Singapore hosted Italy and China for a special fireworks display.

On 17 Aug, we decided to venture out to watch the display. Where to go for the best view? Not sure. We drove down the ECP, traffic was quite clear. I decided to turn into Marina South. Lots of cars were headed that way, so we decided to follow the crowd. We ended up at the car park near the former Planet Marina (the one that houses the Long Beach Restaurant). There were probably about 50 cars there when we arrived at 8.50pm. Not too bad. Got a good parking lot, and got into a vantage position. The fireworks display started about 30 minutes later, but it was enjoyable. We had unobstructed views. However, going home was a nightmare. A 1000 other cars must have gotten there after me. It was a slow crawl all the way to the ECP. By the time we got home, it was 10.20 pm, a whopping 45 minute drive. And our drive there took us all of 12 minutes.

On Saturday 18 Aug, the kids wanted to watch the fireworks again. Little D wanted to see the merlion, so we taught we could bring her to Esplanade Park prior to the start of the fireworks display. We were going to leave the house at 7.30 but due to some unforseen delays (I really dont know what!!) we left at about 7.50pm. Traffic was choc-a-bloc all the way from home. Looks like 100,000 other people wanted to see the fireworks too! By the time we got down to the Esplanade, it was 8.20pm and there was not a car park lot in sight. The kids were getting impatient. We drove the length of Shenton Way and Robinson Road. All we saw were big crowds of people, but no place to park. We finally found a parking lot in front of Caltex House, by the road side. Yippee!

But, alas, spoilsport Uncle Sam came along and decided that he wanted to give all the daddies a hard time, and requested everyone to drive away. Hubby finally parked at the Singapore Land Tower carpark. We managed to catch the fireworks display but not in the most comfortable of environment. Not a bad view, I must say, but the view from Marina South was much better.

Going home, the kids fought over who was to sit where in the car. They grumbled about the view being better at Marina South, and why we did not go there again. They grumbled about the strong smell of the gun powder. They grumbled about the crowd and the traffic. The quibbling and grumbling did not stop for a LONG while. I, guess they were all tired.

I was sick and tired of the fighting and complaining. I told them, instead of being grateful that we brought them out to watch the fireworks, they were fighting over all the unneccesary and little things. So, I decided to give them the real thing: the BIG and REAL FIREWORKS DISPLAY.

But, Sorry, no photos, la!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Chewy Junior

Last friday, I received a call from an acquaintaince, Inez. I know her as our kids attend the same chess school, and we frequently meet at chess tournaments. We get along pretty well, as like me, she is a stay-at-home mum.

She called and said that she was going to come by my place.

I was not sure what she wanted. It left me wondering: A crisis on her end? Maybe she needed someone to talk to. She has been telling me about the problems she was having with one of her sons. Maybe she is looking for a Mandarin tutor again.

She came by in 20 minutes. And guess what? She bought this for me:

I thought it was donut that she bought me, but it was not. Chewy Junior is the latest craze that has hit Singapore. The topping is like that of the latest donuts, but it is filled with cream. I would say it is a fusion of the donut you get from Donut Factory and a cream puff from Papa Beard.

It was delicious. Thanks Inez, for thinking of me.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What to write? How to write?

Managed only 2 posts last week.

Sooo many things I want to blog about but dont know where to start, nor how to start. Am I losing it? I dont know.

Maybe it's the stress of having the kids home. Or too many things on my mind. Help!!!

At least, I managed to get this out. Maybe this week will be a better week.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Too many short school weeks!

This week is yet another short week for primary school students. Last week was a short week due to the National Day celebrations. This week is short because of the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Exams) Orals.

I am not against short weeks. In fact, it means a break from having to wake the kids up early, and having to shuttle them to and from school. But, when there is a short week, the teachers tend to load the poor kids with homework. My daughter, S, commented: "They are trying to kill us with this e-learning thingy whenever there is a short school week."

Previously, when the PSLE kids had their oral and listening comprehension exams, school was as usual for all the other kids. Now these kids are kept home because of those same exams. The final exams for most kids are just two and half months away, and there is still quite a bit of the syllabus to be covered. We end up having to teach our own kids when the school is unable to teach it due to so many "off days" for the kids. They dont need to be taking this break, I feel.

Some parents tell me: "It's ok. When your kids get to P6 (PSLE year) you will want the other kids out of the school when they are having their exams."

No, I am not selfish. I am not expecting them to only close the schools when my kids are in the P6 year. I feel that the other younger kids should be taught to be quieter during the exam period ... hence they will learn to be considerate to others. Also, couldn't the orals be moved to a quieter part of the school, which is out of bounds to the rest just for these two days? Also, how long can the listening comprehension exam be? Not more than an hour that's my guess. 5 levels of classes are disrupted for an hour exam? The irony is, when these same P6 kids are taking the most important exams, the actual PSLE written papers, all the other kids are in school!!! No school closure.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hello Gorgeous...

Yes! Someone actually said that to me last week.

And, I was stunned!

Why? It's not that I am not good looking (heehee), but at this age? I have seen better days and have had my fair share of suitors already! Ok, I am past my prime .... what do you expect after 3 kids. Also, I am the chin chye sort (anything goes), always in my capri and tee. I usually dont bother to dress up ... except for those dates with hubby! And there I was in my grubby tee. Really, Not gorgeous looking at all!

No, it was not a pick up line. (If not, that person would have gotten a tight slap from me! Huh!) It came from Little D! I was shocked because "gorgeous" is not a word that I use in my everyday conversation with her. Nor, in hubby's. So how did she pick up that word?

Me: Little D, what's "gorgoeus"?

Little D: Pretty.

Me: (Hmm ... she knows the meaning of the word.) Who is "gorgoeus"?

Little D: Me! I am gorgoeus!

Me: Who said you were "gorgoeus"?

Little D: Uncle Peter! He always says I am gorgeous!

Oh!, so, it was her favourite uncle! Mystery solved. Confirmed, I am really not gorgoeus. She was just regurgitating a word that she had learnt, and had used it on me!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Celebrating National Day

This year Singapore celebrates its 42nd year of independence, marking it with a parade at Marina Bay. This parade will be held on the world's largest floating platform. Singapore's Defence Science and Technology Agency took 13 months of planning and precise building to create this structure which can float, take heavy loads and be reconfigured, and that is where all the action will be come 9 August. The theme for this year's National Day is: Singapore: City of Possibilities

This week in Little D's school all their activities centred around National day and Singapore. She is able to tell me that there is a crescent moon and 5 stars on our red and white flag. For cookery, they made flag sandwiches, which they devoured. Little D and her classmates also made little flags and banners for art and craft which are now hanging proudly as decoration in their classroom.

National Day celebrations in her school culminated with a concert and a class party.

This was our contribution for the party:

Red and white agar-agar

The children were encouraged to come dressed in red and white or in ethnic costumes for the party.

Little D in Red and White with her party contribution

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Black Cake

A doctor friend shared with me the recipe for this cake. She told me: "If you put in good ingredients, the cake is bound to come out nice. So dont stinge."

A few weeks ago when S, N and hubby were out at a chess tournament, Little D and I got down to baking this cake. I measured the ingredients while little D helped to stir, and taste the batter (not that tasting it was necessary). As this is a very simple recipe it took us less than half the usual time we normally took to bake a cake.

When the cakes came out of the oven, Little D was still unhappy. She wanted to do more. She had not stirred enough. So I decided to make some butter cream to top the cake, just so she could do her part by adding sprinkles on top.

This was the result:

When the rest came home, they wolfed down the cakes. S and N were disappointed that I did not wait for them to bake the cakes, they love baking too. Since it is such an easy recipe, we will be doing it more frequently. :)

So if you want to try it out, here's the recipe:

Black cake

8 oz self raising flour
2 oz cocoa powder (use Valhorna)
10 oz caster sugar

2 eggs (beaten)
5 oz melted butter
1 cup milk

Melt the butter and add in the sugar. Next stir in the flour, beaten eggs, and milk. Stir till smooth. Pour into a greased and floured ring pan and bake for 45 to 50 mins in a 180C/350F oven.
(Instead of doing it in a ring pan, I halfed the baking time and made cupcakes).

Monday, August 6, 2007

Am I addicted to Blogging?

Saw it on a few blogs, so decided to find out how addicted to blogging I really am. Took the quiz and this is what they say:

60%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Miami Singles from Mingle2

What a relief! 60% only. I thought I was worse. Reading the questions in the quiz I did realise that I wasn't that addicted. I still have my priorities correct. I did not neglect my family and kids just to blog. Blogging is not on my mind ALL of the time. Phew, relief.

But then again, I dont like the idea of being addicted to anything. So, I will try to cure myself of this addiction. Less posts, less comments, less visiting. Let's see if I succeed.


Friday, August 3, 2007

The results are out!!

And now, the time is near
I face the final curtain....

Yes, the cholesterol test results are out.

The good news is:

Total cholesterol is down - Yippee!
(Thanks, Quaker!)

BUT (why, must there always be a BUT!)
But I am not out of the woods yet.
Bad cholesterol (LDL) is still on the high side. - Sigh.

Considering I ditched the doctors medication,
I think I have done quite well.

So - no foie gras and crab celebration,
Nor laksa and char kway teow.
Not for now, at least.

I must still continue my acquaintance with Quaker.
No, no - not acquaintance - I must get to know him more intimately.
Must make it a habit to invite him over for a meal on a more regular basis.
Not only breakfast, maybe, even lunch, tea or supper.
Must introduce him to the rest of the family.
Must make him my best friend.
Must watch and continue this diet.

Oh, well! Life goes on... :)

Amazing Brilliance!

I logged into my kids school's e-learning website this past week. I was pleased that the school had made arrangements for the children to blog on this website . My guess is that it is to protect the kids from outsiders (read: "perverts who target kids") and also it allows the teachers to monitor the kids feelings about the going-ons in school.

I decided to read some of the blogs of my daughters' classmates, to find out more about the happenings in class, and also to get a different perspective of some of the things she has been telling me.

This is a class of 11 year olds, supposedly gifted. I was totally amazed at what they wrote. Sorry, but I am not reproducing anything they wrote, not without permission. But, believe you me, some of them had the maturity of an 18 year-old if not older. The way they had logically penned out their thoughts,(not sure if they planned - coz when I blog I dont - I just write what I feel and go with the flow) their arguements for and against something, the words that they used (I admit it puts me to shame, I had to check the dictionary to find out some meanings!!), their views and reflections. And these few brilliant ones blog everyday about anything and everything under the sun!! Their knowledge, maturity and use of language really amaze me!

It made me think of the time when hubby was teaching in the uni (some years ago), and he used to bring home scripts for marking (both everyday assignments and exam scripts). He used to share with me some of the "masterpieces", and we used to wonder what was going to happen to our future if these "so-called" uni students were to run the country in the future. Those were really like some of those jokes being passed around via e-mail nowadays.

Having read these blogs, and comparing it with those my husband used to share, these young kids win hands down! I am assured our future is now secured. Out of a class of 25, there were at least 4 who showed this brillance. Extrapolating it over the full GEP cohort of about 500 we would have at last 40, and this is not even counting those who dont even blog. Include the late bloomers (ie those not even selected for the GEP), we really do not have to worry. Our future should be in very good hands!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Do oats really reduce cholesterol?

I know Quaker advertises that it does. But has it been scientifically proven? I really dont know! Everyone swears by it tho'.

Anyway, today is d-day. Had my blood extracted by Dracula (that's her nickname at the medical centre that I go to) for my cholesterol test this morning. Results will be out tomorrow. Keeping my fingers crossed. (Toes and hair, and everything else that I can think of).

"Quaker, I am depending on you to give me good results tomorrow."

Then, maybe we can celebrate with some laksa and char kway teow for lunch, and crabs and foie gras for dinner. I have been really good these past three months - keeping my distance from these good friends of mine, and acquainting myself more with Quaker (up to 5 times a week!) and his good friends Mr Fruits and Mrs Veggie. Please, please, let what has been advertised about Quaker be true!! If not I may just have to sue them for false advertising!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Rocking Blogger Award cum Charity Meme

My friend bp thinks that I rock. Hence she awarded me with this:

Me rock? I really dont think so. The only rocking I do, is to rock Little D to sleep. Sometimes. Hmmm. Maybe bp knows something I don't. So, thanks BP for the award.

With the award bp also tagged me. It is a charity tag in aid of Darul Izzah Orphanage.

For each of this meme completed (at least 17 out of the 27 sentences below), generous Idham will donate RM127.00 to the Orphanage, provided it's done by 26 Aug.

So, without further ado, here's my contribution of all 27 sentences:

1. A person is only as good as...he wants to be.
2. Friendship is always... being there for your friends.
3. To love is
4. Money makes me... want to go shopping.
5. I freedom.
6. My way of saying I care is... doing the little things.
7. I try to spread love and happiness...whenever I can.
8. Pick the flowers when... you want to brighten up someone's day.
9. To love someone is... to trust completely.
10. Beauty is... only skin deep!
11. When I was thirteen, what I remember the most was...having the best time in my life in school.
12. When I was twenty one, I remember... I was busy slogging out for my final year exams in university.
13. I am most happy... When I am with my loved ones.
14. Nothing makes me happier than... when I can share some joy with others.
15. If I can change one thing... I would have eloped for my wedding.
16. If smiles were... on everyone's face, then everyone must be happy.
17. Wouldn't it be nice if we could... have peace on earth, goodwill amongst man.
18. If you want to have... a pretty face, you must go to bed early.
19. Money is not everything but... unfortunately it is something that everyone works too hard for.
20. The most touching moments I have experienced is...when in a medical crisis, my hubby told me that he wanted the best care possible for me, cost was irrelevant.
21. I smile when... my kids do the darnest things.
22. When I am happy... I try to spread the joy.
23. If only I don't have... to worry about the future, then I would be totally carefree!
24. The best thing I did yesterday was... having morning coffee with my friends.
25. If I ever write a book, I will give it this title..."Musings of a Stay-at-home Mum".
26. One thing I must do before I die... is to remember to ask God to forgive me for whatever wrong I have done, but am not aware of.
27. Doing this meme, I feel like... I am reviewing my life.

So what I am doing now is to pass on the tag and charity meme to the real rockers:

Prayer of St Francis

Just thought that I would share Prayer of St Francis with you all:

"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."

Well, I am leaving everything in the hands of the Lord. There is so little that we can do. Our time here on earth is short. We just have to go on, come what may.
And, NO, I am not going to stop blogging!