Afterthoughts of camp

It seems like 4 days has gone by in a flash. Numerous new friendships were forged and existing ones strengthened. Through this camp, I’ve discovered more about myself, TTB and other seniors who also joined the camp.

Firstly, I’ve to thank JQ and Pauline for being there for the group and taking over my responsibilities when I hurt my foot. It tugged at my heartstrings that both of you took up the added responsibilities that were not required of the oga – bringing the group for treasure hunt and beach games.

My dear Subby who took me to the chiropracture and hospital. I am touched by the great lengths you took to get me there and bearing with my frustrations and moodiness from the injury.

If you’re wondering what happened, the group was playing a game such that everyone have to squeeze their feet into a small area of a mat and sing “twinkle twinkle little star”. In the midst of that, it became “London bridge is falling down” and someone stepped on my foot which caused a great big patch of blue black and a skin graze on the last toe.

I’m amused at what the doctor wrote about me

“Main complaints/History

left foot stepped on by another person this morning

now has bruising and pain over dorsum of foot

no other injury”

My prescription included a sachet of muscle relaxant aka sleeping pills.  :shock:

[Insert chinese words] 25

A pretty new mandarin reality show that acts as advertisements for the company as well. I watched 15mins of it and I can’t bear to watch those girls degrade themselves anymore. They act so despotic, bimboish and not to mention they aren’t even hot. They skip around and speak like a script has been written for them. When I say ACT, I do mean ACT. They can’t even pull it off properly. I suggest adding special sound effects to make it a comedy.
American’s top models is far more entertaining. It’s a better reflection of bimbos under pressure. Plus, they’re eye candy too.

The down side of a cosmopolitian society?

After a long day in school from 9am (GEK) to 6.30pm (LSM), Subby and I went to NYDC to have dinner. As we were walking towards Buona Vista MRT on the secluded pathway between Holland V and the bus terminal, a group of teenage caucasians were heading in the opposite direction. They looked like they just had a party, with some of the girls carrying balloons. As they walked pass us, one of the boys made a sign with his hand and waved it in front of us. I couldn’t make out what it meant as the lighting was very dim but it didn’t look like a thumb up or anything positive.

I was taken aback when he did that as no stranger has ever showed such a outright display of unhappiness towards me before. I speculated that it was some sort of vulgarity and racist gesture aimed at me and soon began to feel crossed. This didn’t not happen when I’m a minority in a foreign land, it happened right here where I was born, bred and lived for the past twenty years.

After we boarded the Marina Bay train, Subby spotted a big board which had words of protest against Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Fa Lun Gong1

There was a man and a lady guarding the board and they started giving out flyers to commuters around. This lady took a flyer from them. Beneath the flyer is a newspaper. When her friend asked her what it is, she said “Fa Lun Gong”. Her friend’s expression showed signs of fear and they started whispering softly. The two people attracted the attention of many commuters around the area as well. If you’re holding a board with such strong words, you bet you’ll attract attention. They soon turned the board the other way around to reveal a newspaper article.

Fa Lun Gong2

After witnessing such an event up close and personal, I can’t help feel that these people are threatening the security of my home by gathering supporters against our government. I respect Mr Lee as a great man who brought our nation from 3rd world to 1st in just two generations. I can’t help but cringe when I read the board on the train. In case you haven’t heard about them, Fa Lun Gong is banned in Singapore, and for good reasons from what I saw.

People used to get fine for littering and spitting chewing gum. By the broken window theory, our island became a safe place to live in because the person who was caught for thowing a cigarette butt on the floor could be off to rob someone. As we prosper, we soon began to demand more freedom and say in our governance. There is now a feedback unit, the MPs interacts with the people in order to find out their needs. However, there is a surge in litter around the island as well. Take a look at the open field beside Jurong East MRT and the beach at ECP and you’ll know what I mean. I’m sure it isn’t restricted to these areas since the papers have published the litter problem as well. Perhaps this small little crack in the window have lead to more daring occurances as what I have witnessed today. Perhaps it is time to start catching litter bugs again.

Homeschooling or mainstream?

Today’s papers had an article about parents who homeschool their children. I thought it was an interesting and good concept. The children have a few hours of formal lessons and mostly learn from everyday experiences and play. It was reported that all of them did much better than the national average and even scored in papers from top primary schools.

Having been in mainstream all my life, I do agree that for most part of my education, school snubbed the interest out of me. How is drawing blocks for math in pri school ever going to relate to me in the future? I’m not going to draw blocks to share a pie equally with my friends and I’m definitely not going to draw blocks if someone owes me 1/2 of $100. I’ll just use the calculator. I never saw how graphs, trees and matrices in secondary school is related to computers nor how knowledge in biology can prevent me from being conned into buying unnecessary health supplements. It was mostly solving somone else’s problem. Jane who could not divide a pie properly, how to extract the components of crude oil and writing a condolence letter to your best friend Kelly. Hello…my best friend isn’t Kelly? I don’t know who Kelly is and my best friend definitely didn’t fail her exams. If she does, I’ll be talking to her and not writing a letter.

Flawed as mainstream education may be, there are still important lessons that mainstream education imparted to most of us. It allows people of the same age to interact with each other, form friendships and grow up together. That, I feel, is what homeschooling doesn’t do for a child. How would you know the tactful thing to say or do at a particular circumstance or the acceptable way to behave if the only yardstick that you have to compare with are your siblings (who’s equally homeschooled) and your parents? We learn because we’ve made these mistakes before. We’ve embarassed ourselves, we trusted someone and has been betrayed, we were talked behind our backs before, we were stared at for saying the wrong things…

Much as we complain about how much we have to memorise and the rigidity of the system we’ve been through, we can’t do without rote memorising. It is part and parcel of learning. Nonetheless, the school’s curriculum could give more space for mistakes and creativity. Why give an imaginary best friend when most of us will have one? Perhaps they could set a question which asks us to write a letter to our best friend about how much we appreciate them. I remember that in secondary school, we would be penalised if we made any mistakes in our science experiments and gave the incorrect observations. I’m glad that they do not do that in uni. Instead, we are asked to give possible reasons why our results deviates from what the correct observations would be. Although, it is much more difficult to write such a report, it gives space for personal thought and reflection. Most of us found it difficult to adapt to this new way of writing reports as we are so used to having fixed answers in the past. It’s either right or wrong. We are rewarded if we did the experiment correctly and penalised if we did it wrongly.

I’ve noticed major changes in the education system here for the past few years. There’s no longer the EM1. EM2 and EM3 stigma and studying in jc just got more competitive and demanding with the h1, h2 and h3. Even some of the knowlege that we acquire in secondary school is being to taught to primary school children. There are discussions about making language learning more interesting. Yes, it is consolating that the ministry is always trying to improve on what we have and making it better for future generations. But, do they see what appeals? Sometimes, it’s not about integrating pop culture or what is cool into the curriculum. We just want to see how of what we are learning is related to us and not be fault for making mistakes. Afterall, 3M made a mistake in their adhesive and developed post-its, why can’t we?