Today I learned: There is a big difference between bus 971E and 951E. The former takes you from Dhoby Ghaut to Royal Plaza Hotel on Scotts Road.
The latter goes from Dhoby Ghaut to Woodlands.
On the CTE.
All the way.
From Orchard Road.
Woodlands Ave 5.
As you sit in the bus.
Wondering how you are going to make it back to Lido IMAX for your Dunkirk movie.
I didn't even bring my passport.
(I need new glasses, man.)
I thought you might like to see the conversation we had when it happened.
The Carousell chat box has some default buttons like “Yes, it’s still available!” and “Please make an offer to exchange feedback later :)”. I think they should have more. Here are my suggestions.
1. The “Do not insult me with that offer.” Reply Button
2. The “Don't be pathetic.” Reply Button
3. The “Nobody cares that you are student and have no money and you desperately need this toy.” Reply Button
4. The “There is no final final final price.” Reply Button
5. The “I would rather throw it in this dustbin in front of me now than sell it to you for that price.” Reply Button
6. The “That is so lowball that the scrotal skin of that lowball is dragging on the floor now.” Reply Button
7. The “I am sorry, that is too far and I don't have my passport.” Reply Button
8. The “No, I am not sending you another photo of myself in this dress, you perv.” Reply Button
9. The “I cannot hold this item for you until next year.” Reply Button
10. The “No, I am not Courts, there is no instalment plan payment scheme.” Reply Button
Me: "I just wanna pick up some toothpaste for my trip. Since we are here, maybe you call home and find out what else we are short of."
We walk out of the supermarket with $106 of groceries.
Update: I didn't get my toothpaste in the end because they don't sell travel-sized ones. So annoying.
Me, trying to pull out the key Faith broke inside my bedroom door handle: "Darn it, my tools can't get it out."
Wife: "Here, try this pair of pliers!"
Me: "Ah good! Thanks. You know, I used to have needle-nose pliers just like these in my toolbox but I can't seem to find them."
Wife: "Oh, these are yours, from your toolbox. I er, borrowed them some time ago."
Me: ( ..•˘___˘• .. )
At one point, I even called the locksmith. Bear in mind, my iPhone was inside the locked master bedroom. So I came up with the idea of using my Apple Watch to call him.
"Siri, call Locksmith."
It worked! The Apple Watch connected to the iPhone inside the room via Bluetooth and dialed.
"Hello?" said the Locksmith, somewhat loudly.
"Is this Ah Boy? My key is broken inside the lock of my master bedroom!" I said, into the Watch.
"What kind of lock is it?" he said, impatiently, sounding like he was preoccupied with another job.
"It is the handle type of lock, you installed it for me the last time another key broke inside my old lock," I replied.
"I can't tell like that, you take a photo and send to me."
"But my phone is in the locked room, and I…" I tried to explain, but he hung up.
Magnet didn't work. Because the key wasn't made of magnetic metal. In the end, I managed to tease the broken half of the key out with surgical precision, after trying for half an hour with different tools and pliers. In the end, I teased the broken key out with two nail files.
I held the broken key in my hand and raised it high. like I just pulled out King Arthur's Excalibur from the Stone.
Small victories like this make a simple man happy. And also saving the ninety bucks that it would have cost me to get Ah Boy to come down and drill out the old lock, and replace it with a new one.
Old Days Situation:
1. Someone cuts your lane or
2. Never gives up bus/MRT seat or
3. Behaves in a generally lao lan way.
Old Days Response:
1. Exchange some angry words or ignore it.
2. Forget about it the next minute.
3. Carry on with life.
1. Someone cuts your lane or
2. Never gives up bus/MRT seat or
3. Behaves in a generally lao lan way.
1. Exchange some angry words.
2. Get into fisticuffs.
2, Take each other’s photo with smartphone.
3. Take each other’s video with smartphone.
4. Deploy in-car cam/GoPro video footage.
5. Go home and edit all collected media into an epic 3-hour-long Steven Spielberg movie.
6. Upload the entire video with annotations to Facebook and/or YouTube.
7. Write accompanying long essay about the incident.
8. Ask for CSI.
9. CSI the wrong people.
10. Publish information of wrongly-CSI-ed people on Facebook and clickbait websites of questionable journalistic repute.
11. CSI again for the real culprit because the first CSI was wrong.
12. Make police report.
13. Invite commenters who say these people must be foreigners and that Ah Tiong/FT Indian/Chow Ang Moh are all like this and should lose job/lose business/lose employment pass/be deported.
14. Blame Gahmen for letting FT trash like these Ah Tiong/FT Indian/Chow Ang Moh in.
15. New public dispute arises, old one is forgotten.
16. Rinse and repeat.
I am home again, after a few months of continuous travel. The wife immediately deployed me to manage Faith on Sunday as she sat down with the two younger ones for exam revision.
My job was to keep Faith from getting bored, and really, there is only so much an iPod playing her favorite YouTube videos can do. You eventually need to give her a car ride and some outside air.
So I took her for her car ride, and then for a walk at nex mall. My jet-lagged mind decided that was a good idea.
On. A. Sunday. Afternoon.
Yeah, I know right?
She was fine, at first. She dragged me around to see stuff. Then at a particular corner of the mall, I think her autistic senses got overwhelmed and she decided to run into the massage chair shop and sit at the cashier counter.
"So sorry!" I said apologetically to the staff there, rushing to get her out of there.
"不用紧，慢慢来！" (Don't worry about it, take your time!) one kind lady staff said, smiling, as I tried to get Faith out of the chair and out the shop. Pulling her off the chair only made things worse, and Faith lay down on the floor, refusing to budge.
"Come, Faith, stand up. We go home, ok?" I said, trying to coax her off the floor. Then after a few tries, she listened, and got up. She took my hand, and we walked/ran to the entrance. But when she reached the line separating the shop and the common corridor, it was like she hit an invisible wall and she u-turned, making her way back to the cashier's counter.
More coaxing from me, and she finally made it past the force field, dashing away from the shop before I could say thank you to the patient and understanding ladies at the shop. Down the broken escalator we went (nex, when are you going to fix that stupid escalator that is causing a bottleneck every time???), and then out the building to the open space.
I thought we could make it all the way to the open-air car park where the car was parked, but she decided to detour to the playground. And then she sat down at the benches, as if to say, "I am so done with the sensory overload and I am going to sit here and rest."
She shook off her shoes and made herself at home.
Once more, I gave her my inspirational speech that would have moved men to tears and the downtrodden to fight for their freedom. In my most William Wallace voice, I said, "Come Faith, wear your shoes. Let's go home. The car is just around the corner."
She frowned at me, her shoes still off.
"Come Faith, wear your shoes. Let's go. The car is so near and Mommy and your siblings are waiting to go to Popo house. You like Popo's house, right?"
It took a few tries but she finally put her shoes back on, and followed me back to the car.
My friend Robert, whose son is also autistic, commented that his son teaches him every day he is not in control.
I agree with Robert. It is a profound lesson for a control freak like me. Robert went on to say of his son, "If he wants to stay put I sit next to him and stay until he decides it is OK to go."
Like Robert with his son, I have found that getting physical with Faith only makes things worse. It gets harder too, as she is now bigger and stronger.
You also learn to develop a very thick skin, because these sensory meltdown episodes happen in full view of the public very often, so you appreciate it tremendously when people show understanding and acceptance.
We are mindful of Faith's condition when we go out, but at the same time, we do not want to completely shut her away, out of this world. So we try, a little at the time, to expose her to places where there are new people, new noises, and different stimuli, in the hope that her autistic senses learn to cope and adapt.
In the process, we, her family, also learn a little more about ourselves. We learn to let go. We learn there is a new normal. We learn to cope and adapt, to change the things we can change, and to accept the things we cannot.
You can say Theo and I go way back. I taught Theo in my Sunday School class when he was 5 or 6 years old. And his father was the pastor who married my wife and me.
And now he is all grown up and has his own eatery called 吃Western at Blk 206 Toa Payoh North, Singapore 310206.
Go check it out. My family and I enjoyed his western food at reasonable coffee shop prices.
I'm on a road trip with mom through South Island, New Zealand.
It's not our first trip together. Among other trips, Mom and I have done Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen in Surabaya, trained our way from Tokyo to Hokkaido and trudged through lovely Japanese snow (including our favorite town of Higashikawa) and now we driving though the south of New Zealand.
From a very young age, my two younger brothers and I have been travelling with my parents and we learned to do it without joining a tour. Pa was airline staff and we got free tickets yearly but hotels and the rest were not free. So the only way to do it affordably was to rent a car and drive the brood through places like the islands of Hawaii (we covered pretty much all the islands) and the Grand Canyon.
And to save more money, we stayed in dodgy motels, or apartments with kitchenettes so that mom could cook, instead of us eating expensive overseas food (the US dollar was three Singapore dollars in the old days, and one Euro was more than SGD2).
There was a no-popcorn rule when we went to Disneyland as kids. We didn't understand why back then but look, a tub of that stuff was USD10. Which was SGD30. Which was a small fortune in the 1970s and 1980s. So, no popcorn. And meals were Mom's fried rice in a Tupperware, freshly cooked that morning in the hotel room with a Sanyo electric hotplate cooker.
This was the time before GPS and the Internet, mind you. So my old man drove, and my mom navigated the American continent or the Australian Outback with paper maps, and a lot of arguing. The entire family all developed the ability to adapt. After all, you can't google your way through your travel problems, or book a flight or a hotel room with your phone in those days.
Travelling solo with my mother in the recent years is still as fun as travelling with my parents and brothers back then. She is 75 years old now, and here are some random things I learned travelling with her.
1. Always be prepared for sudden toilet breaks. Old people need frequent toilet breaks. Myself included.
2. Always pack random food items. I'm an ultralight traveller and refuse to overpack. But I have to say, my mother's stash of 2-in-1 coffee and cup noodles were lifesavers when we were too tired to go out and eat.
3. You are never too old to play with ducks.
4. Destinations are just points between which you stop for New Zealand flat whites.
5. It's not where you go, it's who you go with. I am blessed to have a mother who is an awesome traveller. Traveller, not tourist.
6. Hotels or motels must have a television. No TV? Minus four stars. TVs provide ambient sound as you go about your business. And also become a source of shared entertainment as you both try to answer the questions on quiz shows together. Or laugh at local cop shows showing the mild crimes that highway cops deal with.
7. You can talk to any stranger. Mother has the amazing ability to befriend anyone on the street. Be it singers at the Oamaru Sunday Farmers' Market, baristas in a coffee shop, or an elderly German couple who are on a seven-week camper van road trip through New Zealand. Or birds. I suspect that is where I get it from, because I talk to strangers on Twitter and my Facebook all the time.
8. Always ensure you've downloaded your Oldies Spotify playlist before embarking on your next long road journey, so you can both sing along to Frank Sinatra and Andy Williams. And reminisce about the singers and songs my late father loved.
9. Don't let Mom enter a supermarket. She will buy enough to last you two zombie apocalypses.
10. Do let Mom enter a supermarket. And let her buy what she wants. Because she know how to buy the best fruits, and snacks, and breakfast items at the best price. And you'll be thanking her when you tuck into the ham and cheese sandwich in the morning.
11. Your iPhone 7 Plus may be able to pull down travel and map info on the fly, but Mom's National-Library-borrowed Lonely Planet dead tree edition works without batteries or the internet. And works even when you're out at Milford Sound with no mobile coverage (shame on you, Vodafone).
12. Don’t ask your mother where small jars of jam, small cakes of butter, and the random banana come from. Just eat.
13. You never know when you might need these bottles of branded hotel-sized shampoo, conditioner, body gel and body lotion. Good for the kids when they go swimming back home. Good for the crappy hotels you may stay in, down the road, that may provide lousy unbranded toiletries. You might even want to start a shop with the collection one day.
14. She makes jokes about your snoring drowning out the TV she is watching at night. You make jokes about her morning farts.
15. “This looks like a nice little town on the map.” usually results in a drive through some off-road countryside, across several rivers, that leads to a town with just one building. Or the edge of Paradise.
16. You learn where you picked up the travel habit of washing your underwear and hanging them wherever there is a place to hang something.
17. Just when you think she has filled her one luggage, she whips out a folding bag made of the indestructible China/Thai plastic/cardboard that can take about 45 litres of shopping.
18. Travel with your parents while they are still mobile. They won’t be able to travel forever. Age, and two fractures in the ankle and knee from hiking in Vietnam a few years ago, can slow a mother down. Even the strongest trees grow old.
19. When she decides she really wants to have Indian food in the middle of nowhere in South Island, she will find it. And it will be worth the search somehow. That was some yummy Chicken Madras and Chicken Tikka Masala, man.
20. You can take the Geography and Art teacher out of the school but you can’t take the Geography and Art teacher out of your mother. And you appreciate the geography and beauty of New Zealand even more in her company.
21. It is ok to drive up the steepest road in the world, and acknowledge that your old knees aren't going to take you up Baldwin Street.
22. And above all, stay curious, open and always willing to see and learn new things.
[All images made by me, mostly with a Panasonic Lumix GH5 and Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm F2.8-4 lens, a Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 II lens, and an iPhone 7 Plus sometimes.]
Some of you asked for a translation of the words I used in my convo with my kids in the last post. I thought I'd provide a dictionary of sorts.
j/k: Just Kidding or Joking.
IKR: I Know Right?
Sensi: Sensitive. (Shoutout to Carissa for teaching me this one.)
Lit: Excellent (sometimes used with AF, as in Lit AF. AF doesn't mean Auto-Focus.). Nothing to do with the Literature subject, which was what I first thought it meant.
Totes: Totally. The few seconds you save from not saying the last two syllables will help you be more efficient. Somewhat confusing when used to describe an actual tote bag, as in "I totes need a new totes."
Throw Shade: Criticize or condemn. In Singapore, where it is hot, sheltered walkways also throw shade, but it doesn't mean the same thing.
IDK: I don't know.
On Fleek: On point, perfect. Started out describing eyebrows. Don't ask me why.
Triggered: Filled with hate or activated by something that sets you off. Like The Winter Soldier after you read a list of secret words.
I can't even: So overwhelming/funny/frustrating that you can't even finish your sentence. Sometimes without even a full stop. Frequently used with the word "literally", as in "I literally can't even". The use of "literally" triggers me though.
POMO: Post-modern, self-consciously so.
Sorry not sorry: Not really sorry. Like when the gahmen apologizes.
It's the March school holidays and the kids have a week to be at home to bug me. Isaac and Joy have their friend, Matt, over for a sleepover. Yes, I have an extra tween in my household but he's a good boy and it's fun to have him over.
As we walked back from Lickers, my fave waffle and ice-cream haunt, after some post-dinner waffle and ice-cream, Joy told me about their day of play.
"Matt trolled me today."
"Ya, I said I wasn't gonna come over but actually I was. j/k lah," Matt said.
"So he was j/k ah?" I asked.
"Eh Pa, you're not a Millennial," Joy replied, with mock horror on her face.
"IKR?" I continued.
"Paaaa…" said my youngest daughter.
"Don't be so sensi can or not?" I said with hurt in my eyes.
"Noooo…" Joy pleaded.
"But I thought my slang is so lit right now. Totes," I said, on a roll now.
"Stahp!" said my hapless daughter, beginning to laugh.
"j/k only, j/k only. Don't need to throw shade at me," I said to her.
"Ugh," Joy said, giggling.
"Actually Papa needs to cut his hair again," I declared, in a moment of digression.
"Ooh! Dye it another color!" Joy suggested.
"IDK, I thought I'd stay with blue. My blue hair is on fleek," I didn't even know what I saying by now. What's a "fleek"?
"Kill me now," said Joy.
"You're so triggered, I can't even-"
By that time, all she could do was chase me at the void deck and to tickle me in retaliation for my slang fest.
Parents, embarrassing our kids with our hipness since forever. Hey, what can I say, I'm POMO. Sorry not sorry.
"We don't need to go to my Mom's today," my wife said. That meant taking the brood out for dinner on a Sunday night.
As I tried to figure out where to take them, my youngest told me about her morning in church.
"Today some boy said my iPhone 4s was a noob phone."
"That's not very nice," I said.
"Ya! I told him it wasn't a noob phone, it's a vintage phone, bruh!"
That was not a bad answer, I thought. Joy's well-used iPhone 4s used to belong to her mother, and has been repaired at the neighbourhood repair shop twice (the first time to replace the aging battery, and the second time, a year later, to replace the shattered screen). It may not be the Nokia 3310 of iPhones but it is certainly one of the most repairable.
Isaac was unpacking his bag from Scout Camp and telling me about his three days away. I reminded him to repack for his Secondary Two camp that will happen in a few days. I don't recall having so many school camps when I was a kid. But I quite like that they get to gain some independence away from home, which is why the boy has been allowed to go for camps since he was very young.
"Make sure you shower daily," I nagged, remembering the time he went through one camp without showering.
A few days ago, the wife and I sat in the son's classroom and attended the Parent-Teacher Meeting where they discussed options for the Secondary Two boys, things like choosing the subject combinations for Secondary Three, and understanding Polytechnic entry requirements like the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) and the Direct-Entry Scheme into Polytechnic Programme (DPP). Sure, most parents want their kid to be in the Express and "higher" streams but parents need to know and embrace the pace which is best for our children.
We really appreciate the dedication that his teachers have for his class.
As I talked to Isaac about packing strategies for his camp, Faith was listening to her music from the living room Sonos speakers. She recently learned that music would play when she pressed the > button on top of either speaker (watch the cute little video here). You may think your severely autistic firstborn doesn't know stuff, but she obviously watches and observes and figures out how things work.
I don't mind because when she is listening to music from the living room speakers, she does not ask for her iPod. And less device time is always good. She does enjoy her music like any teenager, even though she is autistic.
The family never stops trying to teach her new things, like housework, as seen in this video taken by my helper. Marian decided that Faith could learn to help with her pillows and patiently taught Faith how to do it. The music you hear in the background is from the speakers, switched on by Faith. She really likes that song by Kirk Franklin a lot. It's "A God Like You", from his Hello Fear album, in case you are wondering.
After some deliberation (and begging from the two younger ones), I decided to take the family to Bishan Park for fast food, and pick up my mother from her mahjong session along the way there.
"Wait! I want to comb Faith's hair before we go, it is so messy," the wife said.
Faith was a little squirmy and Joy jumped in to help hold her still while Mommy combed Cheh Cheh's hair.
I have to say, Bishan Park is really nice. People were jogging, cycling, walking their dogs, and kids were enjoying the space. I can see why PM did one of his televised speeches there.
The family found a table while I parked the car. As I wandered through the park, I could not help stopping to take a few photos with my iPhone.
"Do come over, dear," the wife said, when she called me on the phone. "Come and help the kids with the order first before you take your photos, ok?"
"Coming, coming," I replied, but I snapped a few more shots of the glorious sunset before running over.
Eh, good light waits for no photographer, ok?
Me: "Joy, do you have any cute stickers I can stick on my AirPods case?"
Queen of Stickers, Joy: "I got ya, bruh."
Me: "Oi, that's Papa to you. Oooh that's a cute duck."
I had to do this to distinguish my review-unit AirPods from my wife's (I bought her a pair as a Christmas pressie).
How do I feel about them so far? Well, having lived with them for a few months now, here is my assessment.
The pairing process is wicked fast and painless. You open a new pair of AirPods and your iPhone will detect them and ask if you want to pair them. You say "Yes" and it's done. None of that pressing some button until a blue light blinks etc.
Once you pair them, it is paired across all the Apple devices you use that are logged in via your Apple ID. So you don't have to pair them again with your iPad Pro, Apple TV 4 or Apple Watch. That's also very neat.
The other neat thing is that AirPods work out of their case. You take them out and wear them, and your iPhone knows and auto-connects. There is no need to turn them on. Place them back into the case, and you auto-disconnect and the buds are charged. The AirPods last five hours on one charge and the case that is also a powerbank for the buds will let you use the AirPods for up to 24 hours. A quick-charge option gives you three hours of use if you charge them inside the case for fifteen minutes.
Will you lose them easily? Not really. I find myself putting them back into the case when not in use. Like my favorite Erato Apollo 7, you can't hang them around your neck and forget them.
I also like how the AirPods know when you take one earbud off and will auto-pause the music or video, and resume when you put them back on. It doesn't always work but it works enough of the time to make it very convenient. Using the AirPods for phone calls is also very good, with the mics picking up your voice so well, the other party thinks you are holding the iPhone to your ear.
Double-tap one of the AirPods while you are wearing them, and you can get Siri to do stuff. You can also set the double-tap to do other things instead of Siri, like pause and play.
What do I not like about them? The audio quality is about what you get out of the EarPods you get free with your iPhone. These aren't audiophile earphones by any stretch of the imagination. The isolation isn't great too, and you can still hear the ambient sound from your surroundings when you wear them. My Erato Apollo 7 has way better sound and isolation.
I also wish I could control the volume or skip tracks using the double-tap but the only way you can currently do that is to double-tap for Siri, and tell Siri, "Lower the volume by 50 percent." or "Next track."
So, that S$238 you are paying for is mainly the battery life, the ease of use, and the ease of pairing.
That said, these are the most convenient wireless earphones I've used with my iPhone. Now if only Apple can make them less dorky-looking by shortening the stems. And improve the audio quality, darn it.
There you go, the good and the bad things about the new AirPods. The few flaws I've noted don't seem to have affected their popularity or sales, I think. There is a six-week waiting time for a pair on Apple's online store as of now. And I can't find them in physical stores right now.
This comment by Edmund, on my blog, made me laugh out loud:
"When my school organised a viewing of the solar eclipse for students last year, one of the parents actually asked why we must schedule the event on a weekend and if we can reschedule it.
[Sunset taken in Tokyo, from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, on one of my trips to Japan last year.]
Some parent just asked at a school's P5 Camp Briefing if the P5 Camp is a weighted assessment. Really? You had to ask that question?
Let me clear that up for you. Of course it is weighted. Better get some tuition for the camp activities like Cheering Before Meals, Not Being Homesick, and Morning Ownself Showers.
I heard that some students even got into the top schools via the P5 Camp DSA. I heard some of the Independent Schools really want some national-level P5 Campers.
If you want your child to score at P5 Camp, you may even want to send him/her to some Mock P5 Camps before the real thing. Some of these camps even combine P5 Camp training with abacus and mind-mapping courses, killing two birds with one stone.
There are already a few P5 Camp ten-year series assessment books available at Popular Bookstore. Go grab them. Make sure you buy the assessment books with the detachable answers at the back. You know, the ones where the answer pages can be torn off. Or else your kid may try to check the tougher Camp answers when he is stuck on the test questions. The topic "Caring for One Another" can be quite hard.
In fact, P5 Camp is even an unspoken criteria in some Gahmen scholarships. The last five President's Scholars scored distinctions in P5 Camp.
So better get cracking and make sure your child wins Best P5 Camper.
Oh, since we are on the topic, Recess is also a weighted assessment.
Postscript: I was informed that the teacher who was asked that question was stunned. The camp organizer mentioned this was the first time he was ever asked such a question. The rest of the theatre of parents laughed, which is a good sign.
Faith's youngest sister, Joy, is babysitting Puffy the rabbit for a friend. Seems like Faith's autism didn't stop her from enjoying the company of Puffy.
Puffy probably thought Faith had food in that packet Faith was playing with. Faith enjoys playing with crinkly things, it seems to calm her sensory issues. I also think the rabbit adores her, for some reason beyond my limited comprehension.
It was fascinating to watch my firstborn interact with our new house guest.
📷: Auntie Marian
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/MeKq3_R6yPE
Ryan and I are in Taiwan visiting Taitung and a few other cities.
More on the Taitung stories in a later blog post but today, we are in Kaohsiung. Our day in this southern city of Taiwan encapsulated the mrbrown School of Travel:
We were cycling around Kaohsiung on free Giant bicycles provided by our wonderful hotel, and we stumbled upon a ferry terminal and scores of motorcyclists and some cyclists boarding it. (Note to self: Install a basket on my bicycles when I get home. Bicycle baskets rule.)
Me: "Let's go!"
Me, after we board the ferry: "What pier were we at just now ah?"
Ryan: "Not really sure."
Me: "Where does this ferry go ah?"
Ryan: "Dunno also."
So here I was, following the locals up the We-Don't-Know-Where-This-Goes ferry. We parked our steeds at one side, so as not to block others boarding the ferry.
For someone who doesn't know where he is going, I looked pretty pleased with myself.
This kid is so darn cute.
After a short voyage, it was time to disembark.
When we got off the ferry, we finally checked our map app and found out this is Cijin Ferry Pier.
And where we boarded the ferry was Gushan Ferry Pier. ORH, now we know.
Heng the ferry didn't take us to Hong Kong or something. That would be bad, because we didn't pack a change of underwear in our daypacks.
Cijin turned out to be quite fun to cycle around. We rode along Cijin Coast Park and also went up to the Cihou Fort.
I know, I know. I am very random.
Dear Ms Lee Wei Yin,
Wow. I just read your letter to the papers and the sense of entitlement is astounding.
"The school is providing a service, with its customers being primarily the students who are minors, and the parents. Students need constant chaperoning."
Excuse me, a school is a not service. It is a partner in the educating of your kids. Students are not its "customers" and neither are teachers the only ones responsible for the education of your children.
You don't get to treat schools like commercial tuition centres, that you pay for. Even commercial tuition centres have working hours for their staff. Why should schools be any different?
"Parents pick schools with the "best service" to maximise the potential of their children. They have a strong preference for schools with the best results in major exams and strong showing at co-curricular activity (CCA) competitions, which means extra class time and training to boost results."
The schools with the best results in major exams and strong CCA are not doing well just because they put their teachers through extra hours. Many schools have the buy-in and commitment from parents too. Perhaps schools should in future, get to pick parents with the "best service" to the school to ensure they maximize the potential of their students.
"Most parents have full-time jobs and are not able to attend meet-the-parents sessions or student performances during normal school hours. Therefore, it is not realistic to have such sessions during weekday school hours."
Hello, teachers are also people with full-time jobs.
If you cannot make time to attend meet-the-parents sessions or student presentations during normal school hours, then too bad so sad, don't go. That's your choice and prerogative.
But don't expect schools and teachers to bend over backwards to accommodate your obviously super busy schedule.
Even childcare centres charge you extra money for every moment you are late picking up your children. They don't care if you have full-time jobs and cannot make it on time. And schools are not childcare centres.
"All this comes at a price for everyone involved."
Seems to me the price is being paid by the teachers themselves.
"Therefore, more teachers are needed on such occasions."
Frankly, I think the reason we have 5,000 teachers quitting in the last five years is because of attitudes like yours.
It's hard enough to replace the teachers leaving and you still want the MOE to "cut class size and share the work load"?
Meaning hire MORE teachers? From where? Who would want to join the education sector where parents treat schools like they are the customer? And you think good teachers grow on trees?
Eh, you go and join lah. Be a teacher and help to "share the work load" leh.
mrbrown, son of a former teacher of forty years, who was also a full-time mother and full-time wife.
Original Letter: Working after school hours part of 'service'