The Welcoming Committee mobilized again, this time to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
No word on whether the royal couple will be having tea with the Royal Pandas.
Prince William and Kate should visit one of Singapore's biggest and newest icons, our casinos. I can arrange good exchange rate for their British pound (SGD1 to £1 — good right?).
I understand they have already gotten an orchid named after them, the Vanda William Catherine. From the news, I discovered that we actually have an orchid named after Jackie Chan, the Dendrobium Jackie Chan. I wonder if it is a flower that gets into comical fights a lot and does its own stunts.
I heard Kai Kai and Jia Jia may also be getting their own orchid like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It will be named Vanda the Panda. @inrsoul suggests calling it The Kungfu Vanda.
My friend remarked, "Har? They taking William and Kate go Queenstown for what. The Queen of Queenstown going to meet them ah."
They should ask to see the HDB executive maisonette flat in Queenstown that sold for $1 million.
According to Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, the National Conversation exercise will not set out to slaughter sacred cows. “It’s not a culling session,” he said, “I don’t think we should start our Singapore conversation on the basis of looking for sacred cows to slay… I don’t think that would be a constructive exercise."
Ok, so if we are not slaughtering any sacred cows, then how about pushing the sacred cow over a bit? You know, cow tipping?
And how shall we know who are the sacred cows? Are they wearing some kind of uniform?
What if Singaporeans don't mind not slaying any sacred cows, but just want to tickle the udders of the sacred cows a bit?
And for Singaporeans who don't eat meat, will they be able to slay sacred pumpkins?
PAP's Sim Ann quotes her friend suggesting that the sacred cows of Cow Peh and Cow Bu be slain first. I think we must first cull the sacred bird: Jiao Way (but that would kill all conversation in Singapore, especially mine).
PM asked that the conversation be balanced. And talked about stones.
"As I used to say, we leave no stones unturned. But some stones, after we look at them, the original place was quite nice, and we put them back," he said.
But once you turn a stone, it is very hard to put back in the same place in the exact same way leh. Do we also plan to dust and polish the stones after we turn them, before we put them back in their original place? Perhaps this National Conversation is less of a Stone Overturning exercise but more of a Stone Spring-Cleaning exercise?
And if we pick up the stone, are we allowed to throw the stone at someone? Maybe at a sacred cow?
But if the stone is inside the sacred cow, are we allowed to slay the cow to get the stone out then put it back inside the cow if the stone looked fine in its original place? We promise to sew back the sacred cow.
Also hor, got some people say the National Conversation panel a bit the not-balance.
This morning, I pointed out to the kids that the holidays were over and I could now get rid of them. I even sang a little ditty I made up on the spot.
Joy groaned at the reminder but Isaac played along, saying, "Yeaaaah! The holiday is over! Tomorrow we go to klehzz!"
"Klehz your head. C-L-A-S-S is klahs. No fake American accents allowed in this household." I declared. "You think you are Singapore DJ ah?"
"Pa! Pa! Do you know there are Zords in Power Rangers? They are robot animals!" said my 9-year-old, switching topics like a handbrake turn. "You know, Zord? Zee-oh-ar-dee…"
"The last letter of the alphabet is ZED. Zee simi zee." I harrumphed.
I am so glad the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Queenstown instead of our estate. They would be appalled at how far we have strayed from our colonial roots.
Later in the afternoon, Joy watched me play Team Fortress 2 on my PC. She listened to the chatter of voice chat and suddenly remarked, "I heard a girl's voice! Papa, girls play shooting games too?"
"Of course, Joy. Girls can play ANY game. Not just dolls. Here, click my mouse to set the Spy over there on fire, muahahahaha!"
Soon after, Faith also walked into the study to hang out with me. She took my finger and dragged me to the wife's iMac to point at the logo. I let my TF2 character get blown to bits and turned my attention to autistic firstborn, saying in a singsong voice, "Yes, Faith. Apple. Eeeh-Perl."
"Eeeh-wur," Faith vocalized.
"Yes! Apple! Clever girl, Faith!" I rubbed her head affectionately.
"Eeeh-wur," she said again, repeating the word again and again, savouring the taste of it.
It's the school holidays and I am still getting used to the kids banging on my door in the morning as I try to get a little more sleep after the late nights at work.
My first remarks in the morning go something like, "Yes, children, Jóu Sàhn (早晨 in Cantonese)." followed by "Why are you guys still in pajamas and why is the tv on this early?".
A scurry of feet follow and the tv is switched off, then Isaac and Joy scramble to do their morning chores and sit down to finish their assigned school work. Which lasts for about 5 minutes before I have to separate them into different rooms or the school work will never get done.
I tell Isaac, who is now in Primary Three and facing his latest life obstacle in a month's time — end-of-year exams — that he must study hard and not flunk. He tells me, occasionally tearfully, that sometimes he finds studying so hard, that he fears failing.
I find myself saying to him, "You must try. There is no shame in failing. Only in not trying, only in not working hard." Even though I know sometimes, to a 9-year-old boy, a Primary Three exam can be as daunting as building a spaceship. And only half as fun.
Faith is delighted to see me in the morning because she needs someone to play her Wiggles DVDs and I am handed a random Wiggles disc every time. She has even learned to make the same request of her siblings, which is a good sign. It means she accepts them as part of her trusted world.
I still need to intervene from time to time, because the two younger ones sometimes interrupt Faith's Wiggles viewings to swop out their own DVDs and I scold them for it.
"姐姐's Wiggles DVD is NOT to be changed when she is allowed to view her show. Don't you dare bully her. You guys have to wait your turn," I say.
In fairness, we also say "No" to Faith when she wants to watch another DVD after she's had her turn. The younger ones then get to watch their current favorites (it's currently The Lorax and The Avengers ad nauseum).
I took this photo of Faith last Sunday morning. She was in a giggly mood. That's her idea of smiling for the camera. She is growing up so fast.
Jim Walters, father of an autistic daughter, Lily, wrote this story about how he discovered that the cashier who served him in a Target store in Ross Township, Pennsylvania, was on the autism spectrum. Jim praised Target for hiring the fellow. His Facebook post went viral and he received many comments, some bad, mostly good.
In his blog post about the incident, Jim wrote about some "random asshats that were dismissive" of the autistic cashier's role with the company, who said things like "Great, so they gave him a minimum wage job… some victory".
Then Jim wrote something that totally resonated with me. He said that looking at where his Lily is right now, and that minimum wage job, it may as well be rocket science.
I agree. What I wouldn't give to see my Faith grow up functionally able to look after herself and score a "minimum wage job" from an understanding company. If Faith can do that, it would be like she made it to the moon or Mars. It would be a worthy goal to strive for.
For now, our goals with our 11-year-old girl include some form of communication (speech is still far away) and the ability to go to the toilet herself (XXXL diapers are hard to find and really, really expensive).
It is a timely reminder to my wife and myself to have realistic expectations of all our kids, but yet never give up the hope that they can achieve far beyond what we can imagine.
It may suck to flunk an exam, but it would be worse to flunk at Life itself.
TODAY headline: "PM interviews affordable and good quality teachers for PCF kindergartens at the zoo."
Well, at least that was the headline I saw in my head when I looked at this front page from TODAY.
I understand that Orang Utans qualify as Ang Moh talent but I would like to remind PM that if he pays peanuts, he will get monkeys.
Finally, in the slow news Monday over at ST, the headline news is PM assuring China that Singapore is ready to give the pandas a Royal Welcome.
Yes, pandas. That's the news today. Pandas.
Frankly, I am concerned that the Singapore gahmen chose pandas to come to Singapore. Our Total Fertility Rate is already bad enough. Wouldn't importing these foreign talent pandas make it worse? I mean, pandas have one of the worst TFRs in the animal kingdom! And they just bum around and eat bamboo shoots all day, hardly a shining example of productivity.
@vixlew asks, "Does the PM want us to help the pandas integrate too?"
Please, these are ROYAL pandas. We should integrate ourselves into their world, not the other way around. Besides, PM says we must be big-hearted.
We should also begin a National Conversation with the pandas. Then they can help us define what kind of Singapore we want, and join PM in writing the next chapter of the Singapore Story.
I wonder if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be meeting Kai-Kai And Xin-Xin too. Royalty should meet royalty, right?
According to the news, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - Prince William and wife Catherine (a.k.a. Kate Middleton) will visit the Strathmore Green precinct in Queenstown.
Then after that to King Albert Park McDonald's for lunch? I am told that King Albert was a Dutch monarch. But all royalty mah, same same.
Then Prince cinema for movie? Oh wait, no more Prince cinema liao.
Miyagi suggested Margaret Drive Food Centre but oh wait, demolish liao.
Gwee Li Sui suggested Queenstown Bowl but oh wait, not operating liao.
Tiong Hin says Covent Garden (Zion Road) is still around. Oh wait, SERS project liao.
There's not much left of Queen Elizabeth Walk too.
To be honest, most of Queenstown also not there already, demolished for new developments.
Maybe they can head down to Coronation Plaza, as @vapzone suggesred, to become the next King of England. And pick up some groceries at NTUC Fairprice there along the way.
Then can go to Kent Ridge (we call it NUS) to meet Kent, the Duke of Smallville. And since they are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, they can go to Cambridge Road for some Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles. King Prawn mah.