Thursday, 29 May 2014

What is your favorite subject?

During a lunch to celebrate Mother's Day... ...

Grandma: "小tz, what is your favorite subject in school?"

小tz kept quiet... ...

Grandma: "Is it English, Math or Chinese?"

小tz still did not answer grandma's question.

Mummy: "I know. P.E., right?"

小tz nodded her head.

Grandma: "Why P.E.?"

Mummy: "Don't need to study ma. Right, 小tz?"

小tz nodded her head again.

Grandma: "What is your second favorite subject?"

Mummy: "I can answer for her. Her second favorite subject is Music, third is Art and if there's a fourth favorite subject, it will be dancing. Right, 小tz?"

小tz: "Mummy, how do you know?"

Mummy: "All don't need to study. Right?"

Daddy at the side facepalming...

Aiyo, this is not the way darling. Academic results are still very important at this stage of your life. Without it, you can't go far. You are fortunate that your daddy is not like your grandfather. If not for the fact that it is compulsory to have an ECA, I would never get a chance to play a saxophone. True enough, even when the school allowed me to go back, your grandfather stopped me and asked me to focus on my polytechnic studies. I started drawing straight lines in architectural plans instead of still life with shades and shadows. 

Your grandfather said to me: "Complete your studies, earn a salary, then do what you want."

So I picked up my saxophone again when I was 27, learned cartoon drawings when I was 29, started Taiko Drumming and doing arts when I was 30+. 

I stopped all those again many years back because you and mummy came into my life. In life, we have our obligations and responsibilities. Sometimes, we needs to put personal interest aside for other greater responsibilities.

I am not asking you to be what your grandfather had asked me to be. You don't need to stop all your interest and hobbies. What, I asked for is that you put some effort into your studies, to get a good grade and have the capability to pursue your higher education. 

The minimum requirement for education had changed over times. When I was in my primary school, I was told that having a PSLE will get you an executive job. Before I can even completed my primary school education, it was said that you need a Secondary School education. Then a degree when I was in polytechnic. Now it's a master if you wanted a good and comfortable life.

It's not that I wanted to force you to study. What I wanted was to ensure that you build the minimum foundation, while I can still bring in the money to support your education. Thereafter, it is okay for you to explore your other interest as I am assured you have a safety net in case things doesn't work out.

Put some effort into your study, please, darling.

Videotz introducing me to her new game. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Do you have this?

Do you know what this is? It is a Rainbow Loom. The latest craze among kids and I just got one from my daughter last night. She proudly told me that she made it for me and mine was the first she had completed, others in our family will still have to wait for their turn. She took half a day to make it and I must wear it forever, she said. She also mentioned that she had carefully chosen “boy boy” colour for me so it’s ok for me to wear it at work.

I proudly show it to the audience during a presentation this morning. Not only to illustrate how close I am with 小tz , but also to put across a point that it is difficult for parents to let go of their child even when they are adults. However, it is a must as parents will never be able to outlive their children.

I keep telling myself to have the determination to let 小tz have the opportunities to learn to be independent and be resilience to face challenges in life.

Thanks for the Rainbow Loom 小tz. 

Yes, I will wear it with me forever and take good care of it. After all, you did warn that if I lost it, then I will have to wait till you complete making for everybody before it is my turn again.

Love you 小tz.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Simple things in life that leads to happiness.

Wednesday, 24 Apr 2014 at 7:20pm.

While waiting to cross the road at a bus stop, I saw an elderly man coming down from the next bus, running, waving at the bus in front of me and trying to catch up to board the bus. I smiled and waved at the driver, indicating that the elderly man is trying to board the bus. She looked at her side mirror, smiled and nodded.

Up on the bus, the elderly man smiled and thanked the driver for waiting. The driver smiled and pointed to me. Both the driver and the elderly man turned and smiled at me before the bus drove off the bus stop.

Nothing special, just some show of gratitude, simple gestures, acknowledgement and smiling by 3 strangers that makes the day for all the 3 of us. Simple things in life we do that leads to happiness.

Reaching home, I was rewarded with a bowl of salmon porridge topped with white baits, just like what 小tz is having.

Actually, I rushed home just to have dinner with the little fellow. yt SMS me earlier that our little princess was having fever and ate very little during lunch. Rushing home for dinner, I hope to encourage 小tz to eat more. I tried to eat as slowly as I could, hoping she would eat more with me accompanying her. Well, it's hard to overcome the old habit; I was done with my big bowl when she was still trying to finish half of the porridge on her small bowl.

The little fellow smiled, for it's the second time her crazy daddy have dinner at home with her.

Love you little fellow.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

It's just 9 minutes.

It's just 9 minutes.

9 minutes of laughter, fun and teamwork on Friday, 16 May 2014 starting at 7:41pm, presenting an opening performance for 400 audiences during our Organisation’s Dinner & Dance in Compass Ballroom, Level B2, Convention Centre, Resort World Sentosa.

But this isn’t our usual 9 minutes. Lots of effort had been channelled into the preparation for the 9 minutes. The selection of the 3 songs for the medley, the changes after changes made to the choreography, the recording of demonstration video for the song signing and dance movements, the script writing, the planning and recording of the video to be screened on the actual day, the rehearsals, and the coordination of the sequences with about 60 persons across several centres all carried out within one and a half month. We even managed to make some last minute changes to the choreography due to on-site constraints.

The end result is simply and wonderfully great feeling seeing the surprise look from the audiences. When they thought that it's it, we managed to surprise them again and again, giving them wave after wave of excitements. I personally liked 4 segments of the entire performances that thrilled the audiences. First was the interruption to the usual countdown with a 2 minutes humorous video, teaching the audiences the Key Word Signs needed for the song signing subsequently. Then mid way through our first song "We go together" when the audience thought it was just a usual stage performance, the stage dancers interacted with the 8 dancers who suddenly appeared on the 2 big projector screens. The third excitement comes after the first song ended and when the audience started clapping thinking that it is the end. We surprised them with the beginning of our flash mob with 22 people walking out from within the audience and signed the chorus of "I just called to say I love you". Lastly, they were overwhelmed with 60 of us joining in to dance in the grand finale of “You can’t stop the beat!”.

This is definitely a fun and energetic moment for all of us! In my self-praised opinion, it was an awesome performance and I am delighted to be involved with the team of fun and committed people. It is also my first experience to be in the team, coordinating a flash mob for 60 people.

While I am full of praise to the team for a great effort (self-praise again, haha…), there were also lessons we should learn from this experience. (1) We need to use more contrasting colours in the video, to prevent the video having a wash out effect if we are unable to dim portions of the room's lights. (2) If we intend to have audience participation, it should not be done towards the end of the performance. We also need time to warm up the audiences.

Lastly, this post is intended for everybody that participated and/or contributed towards the fun, joy and success of this flash mob. It is equally important to dedicate this post to my daughter, tz who had watched all the video we produced over and over again during the one and a half month when I was helping to prepare for the flash mob. She had also been singing:
I just called to say I love you,I just called to say how much I care,I just called to say I love you,And I meant it from the bottom of my heart.
This will definitely form part of the great memory I had, and I would like to thank everybody for giving me that opportunity to try something new!

Photo: Part of the organizing team for the flash mob.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Assumption is bad.

A bad person, I am.

For months, I had been secretly laughing at the noodle stall owner. Before the incident, I had seen him smoking, gambling and drinking at the coffee shop where his stall is located. When I notice that his wife no longer come over to help him manage the stall, deep in, I laughed at him for he deserved to be without his wife, to be alone for life. Who asked him to smoke, gamble and drink, I thought.

For months, I have seen him struggling to manage the stall alone. He looks tired, disoriented and lifeless. While I didn't like his behaviour, I still buy my favourite noodle from him. It’s tasty and in anyway, his behaviour had nothing to do with his noodle.

Ok, Ok... I am just addicted to his noodle. Giving me excuses to patronize his stall.

I felt bad last weekend. Felt very bad for being judgmental, very bad for secretly laughing at his suffering, very bad for the wrongful accusation without finding out more.

His wife was there when I ordered my noodle last weekend morning. Her hair was short, almost bald and seems to have just grown from a clean shave. She also seems to be very tired but I can see that she feel relieve and happy to be back.

No, I am not going to judge again. What facts do I have to know what had happened to her? What rights do I have to find out what had happened? What position am I in to judge her? It is bad enough that I had likely made a mistake judging her husband. It would be very bad for me to judge her this time.

How I hoped I have the courage to go up to him to apologize for my bad behaviour. But no, I don't have the courage to admit that I had been secretly laughing at him. What's more, he will likely think I am crazy cause the act of laughing at him only happens in my mind. What I can do is likely to eat his noodle more frequently for now.

Please do not follow my mistake. Don't judge unless you are 100% sure, supported by evidence. In any case, who are we to judge?

I am sorry.

Friday, 9 May 2014

A bad, bad day dream.

Returning home from my morning walk last weekend, I saw a family of 4 jogging. I immediately got attracted to the scene.

Then, observing further, the mother and son was jogging  at a consistent pace in front, while the father and their younger daughter were visibility struggling behind to catch up. Oh NO!!! Please don't let this happen. It's not something I looked forward to.

I smiled for not having to struggle like that father. Not that I am a better runner, but for the blessing that yt and 小tz are not into jogging. I would likely be in a worst off situation if I am asked to jog. yt and 小tz would probably be having their breakfast for hours at the destination, while I am still struggling, not to run, but breathe.

Bad dream. What a bad, bad day dream I had. Stop it! Count your blessing and don't always get attracted to simple and happy living, you crazy daddy. Not everything suits you, you know.


Note: Photograph taken by yt during my last birthday when 小tz and I were crazy showing funny faces and yt was busy snapping away. I am cute, right? *vomit*

Friday, 2 May 2014

Pouring water into a leaking jug.

Why are we pouring water into a leaking jug?

Sometimes, I'm wondering if we should just go back to our old ways in educating our children. While I'm totally supportive of the idea to provide the necessary counselling and guidance to the child that had committed the mistake. Ensuring that the child receives an appropriate and equivalent consequence, is equally important for the development of the child's character.

However, there are people who seem to overtly focusing on the support, overlooking or not giving an equal amount of attention in the delivery of a consequence, and neglected the follow-up with the child and people around the child. There are serious implications resulting from such an approach of overtly focusing on providing support to that child.

Children, when young, are not able to understand what's right or wrong. Until they are matured enough to understand consequences of their bad behaviour, they learn not to do the bad things again through the association of the consequences delivered by the adults. Not giving an appropriate, direct and equivalent consequence, send the wrong signal to the child that it is ok to continue with the wrongful act. After all, by carrying out the act, they were already rewarded with thrill of the act, the physical possession and/or the emotional satisfaction. The non delivery of a consequence only reinforced the behaviour to repeat the act. To make matter worst, giving overtly attention in the form of counselling and guidance created a negative reinforcement towards the behaviour. It further reinforced the behaviour as doing it, the child is rewarded with the thrill of the action, get away with receiving a consequence and rewarded with an overtly attention given to him.

The other issue is the reluctance to communicate to the victim and other children on the wrongful act of the child. I am not talking about public shaming which happens frequently during my time. However, it is equally naive to think that news of the incident stays with the perpetrator, the victim and the educator. Even if the news does stay within the small circle, what signal are we sending to the victim?

It's Ok to do the wrong things. You will not get any punishment; more people will be showing you concern and talks to you frequently?

As parents and educators, are we pouring water into a leaking jug?

What's the use of sharing knowledge and accumulating wealth for the child, when the need to build the child's character was neglected? Without a good character, all those will go to waste. The best we could impart to our children is a good character and right attitude to face life, as we can never outlive them to ensure their path in life is always smoothed regardless of their doings.

Are we still pouring water into the leaking jug?