Monthly Archives: November 2011

a day of ineffectiveness

slept early last night, woke up at 5+ this morning and sneezed my way till 10pm… ineffective day? understatement.

i ate. i slept. i played rummikub. watched tv. ate. slept. scrolled FB like a million times. tv. ate. slept. ate. and am still hungry.

i have a bunch of things i need to settle by 7am tmr! once again, my adrenaline is not working very well. must be my high temperature that killed my hormones! i ended up video hunting on youtube and wasn’t very successful.

you see, long long ago in 2009, i saw this Bharathanatayam dance for the song Katrodu Kuzhalin Nadamae during Navarathri. i tried to search for a choreographed/danced version of the song, to no avail. the original dance in that movie did the song ZERO justice.

the dance for margazhi thingal was also nice. as usual, the original dance in that movie did the song no justice.

another one of my fav songs for the Bharathanatayam dance is Om Nama Shivaya.

there was this Bharathanatayam Dance program where the closing sequence was a dance by this man and woman, doing a slow dance mimicking Shivan and Shakti. the synchronicity of it was splendid. mom and i used to watch the closing sequence every single week without fail. ive been trying to find that dance for the longest decade, and still cannot find it…

to learn this traditional indian dance was one of my childhood dreams. mom slotted me into indian singing class instead, and i must have failed badly cos although i can hear/recognise tones, i am absolutely tone-dumb!! i did learn the veenai though. beginner stage. dont think im musically gifted like some of the others. or maybe im not desperate enough to do-or-die with music literacy.

anyway, ive been meaning to blog abt so many things, they are all in my draft-box. dont know why i havent been in the mood. paper work in sch with regards to my 2012 plans are still pending and i’m really not sure what my decision is.

past 11pm and, i havent even started on what i needed to accomplish today. so tonight’s gonna be a marathon! 75% of it will go to SJAB admin duties and the rest are miscellaneous which must still be settled by 3pm tmr. i hope i stay awake through this mild fever/sneeze fest. and wake up (recovered) in time for tomorrow’s open house.

and then after that, head down to mudflats to train new volunteers for the nationwide population and distribution survey and consensus in march next year. (kinda wish i will be around then. i did the survey once in 2009, and i would have loved to do the survey this time round as well. too bad.) after that, gather for dinner cum meeting to discuss research projects.

which will leave me with a few hrs to pack for the trip! its amazing how you can get so efficient at packing stuff after a while. just pop in a couple of clothes, dump in the toiletries bag, a jacket and slippers, and you are ready to go. after a while, you just keep one corner of your room for travel stuff. haha..

ppl have been asking what im busy with. as usual…… there’s just all the end of year + plan for 2012 things to settle. i really should learn to delegate. thats what bosses do, dont they. but…… haiz….. anyway, just a couple more weeks. will push on!

anyway, for the original soundtrack of the first song i mentioned, here it is.

im off to work! im determined to live through saturday and make it to sunday!

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Posted by on November 25, 2011 in i-Typical


my story in kss

i remember the day i walked into MOE HQ at buona vista. nervous, making sure my hair was in place and my lips weren’t dry. reminding myself to greet the interviewers and to not sit before they ask me to, reminding myself to not place my bag on the table cos that wasnt interview etiquette.

“so what do you see yourself as in the future?”

“i love biology and i really hope to spread the love for biology. teaching is the best way to do that….

… but i eventually intend to move to a special education school. i know that i dont have enough experience to start there. i believe that being in a mainstream school will allow me to experience and learn different skills in teaching. that will give me the basic background knowledge because special education students are very different and generally more difficult to handle because of their specific needs. eventually i wish to retire in a special ed school” i replied, in all truthfulness.

bio has always been my first love. being a person who almost always never really knew what she wanted, knowing that i love bio might have been the only exception. i did bio all my life and i would have loved to take up medicine, if not for the fact that i wasnt smart enough to get into medical faculty.

i also have the dream to help others, and at that time, i really did consider eventually retiring at a special education school.

i got selected to go to NIE, and after the 1 yr have-fun-enjoy-and-pretend-teaching phase, i got posted to kss. having never heard of this school before, i desperately tried to find out if anyone else from my cohort was posted to kss – and “ta dah!” one friend introduced me to his friend who knew someone else who was posted to kss. and that was how Mr Choy Chee Ping and i got connected.

my first 6 mths in kss was purely sensational. with a HOD like Suriani (who is now vice-dean of SOTA), i put my foot into everything science/bio, i wanted to do everything that i could because this was my school. the eagerness to make a difference was significant. the belief that i could make a difference was sky high.

science department felt like family then. nothing less. i loved the sci meetings because i was just so inspired to hear her talk and unpack the rationale for every new idea formulated. by the end of the mtg, we left the room convinced that there was a purposeful and valuable reason for doing what we had to do. Suriani is still the HOD i look up to in all these years. she makes meaning and made us want to work together. sadly, she left 6 mths after i came in. i still continued to be one of the most eager person around. put my foot into almost everything because i knew i could, and i wanted to because i felt it would benefit the students.

the years passed, ppl changed. i learnt a new phrase which i refused to succumb to. “no one is indispensable”. it was something i was severely against. i even fought with Mr Yeo Choon Hwa abt that concept of dispensability. but, that year, 2009-2010, one by one, my closer friends left kss. Ms Maybelline Tan, Mr Siah Kai Ming, and Mr Yeo Choon Hwa. these were 3 ppl i was close to. and for an entire year, i was just angry (not at them. but at the fact that ppl can leave). i might have been angry because maybe subconsciously, i knew that no one was indispensable. the school did not crumble because these ppl left. they found a way to carry on and still succeed. by the time it came to Ms Tan Bee Leng leaving, i had accepted that ppl who have decided to leave, leave because they have a strong reason to. no amount of asking “why” would make any difference.

today, i subscribe to the concept that “no one is indispensable” the school will not crumble because someone leaves. that should be how an organisation works. there must always be someone to take over. thats just the way it is. i refuse to budge, though, over the fact that relationships are indispensable.

the kss staffroom is one of the best staffrooms ive been in. this, being my 3rd school, i dare say that the teachers in the staffroom help one another despite differences (most of the time, at least). because we have a common goal. and the goal is STUDENTS. thats one of the things that kept me going. there is a strong number of teachers who work for the students. we complain in the staffroom, we sigh, we get irritated, but, when it comes to helping the students, we go all out. a battalion of us send the kids in for the Ns and Os. and a few yrs later, when we hear that someone we used to teach has made it well somewhere out there, the staffroom breaks out in cheers.

in the past few days of major staffroom clean out, many old items were pulled out. as some of us showed each other what we used to have, what we used to do, what we received from our fav classes, it brought back alot of memories. Ms Susan Leong’s sharing brought the most smile cos she had years and years of items from like a gazillion years ago! she just loved everything she had kept from her previous years, including transparencies from the OHP era. NYAA booklets from the 200* batch, from which Ms Liew Jiaman graduated from. school yearbooks from way before i came in in 2006. like many teachers who were in kss before me, the sharing of memories was just a moment of splendor. from the shiny overhead decorations from the best CFN in 2004 (so she claims), to Combined UG Camp 2000’s waterbottle souvenier, to the kind of wonderful students we’ve had in kss all these years, the memories are aplenty. and they add to my memories of my own sec sch experiences. just that im experiencing the side of a teacher this time round.

i am bringing these memories with me.

changes are so common, the dynamism of it all is scary. so many teachers leaving, the younger generation taking over. just like when i was one of the junior teachers who came in with so much pride that i can make a difference. well, reading through my cards, i think, i did make a difference. in some small way, one way or the other, at some point in time. perhaps somebody else could have done the same thing. but, i did. and i think i fulfilled what i intended to do. ive done my best for the students. i have no regrets.

but, to be honest, some part of me still wishes i could continue to teach. i am going to miss my students. alot. im going to miss working with my students. im going to miss going into class and educating the kids. im going to miss working with my colleagues. i will miss getting excited over some new projects whose objectives are in the same direction as my believe in education. im going to miss the staffroom environment. i will miss some of us teachers gathering to complain and decide eventually that we still have to do it. miss the (mundane) morning assemblies. most of all, im going to miss standing in front of a class of students, sharing the (little) knowledge i have with them. sharing my experiences and guiding them.

change, is a difficult thing to cope with. many ppl think that i’m all set and ready to go. well, i am, but, im afraid as well. and i find it hard to communicate that when ppl seem to think that im all positive and excited. not really a risk taker, this is a courageous decision i have made. maybe a foolish one. why would anyone leave a job with a stable income that will follow you through your life? the reasons behind my decision are many. some push factors, some trigger factors. the idea that i want to do something for myself seems convincing enough for me. and i should venture out while im still young and able to afford a bit of risk taking. but the prospects are bleak and i am worried.

but, if not now, it’ll be never. head up high, im going for it.

my 6 years in KSS have been filled with so many wonderful moments. i dare say that’s what i’ll remember most. all my complains just take a fraction of my emotion for this school.

wishing my colleagues (too many to name) all the very best in the years to come! keep the passion alive, cos what you do does make a difference.


Posted by on November 14, 2011 in i-Miss, i-Reflect


Breaking Away

“i’ll spread my wings and i’ll learn how to fly.

though it’s not easy to tell you goodbye

take a risk, take a chance, make a change

and break away

out of the darkness and into the sun

but i wont forget the place i come from

i gotta take a risk, take a chance, make a change

and break away”

i kinda need to do this for myself. for me.


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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in i-LiveMyLife


all alone at the graveyard

at the end of the day, maybe all that really matters is how many ppl mourn your death.

and then you’ll know whether your existence made any difference.

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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in i-Reflect


passing on

not that i have faced many deaths among ppl i know. i surely dont really know how to behave in a funeral home. do i smile at them? do i have to cry? i mean, i’m sad for their loss, but crying seemed like pretense. i quickly erased the acknowledgement smile from my face and instead directly asked where her body was placed.

she lay there on a saree-wrapped mattress. her portrait on a table ahead of her. garlands around her neck and body. we could hear prayer music chanting “Om Nama Shivaya“. the smell of incense. i stood there looking at her embalmed body, looked real.

it wasnt like the typical scene you’ll find in tamil movies, where all the ladies will be beating their chests and wailing abt why she (the dead person) didnt take them (the wailing ppl) with her. but i could see almost everyone’s eyes was red from crying. when i asked someone if everyone was ok, she said, “what to do, we are all controlling ourselves”. it was a redundant question, but what was i do say???? “dont worry?” “keep strong?” that sounds really hypocritical isnt it?

i placed some loose flowers on her leg and touched the legs, and went to sit by a corner. everyone was quiet, sad, with very little body movement from anyone other than those trinkling in to the home. now and then, someone almost burst into tears, but controlled herself quickly. and i just had no idea how i was supposed to behave.

finally my mom asked how she passed away. and the story goes that she was still talking normally in the morning, she still remembered those who visited her, but 10 min before she passed on, her breathing seemed funny. the doc told the family to inform everyone. but, 10 min obviously wasnt enough for relatives to arrive. she had had lung cancer for quite a while, and it was only detected when she was into her 3rd stage. treatments didnt work significantly, and the cancerous cells slowly spread. she died, but she died easily.

i was never really that close to her. i know her, and i know her genuineness. i also know she meant every blessing she gave me, more than my own paternal grandparents ever did. each time i met her, she’ll put her hand on my head and wish the best for me. she hugged all her sons/daughters son/daughter-in laws, nieces, nephews and made everyone feel loved.

death, is a sure loss for everyone. especially for those who have been around them for long. as i looked at her face, knowing that her children would never see her talking or hugging or blessing another being again, i also felt a bit sad. while death comes to all, accepting death is something that many of us dont deal very well with. i keep wondering how i’d react if someone i loved died. and i keep getting the image that i’ll turn hysterical. i dont know. but i know im really not very good at losing ppl. and yet, we cant keep worrying abt tmr when there’s so many things we can achieve by focusing on the present.

i keep wondering what ppl will say abt me when they know ive died. its a question ive had for a long long time. and i often wish after i died, my soul will be able to hear what ppl had to say abt my existence on earth. maybe our souls do hear what others say, maybe they dont. who knows…. but one thing is for sure, everyday, we are closer to dying, and everyday someone is achieving something. so lets not complain abt what we dont have, and instead work towards what we could have if we aim to achieve it…

To my childhood friend’s father’s sister: 

thank you for the memories you have created. for your sincerity and genuineness, i know you will be badly missed by those who love you. rest in peace. 

will be heading down to the cemetery tmr, for the first burial service in my life.

as time passes and older generation around me get older, there will be more deaths to come. i hope i can handle the deaths instead of crumble……..

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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in i-Pray, i-Sad

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