As I am now serving a full-time mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have left this blog under the stewardship of a family member, who may post updates on how I'm doing as he/she sees fit.
Enjoy your stay!
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
My exams are starting this Friday, kicking off with our two English papers, then spread out for about two weeks, with one week encompassing my "weaker" subjects such as Social Studies, History, Geography, Mother Tongue (Mandarin) and the other week with my better subjects such as Additional and Elementary Math, Physics and Chemistry. Then, after everyone else is done with their exams, I'll be having my Music exam thanks to me opting for 'O' Level Music (with help from a new good friend Irfan whom I expect will be mentioned a lot in future posts)
Anyway, I made the commitment to start studying at the start of the year in order to get good grades, obviously because I didn't come all the way to Singapore to flunk my grades like I did last year. I tried that two years ago, but I didn't last a month =P Now however, having experienced an extreme drop in grades last year, I've learnt my lesson enough to start taking studying seriously.
Meaning to say, I'm not under as much pressure as a considerable number of classmates are with the exams just around the corner. Right now is the time for me to start revising whatever I've learnt in the past few months, without having to gruellingly read through every edge of the textbooks and figure out how much I missed in class (a scenario applicable to last year).
Today I stayed back at school to do some revision for Physics and History. So far, my History grades are considerably much better than how I used to score back in Tsun Jin, possibly (actually, most likely) due to a change in the teaching medium, as well as the method of testing too. I haven't really gone through my History textbook due to the extensive notes given by my teacher (they really spoonfeed us here) as well as, I would say, his effective teaching. However, I didn't buy the textbook to put it on display in my locker, so I went through it word for word today.
I was studying the peacekeeping efforts after WWI, with much emphasis on the Treaty of Versailles, the League of Nations, and Germany's plight. I've been learning a lot more than what I used to in Tsun Jin, partly because most of the time I didn't know what the textbook there was saying. Now, with sufficient knowledge on rather specific historical events, I arrogantly feel fit to start analysing the various events in modern history, as well as the subject of learning history itself.
I've always blindly felt that History's major flaw is that it is written by humans (although there's not much that can be done to remedy this). Humans, by nature, will always have a tendency to favour one party or another. Thus, in History, there are often Good Guys and Bad Guys. (as I mentioned in my 2nd comment in Hao Ran's blog) Certain events and figures may be exaggerated and thus not its purest form, which may affect the way we see a certain party, whether it be an individual or a country. For example, I have always seen Germany a troublemaker in Europe, causing much death and destruction during WWI and WWII. Historical accounts further encouraged that mentality. It always seemed like the Allies were the good guys out to crush the other bad guys. But all of that changed with the new textbook I have.
Previously, what I have read for History merely gave a historian's record of events, which often favoured the Allies. However, my textbook gives us different points of view, from diverse sources such as German citizens, British citizens, American politicians and so on. It then asks us if those views change our opinion of a certain matter. Then it gives us more views and asks us again if our opinions have changed. In my cased, a lot of opinions changed after learning many different sides of an issue.
A good example would be the Treaty of Versailles. Historians still argue whether it dealt justice or injustice to Germany. Germany, in WWI, did cause destruction about Europe. But it was under the questionable leadership of the Kaiser. The Treaty of Versailles dished out punishment onto the entire German nation, which, I regard as highly unfair. The people of Germany at that time were obviously very very upset with the terms of the Treaty. Land had to be given to other countries, insane amounts of war reparations had to be paid, and worst of all, they had to take all the guilt for "starting the War". Having to bear such a burden, I'm not surprised if so many people supported the Nazi Regime. Looking back, most people would see Hitler as a fanatical nutcase. But to the people back then, he gave them hope, and possibly, vengeance.
It is then I realized the "evil side" of the Allied nations as well, something that did not seem to be revealed to me previously. Judging from historical accounts, Georges Clemenceau, representive of the French in the "Big Three" who came up with the terms of the Treaty, was sort of the villian. He demanded (with much support from the French nation) as much heavy punishment on Germany as possible, which led to craziness of the Treaty. Some of my classmates concluded that the French are @$%&^*! , but I wouldn't blame them.
Anyway, the new way I've learnt to learn History has proven to be very effective. Our coverage of topics may be considerably less than back in Tsun Jin, but here I've learnt how to look at historical events in a much more thoughtful manner, being more sensitive to events that led to a certain way in which people felt at that time and what came out of those feelings. That, I feel, is more important than cramming as much historical knowledge as possible into already exhausted minds......
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Exercise allows the body to produce endorphins. I play, I get all hyped up and excited, I have fun, I feel good. In fact, so good, after the ball smacked my face 3 times yesterday while playing after some Saturday studying at school, it wasn't enough to stop me from playing.
Or maybe the now mild headache might. Perhaps I should take a break tomorrow.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Where do we start? Well, on Thursday I was given the Math Statistics Poster to work on. My group, consisting of Daniel Lim, Dasmesh Singh, and Jun Yan, had accidentally lost our survey results (some jokers from our class took it and lost it). So.... we heh heh... fabricated some results and created a poster. The deadline was tomorrow, but I planned to use the weekend to fabricate it more elaborately and thus convincingly. Needless to say, I didn't bring the poster to school yesterday. Then I found out it was the last day, and had to rush straight home after school to fetch it to rush back to school to hand it to our teacher. It rained. It POURED.
I shared my umbrella with Daniel Lim, who was on his way to the bus stop opposite our school, where I was headed too. The umbrella was really meant for one person, and I told Daniel about my plight so he agreed to run with me under the umbrella. Needless to say, by the time we reached the bus stop, we didn't look much different from those who didn't have an umbrella.
I got home drenched from head to toe, and grabbed the poster. No chance of decorating it too much now. I grabbed my brush pen and started writing the neccessary stuff, and OOPS! I smudged the words really, really bad. I was groaned in frustration. Oh well, too late to do anything.
As I was about to leave, Mom just had to mention it was Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th!!! D'oh!
Saturday, April 07, 2007
We're most likely not going to be able to move him to Singapore, so we have no choice but to leave him under the care of Dad back in KL. I just think things are unfair to him. All his life we've been his loving family, and all of a sudden, one day, we all got into a car and disappeared for a month before seeing him again for a few days, then disappearing again. How would he handle that? I've always strongly believed that animals have feelings, and it breaks my heart to think of how Simba feels.
Here in Singapore, some of the new animal friends I've made within the past few months are in the photo here, playing around.
Well, they're all cute and cuddly and all that, but they just can't replace Simba. Cats are, in general, solitary creatures. They're always roaming about, and they let you cuddle them only when they want to be cuddled. Hold them for too long and they'll just walk off and play. They rarely listen and basically live in their own world.
Simba, on the other hand, was always there when we called him. He'd be busy roaming around the yard, keeping watch of the grounds. But when we opened the door and called him, he'd come around and at least give us a happy glance. If we wanted or needed his attention all we had to do was ask him to sit and we could talk to him, with his replies in the forms of tail wags and deliberate eye contact. We could always count on him to light up our day, no matter how stressful things could get.
These examples can be likened unto our friends. Do we have friends who only share good times with us, or friends who stay with us no matter what? So far, I've been blessed with many friends back in KL who were always there when I needed them. Hopefully, I'll be able to make such friends in Singapore.
My only regret is that I will most likely not be able to be with Simba when his time to move on to a better place comes.