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, May 23, 2007
I was mopping the floor when I realized what has been bothering me the whole week: the band.
I don't know why things go in such a way that I always end up in a seriously screwed up band. I thought things were bad enough in the band back in Tsun Jin, but it's even worse here in Singapore. Once again, we are stuck with a useless (or worse, destructive) group of percussionists, and dysfunctional leaders. At least we had a good committee back in Tsun Jin (just as long as I wasn't in it hehe), but here we have leaders whose examples might as well be replaced by a pile of roadkill.
What exactly are their problems? I could come up with a list all day long. First of all, truancy. My previous band had the same problem, but they didn't play truant so openly and boldly. The band here in ACSBR openly talk about skipping practices or heck, even performances, which is the biggest no-no in my previous band. It is so bad that last night, at our 2nd SYF Night performance, 2 of us Clarinets had to play the flute part! How embarrassing and stupid is that?!? I have a Section Leader who couldn't care less about playing in the band nor taking care of his section (I hear he's a rich snob) and thus regularly skips practices, including our performance yesterday.
Next we have the attitude of those who do show up. The percussionists are particularly going to get a pounding from me if I had the chance. It is unfortunate that the percussion section is considered the trashyard of bands because that's where all the people who couldn't play any other instrument go. As a consequence, they assume that being a percussionist is very easy and it takes no effort to play properly. If that were the case, we might as well get monkeys to play percussion! Percussion requires just as much effort and feeling as the other sections do. They bash and crash on their instruments as if somebody stumbled into a kitchen and fell about like I would if I slipped. Some of them, including their own crappy Section Leader, barely has a sense of following the conductor's rhythm! And when they show up for practices, most of their time is spent fooling around among themselves while our conductor attends to the other sections who require help.
Another thing that really gets on my nerves is that they are always complaining about the conductor. They never miss a chance at trying to convince our teachers-in-charge to hire a "better" conductor. Apparently, they used to have a rather well-known-to-be-good conductor. But guess what? He resigned because he couldn't stand their attitudes. So they chased away a good conductor and now they're complaining about the current one? I think I'm beginning to realize how true my conductor was when he said Singaporean youth tend to take a lot of things for granted.
I'm not sure if I will be able to put up with the band. I have a feeling I wouldn't mind "defecting" over to the Chinese Orchestra and learn the Cello. My bandmates would most likely condemn me since the Chinese Orchestra is considered our "enemy", especially since they got Gold for SYF while we got Bronze, and thus the school prefers to pay more attention to them. After watching a few of their open rehearsals, I'm not surprised they won a Gold while we won a Bronze. Of course, the likelihood of me leaving the band is very very slim. For now, I will put up with it. At least I have two fellow Clarinetists who are serious about playing in the band.
Actually, I'd rather have all the percussionists fired, then I'll give up my Clarinet and pick up percussion to replace them, no matter how hard it will be.
Sacrifices must be made when one gets himself involved in an organisation such as a band, and our band seems to be lacking these.
The final results for this semester has been announced, and I was officially declared as the top student of my level. I know I should be very happy about this achievement because of the amount of effort I had put in throughout the semester. But somehow, it just doesn't feel as exciting to me as it would seem to be to most people.
I've never really been competitive in my grades. All I wanted was just to reach a so-and-so mark. Back in Tsun Jin, when my grades were still quite fair, I aimed for an average of 70. I only hit the mark once, when I was in Form 2. Over here, I aimed for an average of 80, and I did get it. What I didn't expect, however, was to top the level.
I have never come close to such a position. Back in Tsun Jin, getting within the top 100 was a major accomplishment itself, something which I never achieved. Here in ACS, getting such a position the first semester I'm in the school is a bit overwhelming. In a way, I kind of surprised myself. The funny thing is that I don't feel as satisfied as, say, when I finish drawing a great comic strip, or when Hao Ran and I finish producing another great film. Instead, I just feel empty, almost kind of "what's the point?" feeling. After all, the only thing that can come out of this is that people are going to expect a lot more from me now. And my peers are going to watch me very very closely, perhaps some may hope for my downfall. This kind of accomplishment will only bring more pressure, unlike the completion of various projects at home. I guess it goes to show that people who competitively fight for the top position are miserable people.......
Friday, May 18, 2007
All that staying-back-in-school-just-to-study-ing, studying-everywhere-even-in-toilets-and-buses-ing and stuff have finally paid off!
These are the average scores for my first semester studying in Singapore:
- English- 71.7
- Chinese- 77.2
- Additonal Math- 86.5
- Elementary Math- 89.9
- Chemistry- 93.6
- Physics- 78.9
- Combined Humanities- 70.9
- Geography- 74.8
- Music- 77.3
Which brings my total average of the semester to 82.2!
Getting my education in Singapore came with its costs of course, primarily pushing my original would-have-graduated date at least 2 years later. But to have a chance to get grades like this, it is so worth it! Anything can be achieved as long as I put an effort to it!
Friday, May 11, 2007
A few weeks ago, I went to the Esplanade once again, but to watch something better. The Phantom of the Opera! The music still rings in my ears... haunting me...
And then, last Monday, after our Social Studies exam, Irfan, Darryl and I decided to go to the Esplanade library to listen to music as preparations for our Music exam this coming Monday. It involves quite a bit of listening to extracts and analyzing it. We figured it'll be good practice to listen to music together.
Irfan, Darryl and I in front of the famous Durian shaped Esplanade.
Last Saturday, Johann Oh and his Mother back from the KL Branch came down to Singapore to watch Phantom of the Opera! Naturally, my family decided to meet up with them.
And finally, today! It was the last day of exams for most of my classmates, except for me and my Music class buddies (and some other people who would be take Bio/Design&Technology/Art). Once again, we decided to go to the Esplanade library to listen to music again. This time, Gabriel also decided to join us. We also had John Au, a Trombone Section Leader from my band, with us. He doesn't take Music but it was the last day of his exams and he wanted to just hang out so he came along...
Lots more new and exciting places to explore in Singapore!
Friday, May 04, 2007
After studying Geography for the few months I've been here, I can't help but notice how depressing it gets.
The more we learn, the more we realize the turmoil Earth is in.
That's the case for most of us in my new class. Another funny thing we've noticed is how everything seems to lead to death in the end. It's pretty morbid, but it still puts a smile to my face whenever I use consequential thinking granted by Geography lessons...
Example: Excessive deforestation near rivers - no more trees - no more leaves to intercept raindrops - rain falls straight onto ground - no more roots to absorb the rainwater - soil is saturated with water - water can't enter the ground anymore - rainwater is stuck on the surface of the ground - rainwater strikes the ground with a tough impact - soil is loosened - surface runoff - soil finds its way into nearby river - sedimentation buildup in the riverbed - volume of the river decreases - water levels rise - lots of rainfall - river breaks its banks - floods - property damage - people drown (DEATH) - animals drown (DEATH) - corpses float around in water - spread of waterborne diseases (MORE DEATH)
Excessive deforestation - no trees for transpiration - water cycle disrupted - rainclouds unable to form - lack of rain - drought - crops die - livestock die - famine (DEATH)
Excessive deforestation - no more trees - humus unable to form without leaf decay - ground topsoil loses fertility - farmers use the land cleared for farming - soil not fertile enough - farmers pump fertilisers - fertilisers seep into ground - fertilisers dissolve in underground water - underground water travels to river - eutrophication occurs in the river - excessive growth of algae in river - sunlight blocked - plants in river die - small fishes which feed on plants die - big fish which feed on small fish die - water contaminated - people who use the water infected - people die (DEATH)
Excessive deforestation - destruction of wildlife habitats - animals no place to go - animals wander into human settlements - animals create trouble - fierce animals attack humans - people die (DEATH)
Catch my drift? Thus, if I catch someone wasting paper, I can tell him or her that he or she is causing deaths! HA!
The more we learn about Geography, the more interesting the Earth becomes to us. The initial excitement is then ruined once we discover what Man does to destroy the Earth. It's quite depressing really. But it will be good for us I'm sure. At least we know what happens when we mess up the environment.