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!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
3. Lack of appetite
4. Incessant dwelling on convoluted thoughts
5. Constant staring at nothing in particular
6. Inevitably symbolic dreams
7. Assuming that at indefinite intervals, none of the above occur - Occasional, vitalizing Creative Empowerment
Merry Christmas Eve everyone!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
There's something that's been bugging me recently. It will probably irritate most people who read this, but it's something I need to get off my chest.
First off, I shall explain how our subject combination works for GCE A Levels. There are 3 levels (so to speak) of each subject - Higher 1, Higher 2, and Higher 3. H1 and H2 subjects are the common levels everyone takes in varying combinations. H3 papers are only for those who are supposedly academically sound and would like to deepen their learning and understanding of a particular subject. In a way, H3s are the equivalent to the S Papers in the past.
Typically, a Junior College student would take, as his four "core" subjects, 3H2s and 1H1. Latest MOE regulations also requires one of these subjects to be of a contrasting discipline. For example, a typical Science student's combination would be H2 Physics, H2 Chemistry, H2 Mathematics, and H1 Economics (Econs being his contrasting subject). On top of this, most students would also take their General Paper, which counts as a H1 paper. There is also the requirement to take H1 Mother Tongue (unless a student has acheived a sufficient grade in O Level Higher Mother Tongue examinations). Thanks to a rather bright MOE employee, we also now enjoy the benefits of compulsory Project Work, yet another H1 subject. As a result, a typical JC student would be taking 4H1s and 3H2s.
However, students who did well for GCE O Levels can choose to take 4H2s instead of 3H2s+1H1 for their core subjects. Students often choose to do so to improve their chances of obtaining future scholarship (especially the prestigious PSC scholarship). I'm a bit more insane. I chose to take 4 H2s just so that I could learn as much as possible.
As a result, I now take, for my H1s, GP, PW and Chinese, and for my H2s, Geography, Economics, Maths, and Music (Maths being my contrasting subject). In addition, I am required to take Music H3 (which is a research paper) as a result of my MOE Music Elective Scholarship.
This is the credits system has become a pain. Each subject is worth a number of credits. H1s are worth 1 credit, while H2s are worth 2 credits. Each student is normally allowed to take up to a maximum of 12 credits. Going back to the previous example of the typical JC student, he would be taking 4H1s (worth 4 credits in total) and 3H2s (worth 6 credits in total), adding to a total of 10 credits, well within the limit. Let's say he does well and he decides to take H3 Maths. 1 credit is then added to his H2 Maths credits, increasing it from 2 to 3. Hence, he would now have 11 credits, still within his means.
For my case, I take 3H1s and 4H2s. Therefore, I am already at 11 credits. By taking H3 Music, I will max out my credits at 12. Why is this a pain? Because I am interested in taking up one of the external H3s. I applied for NUS Geopolitics (considered a Geography/History H3), NUS Economy & Space (considered a Geography H3) and SMU Game Theory (considered an Economics H3 though in a very mathematical approach), with the intention/hope of taking one of the three. Unfortunately, since I'm already taking Music H3, I have maxed out my credits. I can't drop my H3 Music because my scholarship requires me to take it, and I will definitely not forfeit my scholarship (my school fees, which MOE now covers, are insane), so basically, I won't be able to take any of the external H3s. I heard that there have been special cases where people have applied to take 13 credits, but these people are all exceptionally gifted academically and I don't think I belong to that calibre. Furthermore, I have the school Choir responsibilities to attend to, and it will be very unfair to them next year if I neglect my duties for the sake of my own academic pursuits.
The irony of the situation is that by doing well in school previously and obtaining the scholarship, I am now prevented from pursuing my own interests (those external H3s I listed above all have something to do with my possible future careers). It kinda hurts, but if I complain, I think a lot of people will want to strangle me.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The worst thing about what stress does to me is it convolutes my thoughts, tints my judgement, and eventually renders me incapable of doing anything productive. The effects intensify when I'm rushed, and that has been happening a bit too often recently. There will always be one deadline after another, and each time I fail to meet one, the pressure to meet the next builds up, causing me to fail it, perpetuating the problem. I spent hours last night simply stressing out because I had failed to meet two deadlines, both of which were delayed on my account, while a third had been added. I was literally stunned by the situation and I couldn't concentrate on anything I attempted to do. My temper is wearing thin and it's probably due to my own disappointment in myself.
Laoshi expressed her concern during the consultation today. She has been noticing warning signs in my work recently. My command of the language has become shakier and more inconsistent with each exercise, and seeing this, she immediately knew that I must be overworked and mentally exhausted. She urged me to learn how to let go of my burdens and just deal with the tasks at hand. To me, it's like those moments just at the start of exam papers where you've come to terms with the fact that there's no way you can do any extra studying and all that is left is to do the paper. Forget what you're hoping to achieve for now, for your hopes may very well become your burden. That was the golden advice she shared, which I deeply appreciate along with her support and encouragement. Thanks, Laoshi.
"Forget yourself and go to work," said President Hinckley's father. True, but don't forget your sanity.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I quote his second paragraph:
As idealism and images of a perfectly-run world of law and order get washed away with time and experience, beliefs in realism form a core of my principles; my eyes now see a world of grey. Religion tries to define what's black and what's white. Ironically, it makes things all the more grey. In attempting to draw a line, the line actually creates a new split and an additional school of thought; generating more confusion, conflict and endless debate.In general, Abrahamic religions (ie Judaism, Christianity and Islam) draw the line by use of commandments which tend to be absolute, hence defining explicitly what is sin and what is not. We all know times have changed while nothing about the scriptures besides our own interpretations of it have changed. Modern issues do not have the line clearly drawn by our scriptures the way the Mosaic Law did in the past. In our Church, our Latter-Day prophets are able to give modern revelation from God regarding modern issues. For our Church, the conditions for abortion to be acceptable have been laid out. However, there are still many issues that the Church does not have an official stand on.
For example, in the debate on human embryonic stem cell research, the scriptures provide no guidance at all, and if the issue is on the sanctity of life, the scriptures are unable to help by stating at which point of time is an embryo considered a human being (or when does it possess a spirit). If a scientist considering stem cell research on human embryos turns to the scriptures, there is no direct commandment or law regarding the matter, other than the Old Testament's 6th Commandment forbidding murder, which brings in the earlier problem of when an embryo is considered a human being. Here is where the "additional school of thought" is formed, and instead of just arguing whether stem cell research using human embryos is right or wrong, a new argument ensues regarding the defintion of and criteria for murder. Thus we see that one debate leads to another and nothing gets done. Will the poor scientist be left without any way of knowing what is right and what is wrong, left to wander on his own in the confusing "grey region"?
My answer is no and I would like to share a Sunday School lesson I had a long time ago in KL to explain why:
I do not remember the topic of the lesson but we found ourselves in a discussion on personal revelation. Personal revelation is what each of us receives by inspiration of the Holy Ghost and concerns our own matters, be it decisions, callings etc. This is often achieved through prayer, scripture study, ponderance and fasting. The Commandments are a form of revelation that applies to all believers, and gives the general people a sense of what is right and wrong. Of course, everybody is different, and that is where personal revelation comes in. Each of us have to make unique decisions in life. There will be times when our situation just does not fall into the "general" category. Here, the "general" revelation will not easily define exactly what the right or wrong choices are for us. However, with personal revelation, those who are attuned to the Spirit will be given either a "burning in the bosom" (green light) or "a stupor of thought" (red light) after making a decision. This way, no matter what the issue at hand is, one who receives personal revelation will know which choices are good and which choices are not so good.
Coming back to the example of the scientist. If he were a member of our Church, his best option would be to prayerfully read the scriptures (more to invite the spirit than find explicit instructions) and perhaps fast to receive Divine guidance. Perhaps the Lord's answer to him would be affirmative, perhaps not. Either way, it is his choice, and what is right or wrong to him will be clear.
Naturally, our perception of what is absolutely right or absolutely wrong will easily differ from the person next to us. This is where the problem of the grey area comes in. If what we see as absolutely wrong is not wrong at all according to someone else, then it can't really be absolutely wrong, can it? But when we look at it this way, the only problem about the grey area is that some laws don't apply to everyone. But does it matter? Not when we have personal revelation. We did not come to Earth to decide for others what is right or wrong for them. We came to Earth to make our own choices and to progress spiritually. Unless we are Divinely called to lead others (by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority), then the only grey area that exists is what we are yet ask God about and receive personal revelation.
That is the beauty of the true Gospel. The Holy Ghost will guides us when we remain spiritually worthy and thus our "Religion," so to speak, draws the line clearly for us.
Thanks Trent for always sparking interesting discussions at your blog.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
My perfectionist traits are acting up again, as they usually do with the looming exams. Mom just gave me a massage earlier to help loosen up the tension that keeps building up in my back and shoulders. I really ought to stop stressing myself out so badly. That's seriously a problem about setting high expectations of myself. At least I'm paid to do well in school heh heh heh.
I'm in no mood to elaborate on the convoluted logic that keeps messing up my head regarding this issue. I think I'm more in a mood for a millenium of slumber. Getting a good rest these days is like drinking with two straws, of which one is not in the drink. Go try it =)
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Many thanks to Kenneth, Joshua, Kenneth, Shem and Kandace as well.
Most quotable quote:
"This is why they call this a resort - we have to resort to staying in such a place"
- Parker, upon entering our bunk that had no air-conditioning, poor lighting, 3 beds (there were 4 of us), and a malfunctioning water heater.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
HOWEVER, when Dad came back home himself to take them, they decided they'd rather play their computer games and humour Dad with little more than monosyllabic grunts.
Dad's going back to KL now.
Someone too busy playing DotA didn't even bother saying goodbye.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Term 3 of the school year is coming close to an end. We have reached a point where everyone in the lecture theater appears zombie-like. It was particularly bad last week, where literally everyone complained that they were feeling unusually exhausted despite the four-day week. I suspect the arrival of our first few major common assessments to be the culprit. Ask any Geography student about granite and he will probably flee from you in utter horror. Oh, and don't get started on the first draft of the Project Work Written Report.
I've been thinking about my current imbalance of lifestyle recently. Co-Curricular Activities now take up a huge portion of my permanent mental preoccupation. It's just so much work on top of my already insane Music Elective Program homework, and I'm still trying to find time to practice more Maths (I failed the last timed assignment by 10%). On the bright side of things, the recent Geography test forced me to study (ie highlight notes and internalise information) which will make promotional exam preparations slightly easier. All this has been taking up so much time that everything I seem to be doing nowadays is related to schoolwork. I probably could blame myself for wanting to excel in what I do, but I'd rather not "take it easy" and run the risk of ending up reverting back to my old slacker self.
I'm a bit worried that I'll be a workaholic when I grow up. Wanting to raise a happy family while contributing to the world through work will definitely be a challenge. Dreams are the only real break I have from the hectic schedule I'm learning to keep up with right now.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Singing the lower part is no kick for a choirboy, (though sight singing is a lot more exciting) nor is naming the cadence after so much Harmony homework. But for some weird reason I had a lot of trouble naming the chords and their inversions. Even worse are my skills at detecting modulations. While practising with Aldy and Jasmine's help today I devised a few methods, one of which is imagining that the chord I hear is a dominant about to resolve to the tonic in order to detect the inversion. So far I can only get it to work for major chords. Aldy evilly threw me off with minor chords, so I'm yet to come up with something for those.
I hope my school uniform is fireproof, cuz I might burn out.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
2. Listen to Prokofiev's music
3. Research on a Classical Music composer other than Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven
4. Analyse a 12 tone composition
5. Improve my compositional techniques composition write up
6. Complete my Baroque harmony exercise
7. Familiarise myself with Carnatic terminology
8. PRACTICE THE PIANO
9. Listen to Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5
10. Analyse the first movement of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5
11. Finish my ECONnect e-assignment
12. Finish my Mac Laurin's Series tutorial
13. Finish reading my GP Government and Politics reading package
14. Hold a choir committee meeting
15. Complete the Chinese assignment on 《车票》
16. Craft a Human Geography essay outline
Maths : 1
GP : 1
Chinese : 1
CCA : 1
Music : 10
MEP for the win...
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Talk about annoying Internet Man entitlement complexes.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
because I just realized (from firsthand experience) how easy it is to make people look prettier with Photoshop.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
I couldn't agree more, especially to #3, 5, 15, 21, 22, 26 (perhaps the sharpest comment of all)
Nice to know I haven't lost touch with Malay. I should come up with a regular Malay reading session XD
Fear not, I am not about to embark on yet another disastrous quasi-romantic escapade. I am merely disturbed. In both ways.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
The beginning of the end can perhaps be defined as an event which triggers off a string of subsequent events which lead to the end, but how do you define the end of the beginning? How far does the scope of the beginning extend? Is the end of the beginning nothing other than the end? Oh wait, I think I just got it. If the beginning is defined as an event which will trigger off subsequent events, then the end of the beginning is the end of the very first event.
Obviously, I'm relishing the free time of post-exams lack of homework by coming up with this sort of nonsense
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Things I got to do:
1. Ride the bullet train from Tianjin to Beijing (330km/h)
2. Celebrate 姐姐's 25th Birthday!
3. Hang out with Su姐 and 姐姐
4. Hang out with Christopher
Quote: "Don't do anything I wouldn't do, but if you do, name it after me." XD
5. Hang out with Jeff Whitaker (he left KL in 2005)
6. Eat lots of food
7. Try the famous 北京烤鸭
8. Try Russian Borsch (cooked by 姐姐's roommate Leru)
9. Listen to the exciting violent/glorious history of a 李 village
10. Cycle, not to mention love the bicycle lanes!
11. Survive crossing a street
12. Hang out with the kids at 姐姐's workplace (a kindergarten)
13. Visit 天坛公园 (Temple of Heaven)
14. Visit 天安门 (Tiananmen Square)
15. Visit 故宫 (Forbidden City)
16. Visit 长城 (Great Wall)
17. Hang out with 姐姐's fellow gamergeek friends! (games played: Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, Acquire, Settlers of Catan etc)
18. Swing dance
19. Learn new swing dance moves (all to do with the swing out)
20. Correct my Waltz posture (thanks Su姐!)
21. Watch Star Trek
22. Buy new ties! (orange and pink are new colours in my collection of dull ties)
23. Learn more about Chinese culture (from Isaac and taxi drivers)
24. Get my baggage screened just to ride the subway -_-
25. Kiss inanimate objects
26. Take a break from studying (MUCH NEEDED)
27. Meet new YSA friends
28. Get a massage (not a full body one which I really wanted though)
29. Get a haircut
30. Eat 新疆 food (their 串儿 pwns Satay!!!)
31. Laugh at mistranslations
32. Haggle (first time in my life; it's amazingly similar to staying away from sin - "just walk away")
33. Buy gifts for the family
34. Ride an LCC XD
35. Learn what "barbers" with purple lights and 黑车 mean
36. Learn the principle of 谁买单 from Isaac
37. Take awesome photos!
Things I wanted to do but didn't:
1. Make a reality video titled "Crossing a Street in Beijing"
2. Study -.- (stupid Term Exams)
3. Visit the Summer Palace (a bit far + no time)
4. Go to 王府井 and try some exotic food (eg Scorpion)
5. Play more board games with 姐姐's gamergeek friends
6. Buy a new shirt (lazy to haggle)
7. STAY LONGERRRRRRRRRRRR
Friday, July 03, 2009
Everyone likes to criticise Economics for making too many assumptions. Of course, the reason for it is not because of the fact that it makes assumptions, but simply because too many assumptions create a scenario that is non-existent in the actual world.
This brought me to wonder, don't we make assumptions in everything we do? This might be a little far-fetched, but take the example of the person criticising Economics for making too many assumptions. Did he not voice his opinion with the assumption that someone will listen to him? Obviously his assumption does not hold in the actual world, because despite all the critique about Economics (I read a very convincing article misplaced by a Knowledge Inquiry student), economists are still explaining and predicting the economy. Hence, nobody listened to him. Of course, his critique is still important to take note because bad assumptions by economists will have greater implications than bad assumptions by a critic.
But back to the point, we all make assumptions (be it consciously or subconsciously) in everything. By posting this blog, I'm assuming that it will be read, and is even worth reading such that you will continue reading even up to this point and beyond. By reading this post, you, as the reader, are assuming that this is worth reading and not a complete waste of your time. Whether or not my are your assumptions are correct depends on the outcome, and even so, the outcome is subject to interpretation through various standpoints.
What bothered me is this: Is it possible to consciously perform an action that is utterly devoid of assumptions? Even when we do random things (as in random for the sake of randomness) one can argue that we did so assuming that our actions are categorized as random.
So! Time for some serious mind stretching. Can you think of something you can do that can be argued to have no assumptions at all? I keep coming up with possible assumptions for everything I do, so I can't come up with any examples. I'd like to hear some suggestions, though.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
My ballroom dance class has been disbanded. Again. Funny how the last time that happened, it was in August last year, and it's July right now - less than a month away from August. Seems like I'm jinxed to change dance class groups every year. Might as well be a Defense against the Dark Arts teacher in Hogwarts eh.
To make the coincidence even more astonishing, I just started learning the Quickstep in my last lesson. The last time round, I was supposed to start the Quickstep in the next lesson. D'oh! This time round, my dance partner Marie had to pull out, and so our group of six dancers dissolved. We did have a great time with the Waltz, though =) It will be great to be able to dance with her again in the future.
I have slightly better luck this time, though. Sister Judy found another group I can join starting on the 24th this month. It'll be Argentine Tango! I signed up straight away. For embarrassing personal reasons, the Tango was the first dance I wanted to learn when I considered picking up dancing back in 2007. That was before I knew Sister Judy and her husband Brother Algy Tan. When Sister Lee introduced me to them through a Rock N' Roll class later that year, I was encouraged by them try the Waltz, which I agreed to. At the same time I learnt some social Salsa which I have nearly completely forgotten, owing to the scarcity of female Salsa dancers at Church dances.
At any rate, the Tango still intrigued me, especially when Brother and Sister Tan did some demonstrations, or when I watched other dancers learning it. I also happened to be a fan of the great composer for Tango music, Astor Piazzolla. I knew nothing of the system 'quick' and 'slow' steps in the Tango, and I was curious to find out. I only just figured it out in the first and only Quickstep lesson I had last Saturday, since the same system is used. It took me several laps of blundering through footwork set against music before it finally clicked, and that's why I'm all the more keen to try out the Tango now.
The first lesson will be on the 24th, which means classes will be on Friday instead of Saturday. That should ease some pressure off my Saturday social deprivation.
Monday, June 29, 2009
There's also nothing like staring at blank spaces on your Maths answer sheet as the invigilator announces that time is up. I did it again, I panicked, made calculation errors, went back to correct them, and proceeded cautiously (ie too slowly). All of that in the very first question. Obviously, I messed up the paper as easily as a snail messing up in a Formula One race. I didn't finish the paper! Honestly speaking, I like taking my time to think things through (this applies to everything apart from whether ice cream belongs to my mouth), and that's not exactly advantageous in exam settings.
And so it happened. Out of 50 marks, 26 marks were gone simply because I didn't have enough time. I have effectively lost all hope of passing Maths for my Term exams. That's what I deserve for not practicing enough.
But a failed Maths paper is nothing compared to what's coming this Wednesday --- 3 H2 papers in one day: Economics, Geography, and Music. Thankfully, Economics is not content heavy, but Geography is as good as two subjects put together and Music is like three different papers mashed up together. I bet that on Tuesday night, I'll be having nightmares of a Plinian volcanic eruption, which will lead to a sudden rise in the Crude Death Rate; From the depths of the caldera of the eruption, Bela Bartok will pop out with his Tritone of doom playing on a Sitar in his left hand and an out-of-tune Rebab on his right, preaching Allocative Efficiency, Price Elasticity concepts and Long Term Costs of Production.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
My greatest fear for the exams, though is probably my piano performance exam. You just can't mug overnight for an exam that requires consistent hourly practices every day. It's kind of like Maths. Which is probably why I'm doomed for both.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I drove up to KL the day before my flight to Beijing. Dad covered the initial part of the journey, while I took the remaining 300km. It was probably the first time I clocked so many hours at one go. There was a terrible accident on the highway where a truck veered of the road. It caused a massive traffic jam you'd expect to see only in the city. Other than that the trip was mostly uneventful, except that I have set myself a new record for highest speed driven at... I was rushing to meet Hao Ran and some other J3B buddies for dinner. I missed the dinner in the end, but we went out to a 24 hour McDonalds for supper and a nice long chat. I miss their humour... my Singaporean friends seem to be less forgiving of lame jokes XD
My first solo international flight took place the next day (Friday). The haze was terrible... I didn't get to take any photos during take off. During landing, even when I tried to take photos, I realized that my window seat was where the wing was -.- Oh well.
I landed in Tianjin, where the Chinese quarantine officials came in to check our temperatures. I tried very hard to suppress my cough, which was sort of a remnant of my flu. Things worked out and I was not-so-shortly allowed to step onto Chinese soil for the first time in my life, though not after they checked my passport like half a zillion times. Jiejie was there to meet me, and she brought me to take the bullet train to Beijing.
I couldn't get a window seat on the bullet train, and we were going so fast (330km/h) that it was kind of hard to take any photos of the scenery anyway. But I looked out the window anyway to absorb the magnificent scenery around. Endless stretches of farms, fires (presumably farmers clearing their farms), distant coal-powered plants and a huge expanse of infinite space were things that convinced me that I was in China.
We arrived in Beijing and I was treated to a Never-ending Taxi Ride. The jam to Jiejie's house was terrible...
We went over to Grace's place where I would be staying, and joined the weekly Church YSA Family Home Evening. We played lots of Pandemic (an awesome board game of saving the world from infectious diseases) and a feast thanks to some culinary-inclined Taiwanese members.
Saturday followed, where I found myself awake at 11am. Jiejie came over to have breakfast with my host and her boyfriend. Grace and Jiejie decided to get manicures, which I wasn't keen on (she invited me to join her) so I stayed behind to (sigh) practice on the piano and do some maths. Jiejie and I later went out for a haircut and massage, then dinner. She showed me the sights and how to get around. When we went back to her place we got onto her bicycle and I brought her to the airport express where she could take a train to the airport to pick up her fiance Christopher. I was then left with some time to myself to explore the night scene, which wasn't much. I must admit, though, that cycling and watching out for crazy Beijing drivers was a true, must-try Beijing experience.
I went to Church today and got to meet some of the Beijing 1st Branch members, all of whom are foreigners, of course. The trip to Church involved a taxi ride with a chatty taxi driver sharing with us some awesome information. He said that most taxi drivers in Beijing took part in the Vietnam War, including himself. He later added that he hates war and is thus far approving of Obama. He proceeded to tell us about all the crazy things couples have to buy and pay insane amounts of money for when they get married. And I thought that the one child policy was enough to keep the population in check haha. It was cool to meet the YSA whom I first met at the Family Home Evening on Friday. I got to meet Jeff Whitaker too! The last time I saw him was when he left KL in 2005. It's been a loooooong time. He hasn't changed much =) I'll be going over to his place for some fun tomorrow.
We went out for a Japanese lunch to celebrate Jiejie's birthday today with Christopher, Isaac and Leru. Isaac shared with us the rules of a buffet "oyster challenge" which was thoroughly amusing. Christopher and Isaac later shared their hilarious trip to San Fransisco, involving a trip to the tanning saloon and getting a COUPLE'S DISCOUNT. We headed back to Jiejie's place after that for more Pandemic. Jiejie and Christopher decided to take a taxi while I followed Leru back on foot (where she showed me the sights, talked a bit about Russia and shared what she loved about Beijing). I'm not sure what else I want to do yet besides eat and play games with Jiejie's gamer geek friends, but I'm sure when Sujie comes on Tuesday we'll go sightseeing (I'm yet to set foot on the Great Wall!).
If only term exams aren't after the holidays...
Saturday, June 06, 2009
My computer's fixed! Apparently the floppy drive had to be disabled and the graphics card adjusted (it was loose). I think it's high time to get a new graphics card though (and a processor too). I just need to budget it out carefully.
Wearing a mask almost all day is quite disorientating. I never knew air without a mask smelt soooooo good XD
Friday, June 05, 2009
Wednesday night was one of my worst nights this year. The fever started to develop and I was shivering like crazy. I had goosebumps under my blanket. I even had to wear socks to sleep. Through it all I could barely breathe with my nose all runny. Most of that has gone away today (I think the doctor gave me anti histamines) but I developed a terrible sore throat this morning, probably due to constant breathing through my mouth, coupled with filthy smokers sucking their sticks of death outside my house. I'll be missing Waltz lessons and a YSA board gaming activity, which seems bewitched because I missed the last board gaming activity too. What's more irritating is that I'm a fan of board gaming. Gaah. Mom says I may not be able to go to Church this Sunday (for fear of spreading the flu to everyone), which means I have to sort out some stuff for the Ward Choir.
It's been pretty gloomy lying on my new bed (the couch) at home. If I'm not asleep, I'm lying awake on the couch feeling groggy, often having to witness Ray and Ern fighting over the computer. I hate that cursed game DOTA for life now. Ern has clearly developed withdrawal symptoms. I still can't supress the suspicion that he downloaded crap onto my computer and is therefore responsible for it dying out. He obviously will not volunteer to bring it down to the shop and get it fixed, since he only needs it to feed his gaming addiction, and the family computer is there to appease him. I, on the other hand, have unfinished schoolwork and photos stored in there. It sucks that I can't go out of the house.
I can hardly do anything productive either, since I'm so tired most of the time. I haven't been able to practice on the piano, neither have I been able to study in preparation for the exams after the holidays. Seems like I'll have to study during my trip to Beijing. Why does falling sick have to be the only way I can take a break -.-
On a lighter note, I've been able to read the first four books of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson, a tale of Greek gods and their half-god, half-human children in a modern setting. I read the first book ages ago in KL and haven't been able to find the sequels because I forgot the name of the book. I'm now re-reading the sixth Harry Potter book. I'm craving for more of Artemis Fowl though. All these children books go easy on my groggy brain.
My back aches after lying down for so long. I'm craving for a massage again, though it's probably best if nobody touches me. Oh well.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
My dear KL friends: I will be back in KL some time in the middle of next week, but only for 1 or 2 days before I fly off elsewhere. Hao Ran: Perhaps we can have dinner again? Poh Yi: Wanna meet up? =)
I miss the wheel... though I probably don't miss KL streets =P
Sunday, May 31, 2009
At last, I can take a breath. My geography teacher told me to do him a favour and take a break. I know I have a tendency to work too hard, but I don't see any point of coming all the way to Singapore and wasting my time in school.
Recently, I've been hit by the fact that live moves on, and really fast. I realized that I didn't really have a proper closure when I left KL in 2007. In my subsequent visits to KL, I could always go back to Tsun Jin and expect to see everyone. Now, just about everbody is preparing for university, while some are already there. I was informed (to my delight) that Chern Hui, Zi Xian and Yi Fei will be coming to the National University of Singapore. Others are flying to corners all over the world. Jian Shan is already in Japan. The problem about this is that from now on, whenever I'm back in KL, I won't be able to meet everyone anymore. Even though I attended their graduation night last year, I didn't really treat it as a farewell, a final gathering before our paths diverge. In many ways, the part of me I attached to KL is really attached to them. Now that most of them are leaving, I feel somewhat at a loss.
What is home, then?
The saying that "Home is where the heart is" certainly has a point. Living in the age of global citizens, one may find it hard to say where is home exactly. Personally, I suspect then when I'm older, home will just be wherever my wife is.
Moving on, I'll be going back to KL before my trip to visit 姐姐 in 北京. Last chance to meet Hao Ran before he goes to Australia for uni!
On a side note, the problem about having too many super-intellectual friends is that their blogs are almost impossible to speed read XD Couple that with barely any time to slack on the computer these days, and I'm a frog in the well. Come to think of it, almost every time I go to the computer it's for school work. Maybe that's why my computer died on me.
Choir concert tomorrow!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
We learnt the back whisk and wing, but that wasn't the reason why it was so enjoyable. In fact, I can hardly put it into words myself.
The essence of Waltz is the rise and fall, and being the most graceful ballroom dance, it takes a lot of work to pull it off nicely. Marie and I have come a long way with the Waltz now, having trained together for about half a year. We're starting to communicate better during the dance, and she's much better at following. I can't say whether my leading skills have improved or not, but at least I'm now more aware of what signals I need to send. The slightest twist at the hip, the gradual turn of the upper torso, or the descent that precedes any movement, all these things come together to let her know what I'm about to do. Miscommunication often has hilarious effects, like the two of us losing balance.
We've reached a point where we're starting to get used to each other as dance partners, which brings a whole lot more depth to the dance, since the communication barrier is slowly being eroded and we start to dance more than stumble over each other. Couple that with a superb new selection of songs, and you have a wonderful form of therapy. Therapy from the never ending destructive trail of homework, tests and PROJECT WORK.
On a side note, I'll be premiering my music timbral techniques composition soon!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
"By the way Han, can you see me after class?"
I thought she was planning to have a talk with me about sudden rule-breaking requests, but when I asked her how long it would take (I had to rush for Chinese after the Harmony lesson) she said it's just a piece of good news.
"Actually, I can just tell you now. You've gotten the MOE MEP Scholarship."
A threw my hands into the air and my head back, as a silent cheer jammed my throat. She shook my hand and reminded me to pay attention in class XD
After all the excitement however, I must say that a certain sense of inadequacy has begun to surface. I am not being humble when I say that my performance skills are nothing exceptional. I was worried that my recording for the application would have put an end to the whole thing. I thought music scholarships are given to musicians who excel at every aspect of music?
Whatever the case, I will definitely take MEP more seriously (if that's possible hehe). There's a joy in music that is a major part of me that I hope to share. Perhaps with a deeper understanding of music, I can better bring the joy of music to others.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Saturday, May 09, 2009
It turned out to be pretty accurate, although I must say that "efficient problem solver" is more of a joke to me. [words in these brackets are my replies to the results]
Your view on yourself:You are down-to-earth [*cough*] and people like you because you are so straightforward. You are an efficient problem solver because you will listen to both sides of an argument before making a decision that usually appeals to both parties. [I didn't expect this]
The type of girlfriend/boyfriend you are looking for:You are not looking merely for a girl/boyfriend - you are looking for your life partner. [hohoho] Perhaps you should be more open-minded about who you spend time with. The person you are looking for might hide their charm under their exterior. [charm is the buzzword alright]
Your readiness to commit to a relationship:You prefer to get to know a person very well before deciding whether you will commit to the relationship. [DUH. Incidentally, I've never committed to a BGR so far in my entire life]
The seriousness of your love:You are very serious about relationships and aren't interested in wasting time with people you don't really like. If you meet the right person, you will fall deeply and beautifully in love. [sigh]
Your views on educationEducation is very important in life. You want to study hard and learn as much as you can. [HAHA. I quote my awesome Geography teacher Mr Lynn: "You need to study less you knowww." I honestly do love learning actually]
The right job for you:You're a practical person and will choose a secure job with a steady income. Knowing what you like to do is important. [yesss] Find a regular job doing just that and you'll be set for life.
How do you view success:You are afraid of failure [unfortunately so] and scared to have a go at the career you would like to have in case you don't succeed. Don't give up when you haven't yet even started! Be courageous.
What are you most afraid of:You are afraid of things that you cannot control. [I can get very annoyed with last minute requests/assignments] Sometimes you show your anger to cover up how you feel.
Who is your true self:You are mature, reasonable, honest and give good advice. People ask for your comments on all sorts of different issues. [It seems to be the case] Sometimes you might find yourself in a dilemma when trapped with a problem, which your heart rather than your head needs to solve. [probably because I have a tendency to take things to heart]
Friday, May 08, 2009
2. Maths tutorial and lecture where I actually understand what's going on
3. GP lesson with student presentations filled with an overdose of lame jokes (a sizable amount of which I was responsible for)
4. Economics lecture I am able to follow despite missing the previous lecture (choir)
5. Project Work discussion with teacher-in-charge that brings us somewhere (at last)
And through it all, a generous dosage of socialising.
Payback time in catching up on assignments over the long weekend.
Monday, April 27, 2009
I am not amused, however, by random people on Facebook adding me just because we have friends in common. Especially if we only have 4 friends in common, of whom none of them have ever had more than a minute's conversation with me.
I managed to clock in at 10min 20sec for my 2.4km NAFA run today! It's the first A for 2.4 I've gotten since coming to Singapore. Now if I could just do 8 chin-ups (which is like twice my current average) I will get a Gold for NAFA (assuming I do just as well in all the other four stations as I normally do), with which I can do... wait for it... nothing! I'm not even obliged to go for National Service in Singapore. At most, I can run around with an inflated ego proclaiming to the world that I rock. Yeah.
Incidentally, I calculated that the barest minimum to get a Gold for NAFA is 3 Cs and 3 Bs. Yes, it is possible to get a Gold for NAFA without a single A. Good luck everyone!
Friday, April 24, 2009
I watched an old Studio Ghibli Production called Kiki's Delivery Service while completing my Geography essay earlier. The beautifully done background scenery in the cartoon brought fond memories of my highway trips between Singapore and KL. Sitting next to a window on a bus with the curtain open, gazing across the open space where the sky cleanly meets the horizon, it is always a perfect moment to take a deep breath, put my troubles at the back of my head, and anticipate the opportunity to meet Simba once more.
And then doze off. Perfect time to catch up on sleep too.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Then end up staring at a few horizontal lines that begin to mock you with the fact that there's nothing between them but the whiteness of manuscript paper.
And so, a mindless improvisation of illogical motifs ensues on a tortured Baby Grand.
Speaking of tortured, I nearly forgot to remove the chopsticks from the piano after experimenting for Techniques class ideas XD
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I've been wanting to post something of significant social meaning that is dear to my heart recently. Perhaps it is a spillover effect from GP lessons, but I keep finding other things to do on Sundays. Like paying off my sleep debts. I am still so fascinated by the fact that you can go for a GP class, have a magnificent discussion with the class that leads to practically nowhere, and still come out feeling pleased like you've learnt something significant.
Speaking of GP classes, I accidentally wrote a 70 word sentence in an essay. I apologized to my teacher haha.
"Let me introduce you to something very useful called the full stop."
Friday, April 03, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
I didn't have classes, but I went back to school a lot, many thanks to Choir. We're practicing some really interesting songs, and, as an MEP student, I'm expected to contribute a lot while in Choir. Oh well, I am a music enthusiast after all...
What I accomplished:
- Chinese homework
- Geography homework
- Maths homework
- Economics homework (thanks Ben!)
- A family outing (not that I planned it, but I enjoyed myself, albeit with a headache afterwards)
- Finished reading the GP Education package (which was very insightful)
- Finish playing Half-life 2 Episode 1 and Episode 2
- Clean up my room (not entirely, but already a commendable effort heheh)
- Drive around (hoho... a brief misadventure 2 Saturdays ago while driving some fellow MEP students home from a concert)
What I had hoped to (but failed to) accomplish:
- Brush up my Harmony skills
- Draw at least 1 comic
- Have a 1AH class outing
- Have a 4A3 class outing
- Go for the Mount Ophir trip (shot down to make way for commitments to the choir)
- Post something intelligent on this blog for once
Back to school again. Our infamous MASS PE at ACJC will do well to help me lose some holiday-overeating fats.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
"You're crazy" is the kind of looks I get most of the time. Not in the warm way that I've grown too accustomed to hearing from close friends, but in a way that makes me feel like I'm committing a crime just by loving school.
Is the fact that I have a passion for every subject I'm taking so disturbing? Why shouldn't I study my lecture notes long in advance when I'm genuinely interested in the topic at hand? Because it'll make me look like a lifeless mugger?
Even worse, I tend to take non-academic assignments a little too seriously. I put great personal effort in little inconsequential projects which most other people won't bother with, thereby reeking with over-enthusiasm. The thrill of carrying out projects is not particularly in flavour with the masses, apparently. Excellence should only be required for graded material, after all.
And, to top it all off, my subject combination is just so weird that I can barely forge any close friendships with classmates whom I hardly see at all.
No choice but to just sit it out and hope that I'll eventually be accepted as someone who just happens to enjoy learning in school.
"Yeah, and you're ugly!"
"That doesn't work. We're twins."
I've been laughing my head off the past few days over Gordon Frohman's many misadventures in the land of Parody. For all Gamers who have played Half-Life 2, http://www.hlcomic.com is a must to see!
Sunday, March 08, 2009
The issue of using English as the teaching medium for Maths and Science in Malaysia has long been debated. The official implementation in Secondary schools occurred in 2003. I do not remember any public outcry, but perhaps I was just too young and unconcerned to pay attention to current events. I was only aware that it was an issue that had been discussed for quite a while. I was, of course, pleased, because English is my first language. I was not aware of public resentment until recently (many thanks to Mobile TV on buses).
According to the government, the use of English in Maths and Science was implemented in hopes of raising the standards of the English Language in the Malaysian society. The reason for this is clearly a no-brainer - we are living in an increasingly interconnected world, and English is the lingua franca. In order to remain competitive, the ability to communicate well and conduct businesses with foreign firms is key. The government has wisely forseen the dangers of neglecting the English language, especially for the country's development. The decision to promote the use of English through such means is therefore commendable.
Additionally, the use of English in Science and Maths is sensible, because most leading papers on these two subjects are in English. Translations take time and are usually four years behind time. It may be justifiable to use Malay in Science and Maths if it were a widely used language, but the fact is that it is not. If one intends to study in leading universities in Sciences or Maths, or work with such research teams, chances are that English will be used in the reports. Malay, on the other hand, is not likely to be used outside of Malaysia. Furthermore, most of the technical terms used in Science and Math in Malay are direct translations from English in the first place. In practical terms, English should be used in place of Malay.
Now comes the accusation of cultural loss. I say: What cultural loss? The Science and Math taught in school was not developed in the Malay language nor culture in the first place. Scientific and Mathematical breakthroughs are not a hallmark of the Malay culture. Malay literature, on the other hand, is original, beatifully written, a delight to read, and truly Malay. Malay literature also happens to be a component of the subject of Bahasa Malaysia, which is compulsory for all Malaysians studying in local schools. It still is. This is where Malay truly shines on its own. This is where the essence of Malay culture can be captured, reflected, and preserved. This what is already being done.
I have gone through most of the Malaysian education system. I truly (if not secretly) enjoyed my Bahasa Malaysia lessons, especially the literature components. They make up my identity as a Malaysian, and I am proud of it. And it is because of my pride in being Malaysia that I am concerned for our future. English has already proven its importance in today's world. The future development of the country is at stake if the people are not well equipped with the modern tools of the trade - one of it being a good grasp of the English language.
The fear of cultural loss because of the use of English in Science and Maths is exaggerated, and it is not right for the opposition parties to bank on public emotions on the issue.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
I wasn't late, thanks to Dad, but I'd rather not try that ever again. I guess Swim PE yesterday exhausted me - I'm a crappy swimmer.
This blog is going to see very little activity this year. If the pace at which school life is right now stays the same for the rest of the year, I may be too tired to blog at all.
I'm already wondering if the marginal benefit of sitting here blogging away outweighs the marginal cost of more lost sleep hahaha.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
If you look closely, you can see my glasses tan line - a souvenir of ACJC Orientation.
For those interested, Dad filmed my Valedictorian Speech, found here.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I've sealed my fate by taking up formal piano lessons again. I'll finally be taking ABRSM Grade 8 Practical.
I offered to be the GP subject representative in class today. Thank goodness I finally got a daily planner.
My Harmony lessons for Music are one to one. Just what I need.
I am the only Arts student in my H2 Maths Tutorial group. A perfect way to mix around with all them Science students who still can't quite believe that I chose the Arts stream.
I will probably not be seen at home any earlier than 6pm on school days. I'm still figuring out how to do my daily revision.
The Missionaries are still calling me to help them out, despite the fact that JC is about to reach its full swing. And I'm still setting aside time for them.
I'm considering drawing a bimonthly cartoon for the school Blog. I wonder if I can squeeze the time in.
JC life is so fulfilling-ly intense.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I find the fact that she's always haunting my thoughts increasingly frustrating, because I have too many important things to juggle right now. It does not help that while I am trying to work out the tasks I have to complete during the week in my head, she suddenly pops in to scramble up all my thoughts. I'm beginning to wonder how I was able to survive the 'O' Level Examinations last year.
Perhaps I have let my feelings for her stretch too far, although she probably doesn't realize it. The problem is, how do you snatch your head back from someone who doesn't even know that she has stolen it? Nobody walks up to a girl with a request for her to avoid him so that he doesn't have to see her and be reminded of her before she even knows he's fallen for her.
I don't know why I'm so moody about this today. I suppose it's a bit like a tiny pebble in your shoe - it's always there, but you don't always feel it.
And I suddenly miss Simba a lot. Sadly, I won't be able to see him during the March holidays thanks to the school Choir.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 is taking over my head. It will be one of the set pieces we'll be studying for MEP this year. Although we haven't started on it yet, I decided to borrow a CD from our Music Library. One first playing of the CD on my iTunes and I was instantly hooked. The rich, dark tones that eventually break out into an outcry of pleading on the lower strings in the First Movement was a very memorable moment. And that reoccuring "grotesque waltz" (coined by Roger Kamien is his book Music: Appreciation) theme in the Second Movement keeps playing over and over again in my head every day at school. The haunting piccolo solo in the Third Movement that is followed by a suspenseful build up by the orchestra is but one of the many points of interest in a single movement. The pompous Fourth (final) Movement reflects my pure delight in coming across such a wonderfully written Symphony.
I had Choir this morning, which was a blast. That Swedish song we're preparing for a performance is the type of music I've always dreamed of composing. The text is also (apparently) beautifully written. In about 90 minutes I'll be having Waltz lessons, followed by an evening at the Stake Young Single Adults dance (which I will have to be late for).
Idle Saturdays will be prized gems on my schedule this year.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I take H2 Economics, and my schedule only reflected 40 minutes of Economics per week. Is that supposed to be like, a twisted compliment to suggest that I'm smart enough to study on my own? Apparently my MEP lessons are on all the times when my classmates go for their Economics lectures. Oh well. I had to go to the HOD office to request a remake of my timetable. I'll have to wait until Monday to get it.
With my subject combination (and apparently, my raw L1R5 aggregate), I was posted to the class 1AH, one out of the 9 Arts classes in ACJC's batch of 2009 (there are 24 Science classes). Unless I'm mistaken, AH is nicknamed the "Arts Honours" class due to the fact that all the smartypants students who, for bizarre reasons did not choose the Science Stream, are clumped together in that class. At last! I'll be with weirdos like myself!
Currently the class has 24 students, of which only 5 are guys (unfortunately, I am one of the most envied guys in school). The number may expand, according to what I heard about the possibility of Humanities scholars from other classes being relocated to join us (or perhaps even the English Language Elective Program students). I've gotten to know a handful of my classmates already, but I doubt I'll be seeing them much since I'm not taking English Literature but taking MEP (I'm the only Music student in my class).
Choir tomorrow morning. Then Waltz in the evening. Then the Stake YSA Dance (which I will unavoidably be late for). I have this sinking feeling that my social life is not going to extend very far beyond school in the next two years.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I left a reply, and I feel like sharing it here to make my stand known.
"It's so annoying when Westerners are so quick to point fingers at Muslims.
And I find it very disturbing that morality can be attacked by these people in the name of sexual equality.
Here's a point to consider: In Western society, women can wear bikinis and a whole assortment of visually disturbing "clothing" which are often designed to attract the lustful attentions of men. In effect, women who wear such clothing are subjecting themselves to be mere sex objects in the eyes of men, thereby encouraging males to exercise the traditional male sexual dominance.
Oppression and/or weakness in courageously upholding morality? So, is it a sign of strength in a society that actively promotes commercial products through sex, subtly or not, where women are little more than degrading eye candy? Interesting..."
I do not think that is there is a problem with the Hijab. The problem is that Muslims have been put in bad light once too often in recent events. An American friend once shared with me how scared she was of going to Malaysia, a Muslim country, until she actually came to Malaysia and worked with the locals. Then it became clear to me that the press has a lot to answer for.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
For MEP (Music Elective Program) today each of the seven of us had to perform a piece on our first instrument for about 5 minutes. I chose to perform Martinu's The Puppets' Dance, taken from the ABRSM Grade 8 Piano book of 2007-2008. I played it for my 'O' Levels last year.
I was the fourth to go, after Aldy, Shao Jean, and Jasmine. When my turn came I walked over to the grand piano and set up the score, realizing suddenly (and perhaps too late) that I was not used to the score being at that height (sadly, I have an over-reliance on scores). I put the thought aside and began playing.
Barely past the first page and I couldn't take it. Missing/incorrect chords everywhere. I asked permission to start again.
Slightly better, but it got worse eventually. I asked for permission to start again.
Third (final) attempt:
Mrs Teoh asked me if I needed to take a break outside, and take my turn after someone else. I decided not to and just tried once more. I was not happy when I finished. Aldy pointed out later that my beginning had a good feel (though Mrs Teoh left a comment that I had overused the sustaining pedal) and the end quite good as well. I did feel that I started off a little better than my other attempts, but my practices were still much better. As for the last part, almost every heavy chord misfired, but since it was a fast piece I guess it wasn't really noticed, but I knew personally that I had failed myself. Aldy was pretty surprised, however, because he had heard me practicing in the other room before hand, and according to him I was at least 3 or 4 times better while practicing.
I don't know what went wrong, but today was the first time I ever messed up a performance that badly. Somehow, my mind just suddenly went blank when I looked at the score. It was like I didn't know what I was doing. It hurt. It hurt a lot.
After the performance, I went to another room to try the piece on my own again. It was better than the performance. Sigh.
Even worse, (though on a lighter note) after the performance Mrs Teoh had a brief discussion on what makes a good performance, and asked each of us about our favourite pianist/violinist and why. Shamingly, I do not have one, simply because I generally pay more attention to how the composer wrote the piece than how the performer played the piece. What a lousy pianist that makes me. I now have to start listening up on different pianist legends and making critical comparisons. Since when was "homework" finding out more about your favourite artiste? I bet others would die for homework like that. For me, I'm dying over it.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Incidentally, I read in the papers recently that parents would do well to read to their little children in an interactive manner if they want to instill in their kids an interest in reading. I have distinct memories of Mom and Dad reading bed time stories when I was much younger, and I probably owe my present inability to put good books down to that.
I went home teaching with Brother Ho today. We went to see Sister Pamela and Brother and Sister Saw. The lesson was about Joseph Smith and the First Vision, which was nice to reflect on. In fact, I had a sudden inspiration to do a drawing of that world-changing event. Of course, it will have to be in my cartoon style.... I lack the skills necessary to pull off a fantastic oil painting. Part of the lesson shifted to the topic of Christlike Love. Brother Ho, who organized the Valentine's Day evening social last night (which I missed out on for the sake of better things to do) brought up a fill-in-the-blank from one of the games yesterday.
"We ______ from those we love"
The answer is learn, which is something to think about. Personally, I think it would also be wise to pick a future partner from whom we are able to learn many things, as much as being able to learn things together. The best conversations are those when you say something that evokes a silent moment of absorption and reflection in both parties, and you both come out feeling that you've learnt something. Talking crap is as full of fun as as it is with, erm, crap, but it is those quiet, meaningful conversations that create lasting impressions in both friendships and relationships.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
School's been loads of fun. Yesterday's MEP class was an introduction to 20th Century Music, and of all things, we discussed Impressionism. I think it was clear to everyone in the room that my excitement could not be contained at all. I think my classmates need to be a little more participative, though. Miss Yong would ask for input and most of us would just stare back, pens held at the ready to take down notes. That makes for quite a few awkward silences. I suppose it's natural since we're all new. Hopefully we'll all open up soon enough. 'O' Level Music was super fun with Irfan in class XD
Didn't do anything special for Valentine's Day today. Well, I did quite a few things, but nothing to celebrate the occassion. I went for the ACJC Choir Welcoming Tea this morning (yes, I made it past the Choir auditions, and I'm not joining the Band). I can't be bothered to ramble on about what we did, but there was an inspiring post-reflection sharing session to leave everyone with food for thought.
I had Waltz in the evening, which was a blast, as always. Following that, I went out with the missionaries to teach Raja, who was very interested in the Gospel. It's interesting, because I had a gut feeling to not go for the Clementi Ward Valentine's Day celebration which took place at the same time. That left me free to join the missionaries out, who had apperently exhausted their list of helpers (everyone else was going for the event).
Just too bad I had no inspriation for a School Blues Valentine's Day comic.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I decided today that I will be taking my four subjects all at H2 Level. I asked the teacher who handled my registration "is it justifiable to take four H2s simply out of an interest in learning more than is 'required'?"
She proceeded to explain that the difficulty in terms of skill required to take the paper is no different between a subject taken at H1 level or H2 level. The only difference is that H2 level content is broader. In that sense, if I can cope, I definitely would want to take everything at H2 level.
All it will take is a lot of commitment to my academic studies from now on. Time to put on my nerdiest face!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
In short, GEMM, at far cry from the typical PCME and BCME.
I decided since last year that Geography would be the way to go, having discovered my personal desire to pursue a career in the social sciences. Then, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon the term “sociology,” and found myself deeply interested in such a field. Part of what sociology covers includes how society is influenced by the economy. It was then that I decided that Economics would be a good subject to take. As for Maths, no sociologist can escape statistics, so Statistical Maths would be a crucial element in my learning. Everything else in Maths will just be for good ‘ol brain utilizing. As for Music, that is where things get complicated.
At the beginning of the school year, when I was finally made to think carefully on my subject combination, I considered one of the following: Knowledge Inquiry (KI), Physics, English Language & Linguistics (ELL), and Music. Initially, Music was the first to be scraped off that list, due to my lack of confidence in my musical talent. That left KI, Physics, or English Language & Linguistics.
KI was next to be chucked out of my head when I had my first General Paper introductory lecture. The General Paper is about current world events, while KI, which replaces the General Paper, is a philosophical approach to the discussion of Knowledge. It struck me that General Paper would be much more practical to take if I’m interested in doing social work. Superficial philosophy doesn’t get much done, in my opinion. Plus, what’s there to argue when you have the Gospel. I no longer put any thought into KI.
I was excited about ELL, which includes (but is not limited to) the use of English in various contexts. I attended an introductory lecture, and took the diagnostic test (required to qualify for the subject). I didn’t make it. Thankfully too, because I could finally put it off my mind.
In effect, that would have left Physics as the sole survivor among the four subjects. Would have. Shao Jean from my Orientation Group tried to persuade me to take Music along with her and Leslie (also from our Group). Reluctantly, I attended an introductory lecture yesterday to see how I felt. I ended up buzzing with excitement throughout the entire lecture. Clearly, my heart has not let go of studying Music.
I attended another introductory Music lecture today, where our teacher introduced Indian Hindustani Music. I was just as excited as yesterday, but something interesting happened.
The school values suddenly popped up in my head - Integrity, Tenacity, and Passion in the pursuit of Truth. It is obviously clear that I have an insatiable passion for Music, but what I lacked was the tenacity to commit myself to the Music Elective Program. The story of the Lion in the Wizard of Oz suddenly came to mind, the Lion who wished he had courage. Another crazy thought came out of nowhere – my Orientation clan was Azlan, a lion representing tenacity. Shoot me down for having a weird mind, but it was revelation to me that the only thing holding me back from taking Music was my mentality. Never mind where my technical abilities stood – the teachers are supposed to train me, after all. Thinking back of the Physics introductory lecture where I mostly conversed with Kian Yang, I knew with a resolute surety which subject I had a greater interest in. Music finally won its way into my subject combination.
Next on my list of worries to lose sleep over:
Do I take 4 H2s or should I drop Economics to H1 level? Sigh.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
"Alright! Who wants to try drawing in a moving car?"
*Ryan and Rachel are the first to raise their hands.*
I took out the old sketchbook Vivian bought for me in 2006 (I still haven't used it up even after the sketchbook Hao Ran got me was massacred by some Barker Boys in 2007), tore some pages out and handed it to them along with pens and pencils to suit their personal drawing styles.
"Okay, draw anything you want!"
Rachel proceeded to draw a deliberately ugly impression of Michael who was next to her. She had a good laugh. Ryan made a few attempts to draw a nice little dolphin. Both showed me their work excitedly. I asked them to see if they could draw straight lines for fun. Ryan tried (and even Michael joined in). Rachel proceeded to draw whatever she wanted.
Eventually, Rena who was next to Rachel decided that it would be fun to join in, so she too asked for a piece of paper and pen.
I believe that when children are allowed to draw without guidance, they will draw things that most accurately reflect how they see the world, which is thoroughly interesting to me. In the case of Rena, she drew me and her Dad with extremely elongated torsos, which reflects how she sees everyone taller than her. That was pretty interesting to me.
This was Rachel's completed work (she decided to give it to me at the end)
She drew everything of her own accord. She probably loves her brother very much, because she included him in the drawing. She probably likes cats too. As for her impression of Rena, it took me by surprise. Michael suggested that Rena looks a bit like a mouse. Interesting to see that Rachel might view her younger sister that way.
Renee was busy crying over a missing sheet of paper from Primary, so she didn't start drawing until I was about to alight. She usually likes cutting things up, which is seriously fun to watch. Especially when she uses my mutilated pair of scissors. But anyway, I didn't get to see what she produced.
Rachel is starting to open up in terms of drawing. In the previous weeks she would wait for me to tell her what to draw. Today, she drew everything of her own accord, which is great, because interesting things are sure to pop up in future.
Ryan is going to be my protege haha. He's already talking about the diameters of the pens he plans to use, and what he finds more comfortable. If he hangs out with me a little longer he'll soon become fussy over the paper he draws on haha.
Back to another week of school tomorrow!
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Our OG outing at Sentosa. We had loads of fun playing volleyball, frisbee, and captain's ball. Dinner at Marche, Vivocity, followed.
To close our Orientation last night, we had a campfireless campfire in the school hall, named Firandae. It was a blast, although in my opinion the mass dance was horrible. People started trains in an obviously overcrowded room. I could not dance more than eight beats without getting smashed into by at least two trains at once. I went out to take a break at one of the staircases. Shoot me down for being a snob, but I think I prefer ballroom. Or even the swing bar I went Lindy Hopping at on Monday. The lights are less dizzying, and people don't intentionally charge into you with no less than a million followers behind them while you're trying to dance XD I don't think I'll be joining a train on the dance floor any time soon.
The real lectures will be starting next week. I'm pretty excited about Economics.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
There was a PE talk after that, of all crazy things. I was quite impressed by the PE Department philosophy and lesson package though. I can see that PE lessons will be rather interesting.
The games today left most of us caked in mud. It was fun, of course, but I had to sit outside the house to hose myself (and eventually my dirty clothes) before I could take a proper bath. As they promised, my skin already feels "as smooth as a baby's bottom, and as radiant as a pregnant woman" HAHA.
There is a crazy amount of school spirit in ACJC. Most of us in Orientation will have lost our voices at least twice over the course of these two days so far, and Orientation will continue up till the end of the week. I should probably get some rest.
Speaking of rest, my feet are exhausted. 姐姐 took me to a Jazz Bar last night, where I got to try out the Lindy Hop with her on a real dance floor. I later danced with two other random women. It was crazy. Send one wrong signal by accident and your partner will attempt a move which you will hinder and mess up the dance for a few beats. It was a good test of my leading skills. I was stuck with the closed position most of the time, since the open position is a bit tricky for me to lead with sufficiently fun variations. But it was a blast anyway. I enjoyed the music and the dancing, plus even a mocktail. Even watching other people dance was enjoyable. Swing is the dance to emanate pure energy.
It's just a pity that we have to go bars to find a public swing dance floor. The Church dances in the Stake here rarely amount to anything beyond clean clubbing, where dancing means jumping all around with some occassional hip-hop moves, and a handful of slow songs where people partner up and metronome around the room or around a tiny portion of it. Not many people have the patience to commit to several lessons on partnered dances, which is a pity, because the best part about dancing to me is the unspoken communication between two partners.
In other words, I am not particularly fond of the Mass Dance we at ACJC are preparing for at Orientation XD I still have to admit that it promotes a great school spirit, though, and that's why ACJC is so great.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Today was my first day in ACJC. The first day of Orientation was awesome, though my feet are still black after a few washes, and my voice is taking a while to come back. And of all crazy things to do on a first day, I got into trouble with the discipline master along with some fellow Barker Boys. We were a bit too noisy during his talk. For me, I was laughing too much at every crazy joke my fellow Barker Boys were pulling. To quote Benedict, "Score One for Barker! And Barker takes the lead!"
Gotta rush. 姐姐 is taking me out Swing dancing on her last night in Singapore.