Monday, January 26, 2015

drinking “beer”

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Finally, I got it.

I had been looking to buy a beer tower for three years.

It suddenly popped into my head sometime in 2012 (when I went to a brewery and spotted one which was unfortunately not for sale) that a beer tower is the perfect water dispenser for our family.

Because one, they kids don’t drink much water and I thought part of that was because they could not be bothered to lift up a heavy water jug and pour their own water. It’s easy and kind of fun to switch a lever with a tiger on it.

Two, because the beer tower holds so much, it means I don’t have to fill it up with water that often. (it used to be that the water jug was empty half the day as nobody bothered to fill it )

Three, a beer tower looks nice and it’s kind of cool.

I couldn’t find one.

It wasn’t the sort of thing I was actively looking for because it’s not urgent and it can’t be bought in a normal mall.

As far as I know, I was told a beer brewery (out in Tuas) sells it, but I wasn’t going to go all the way there.

Then, when we went to Ipoh, I saw a Carlsberg one in my cousin’s house. I said - Wah! Where did you this? I’ve been looking for one for years! – and he said, Oh, I have two spare ones. You want?

So now we have it. It’s life-changing. Everybody likes getting the water. It even came with a central "tube" for ice which fixes to the top, meant to cool the beer without diluting it, but I didn't need that.

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And because its plastic, its so light and easy to handle. (No, I still don't know where to buy one)

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

points of view

I said if he had an opinion, he should express it and stand by it.

So he did.

In defence of the hapless teacher, Day wrote in his class Whatsapp chat group:

"Can you all please at least respect XX? Don’t call her retarded or retired or other silly words. I know that she doesn’t teach very well and all but please have the decency to respect and at least pay attention. Play in class for all you want but please, please at least don’t disturb her when she’s teaching or don’t laugh at her when she does something wrong. Oh my God, she’s new. Respect her face-to-face, OK?"

In response, his friend wrote:

"She’s XX years old. I know she’s new (to our school) but shouldn’t she have some experience from her younger days? I actually don’t even know why MOE accepted her as a teacher when her teaching skills are that bad. She doesn’t respect us, wants us to respect her. I thought teachers always say – Treat the person the way you want to be treated? She doesn’t even treat us nicely. Why must it be a not experienced teacher that teaches us? We’re in a good class, we should have good teachers to teach us."

To which Day didn’t write anything, but raised an eyebrow and said, Well, he has a different opinion.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

most often said

To Day
Have you finished your homework?

To Jo
Don't worry, you'll always be fine.

To Lu
I love you too.

The above, I realize after a moment of reflection.

It gives me something to think about.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

road readers

Left, Young Scientist. Right, Manga Messiah.

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Friday, January 16, 2015

jo in p3

She is in august company this year.

The rambunctious, noisy and playful classmates have all gone. Surrounding her are a bunch of kids who I gather are very much like her: Obedient, well-behaved and perfectionist.

Her seat mate has been an exemplary influence. Named after a Roman gladiator, the pint-sized fellow is an academic commander and freely coaches Jody on how to do her work. She copies him, sometimes. He blithely tells her he’s not going for the school’s enrichment class because he has Mindstretcher classes in English, Maths, Science and Tuition.

(Mindstretcher is some sort of elite tuition agency)

This is news to Jo, who never imagined that there are children who get extra goodies after school.

She comes home and asks, eyes wide: Can I have tuition in English, Maths and Science too? (NO WAY, Girl)

He takes down notes in class university lecture style, and so Jo has taken it upon herself to do the same.

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* Her notes book

In addition – and this has nothing to do with her classmates – she wakes up 10 minutes every morning before I do, making her the first person in the house to get out of bed.

She is the only child of mine who has successfully kept to the ‘wake-myself-up-with-alarm-clock’ philosophy, and she is always up at 620am because she knows that unlike her throw-and-go siblings, she takes a long time to get ready.

At 630 when I stagger into the kitchen after cursorily shaking Day and Lu up, she is already finishing her sandwich.

It’s nice to say this: She is much better than me, in every way. It wasn’t until I was a mother that I developed an iota of discipline.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

in style

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Farewell, cartoon T-shirts, singlets, shorts and slippers.

The boy has a definite sense of style these days.

He will only put his head through a polo or logo-less T (plenty of cheap ones at Giant, thank goodness for this particular sartorial choice), and his feet through berms or long pants.

And he will only wears loafers, not toe-baring slippers.

Sometimes, he slips on a rainbow loom band around his ankle.

Just the other day, he had his eye on a straw fedora, but his desperation to have it was curtailed by KK who insisted that he should be wearing baseball hats to be ‘sporty’ and not be a Mraz-wannabe.

Mraz
* Jason Mraz in a straw fedora

To me, he's still a little boy. Who once upon a time wore pink shoes and pink shirts.

(Now aged 10, he is horrified beyond belief at how far I went in trying to make the point that boys can wear any colour and no, he won't go near pink today).

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Monday, January 12, 2015

tired lu

Lu’s main complaint about school: It’s so LONG, mama, it’s so long.

Day and Jo never felt that way, but then they seem to have more stamina than Lu, when it comes to exercise. I didn’t think it would relate to School Stamina, but apparently it does.

She comes home and collapses on the bed, post-lunch, still wearing her school blouse.

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Otherwise, she’s got herself a circle of cute little friends, who she quaintly calls by name and surname. So Mary, for instance, isn’t just Mary but Mary Ng. “Mary Ng lent me her pencil today,” she’d say.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

gai gai girls

These days it’s always the girls who follow me out. To go somewhere strange, run an errand, meet friends. Even when I don't want them to come along, they clamour to.

Day and his papa are seldom up for the unknown. Unless they know what they’re doing and where, and unless it’s something that they like, they’d rather stay home.

Just saying! I’m glad I have girls who like to socialize!

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* Coming along with me to meet Auntie Pris and her little boy, Ian, Rei's new two-week-old brother

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* Ian, Pris, Josephine - who Jo has met before, and me

Thursday, January 08, 2015

a new regime

The elderly lady shuffles into the classroom on the second day of school. It is the first time the maths teacher is meeting them. The ten-year-old boys and girls cannot believe how slowly she is walking.

Then madam, who is new to the school, starts teaching them about tens and hundreds and thousands and ten thousands and millions. Her pupils cannot believe how slowly she is teaching them about something they already know.

She proceeds to issue worksheets. They cannot believe how slowly she is distributing the papers.

Some pupils take out their books to read. Others chit-chat.

Back home, Day has a swell time re-enacting the collective dropped jaws when he and his classmates met their new maths teacher. He delightedly acts out 2014 versus 2015 maths class scenarios, alternatively whipping up and shouting all sergeant-like then hunching his back like an old crone.

She is as far removed from the old one as night and day. From going at 120km per hour, they’re now doing 60.

On the old teacher, the intense one who is now teaching maths in another class, Day says somewhat nostalgically, “We could hear him shouting from the other classroom. He’s already finished one chapter and we’ve only done one page.”

(For the record, the kids all want the intense teacher)

This year, the much-touted nightmare year, has been a lot less of a nightmare than the year before.

DAY HAS HAD NO HOMEWORK. (apart from some Chinese) And his Science teacher, who is apparently frequently sick, is away for two weeks.

Yeah we've had a leisurely first week of school. 

But after four years of this education system, I know well enough to know that these are not great signs for Primary 5 children of average intelligence and average motivation without tuition ie Homework at this point is a good thing.