AOPAD 33: Closer and cigar

Cable now has a thing for blutack. I know not why. So he’s blutack-ing his dinosaurs and I say blatack a piece of paper. He gets hold of an envelope and starts to write.. hey, is that my name?

That’s a brand new never-before-seen version. And I thought people have ran out of ways to misspell it. (Though I must say his handwriting’s improved.)

I say, no, and point, no E there.

So he writes the letters out again, correctly this time.

And does a neat tick beside ALVAN.

Then a cross beside ALEVAN.

And blutacks the whole thing on the wall.

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AOPAD 33: You guys are leaning the wrong way.

Changi Beach Park is pretty deserted on a Monday evening, as one might expect. There I was enjoying the run because the end point was just ahead and also the solitude and not having anyone around to see me disheveled and puffing and loping along like an exhausted string puppet.

Then lo and behold – an otter!

The critter was on the sand just by the sea, on its hind legs, nose high sniffing the air, when we locked eyes.

It promptly dove into the water without a ripple and disappeared.

It was the most accomplished vanishing act. I didn’t see it again though I hung around for ten minutes (because I needed to catch my breath).

So I turned around and saw this and took a photo.

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The Singapore ____ of 2018

In a future general world history, Singapore will be mentioned in footnotes to a few major articles.

Most of us think about Singapore in terms of its economic miracle and LKY and Raffles and the maybe mythical Sang Nila Utama. Some of us see it as a little red dot and a one-off curio of a country – the only Chinese-majority state outside of China-Taiwan-HK.

But we are also known for being Britian’s worst military loss – historians are arguing about this, so let’s say among the worst.

And I fear after 12 June 2018, whatever came out of Singapore will also go down in history the same way the Munich Agreement of 1938 did. What do we expect by getting involved with two morally bankrupt men without an iota of conscience between them but with plenty of nuclear weapons, one of whom is outright evil and the other just a step down?

Mixed signs on mixing

.. the Government had announced that it will be integrating rental units with purchased flats in three blocks in upcoming Build-to-Order projects.

Speaking at Temasek Holding’s Ecosperity conference, Mr Chan reiterated that the Government “must do more to ensure that every town and every precinct is a microcosm of Singapore”.

“We want to have a good mix of housing, with people from different backgrounds living and socialising together,” said Mr Chan.”

When Chan Chun Sing claims something and it happens to directly relate to me, I take note. I need to double-check. Sure or not? Wah the picture so pretty? Is it the hard truth? I need to know.

So I’m going to be in one of the three integrated blocks he mentioned and I will be “living and socialising together” with “people from different backgrounds”. Ok, but how different? How much socialising? Truly microcosm ah? (I don’t know why, but I suddenly see this image of us HDB dwellers as microscopic organisms.)

Anyway, I pulled out the HDB brochure for my BTO development and had a look at the map and layout. The entire development is quite a big one – with a total of nine blocks and 1,745 units, and diverse too. It comprises almost the entire range of current HDB flat catogeries: rental (both 1- and 2-room types), 2-room (two size types), 3-room, 4-room, 5-room, and 3-Generation flats.

There is one block comprising solely of rental flats, located at one end of the development, bordered by roads on its north and west sides, a multi-storey carpark to its east, and by my integrated block to its south. In short, it’s at the fringes, on the outside looking in.

But hold on, what about my integrated “living and socialising together” block? The rental units are on the third to ninth floors, with the upper floors – which make up the remaining two-thirds of the mixed block – being owner-occupied ones.

In this showpiece block, there are a total of 42 rental units (14 1-room plus 28 2-room), 181 2-room owner units, and 60 3-room units. That means no 4-room or bigger units in this block, only 1 to 3 room flats – with the bulk being 2-room units.

To me, these say something.

Life shorts

After I finished eating at the world-famous Coffee Express 2000 (again) today, I picked up my plate and headed to the tray return point. Usually, I’d sit around sipping kopi slow and long enough that cleaning uncles and aunties have already circled the premises a dozen times and picked up my plate and bowl and cutlery on one of the rounds (to go with a mumbled 谢谢from me). Not this time – thanks to infernal summer, I was in a hurry to flee.

Today, on the way, I ran into the cleaning lady – tiny, stooped, grey-haired, shuffling – pushing the seemingly gigantic trolley. She saw me, plate in hand, and reached out to take it from me. But not before smiling at me, smiling.. she smiled at me!

I’ve never seen her smile before.

She’s always been grim of face and seemed so weary you can almost feel her exhaustion, and I’ve always regarded her as part of the.. foodcourt, just there, abit heart pain whenever I see her but nothing I can do.

I smiled back and then, for some reason, was awash in shame.

***

What is it with that particular proclivity towards birds? After Penguin-gate, we have (It Looks Like A) Rooster-gate.

I’ve seen that drawing before. In fact, I spent some time looking at Vincent Leow’s notebooks and scrapbooks full of writings and drawings and what not – which I thought showed him to be a True Artist. I mean, I have a collection of seven, eight notepads and sketchpads but these, reflecting my wannabe artistic output, are 99.7% blank.

And my first thought coming across this artwork of a nude human on (it seems to be) a rooster was: Ooooooh! Cheeky! I get it! The guy has a big cock! Ha! Ha! Heh! Ho!

If anyone’s values are shaken by my less-than-pure-minded interpretation of the drawing, let me know please. I’ll be thrilled to know I am finally a legit social media influencer.

Back when..

Am rereading old journals for inspiration. And perspiring because it’s eternal summer and also because that tap has run dry – for now.

This one – both incidents and my juvenilia – is quite fun to reminisce/cringe over. (Also, I think I somehow violated the ‘clean wage’ policy by buying stuff for my students, or are hidden costs borne by teachers all along been legitimate? But then, sped teachers are not civil servants nor MOE employees..)

***
Monday, June 30, 2003

<< Primary (Five) Students >>
(This is only interesting if you happen to be in the teaching profession too, else it’s drier than dust. Fans of weepie auntie-agony dramas or bloodthirsty pirate tales of the corporate seas will only find wilted weeds here, and they are advised to seek greener pastures elsewhere.)

First Day of Semester 2. Their tentative first steps into the forbidding world of Primary 5. Confidence isn’t exactly overflowing when none of them have passed Primary 4.

Lowlights:
* Only 5 kids to lord it over today as 2 went MIA. 
Hali down with appendix problems and hospitalised. Sara is just… plain, mysteriously absent.

* Swamped with admin work right from the start. 
Had the luck of being arrowed as the teacher I/C for the visit to the Asian Civilisation Museum on Thursday; never again will I take for granted the logistics behind organising an outing. The nightmare involved booking a bus (and chasing the approving staff for her, duh, approval), liaising with the museum staff, trying to pick out two of the more articulate kids to be interviewed by kaypoh journalists (which is ridiculous.. can’t we go on a simple outing without being pestered by the media?) and the most off-beat of all, having to find out if anyone’s allergic to milk.

* Having WL and Starlet burst into spontaneous cheers–complete with arms raised high in V-for-victory poses–when I announced my absence on Wednesday (cos of the stupid NE Day briefing at the National Stadium). Ungrateful wretches! They sure quieten down fast when I glared at them, though Starlet continued to keep beaming as if Britney Spears herself will be coming to relieve my class.

On the other hand, this could be slotted under highlights too cos I, erm, actually also want to cheer along. No class for a day! Rejoice!

* Scolded the star for being so very irresponsible last week. I’m getting to be an expert at scolding.

Highlights:
* They were rather taken by the mini-whiteboards I bought for them. No more slacking and day-dreaming during lessons, as they will have to write down their answers to my spot questions on the boards and flash them instantly. I wonder when they will realise the depth of my devious scheme.

* Probation over! I’m now confirmed (GTO). Unqualified and confirmed (GTO). Or, unqualified but confirmed (GTO)?

* More time with the primary (five) primates as one speech therapist is on maternity leave, causing out-of-class speech therapy sessions to be halved. (Mmm. Should this be under lowlights instead?)

AOPAD 32: Puno

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There’s something about handmade puppets that brings out the 7-year-old in you. (Or bring back? Perhaps that child is hiding all along and has never left.) You want to be told how to get to Sesame Street, you are reminded of the sock puppets you had (and who hadn’t made one as a kid), and you thought you have left those childish things behind. But as I have belatedly realised, puppets speak to grown-ups too, in different ways, in deeper ways even.

Had the pleasure of catching this play by Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre at the Artground earlier in the weekend – thank you, Beng Tian, for the invite. A story about the love between a parent and child, and about death and loss, it was as much a visual treat as one for our imagination. And you think, surely Tala and her father are alive? At the end, as the letters to the sky appear overhead, you believe.

Check out www.papermoonpuppet.com.