Thursday, November 27, 2008

APERA Slides

These are the set of slides that I have used for the paper I presented on 27th November at the Apera Conference. Feel free to give comments and lets continue to have a Socrates Dialgoue.

If you like to invite me to give a more detail presentation and workshop on how to do Socratic questioning do email me at To be effective I need between one and half to two hours.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An anti-establishment view or belief is one which stands in opposition to the conventional social, political, and economic principles of a society.

One day, while giving a talk to a closed-door audience, it was announced that I was anti-establishment. The speaker wanted a response from me and so I said that perhaps I was the only one who is braved enough to point out that the emperor is not wearing any clothes.

For the benefit of those who are not aware of the Emperor's New Clothes, I reproduced here below a short summary of the story.

An emperor of a prosperous city who cares more about clothes than military pursuits or entertainment hires two swindlers who promise him the finest suit of clothes from the most beautiful cloth.

This cloth, they tell him, is invisible to anyone who was either stupid or unfit for his position. The Emperor cannot see the (non-existent) cloth, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing stupid; his ministers do the same.

When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they dress him in mime. The Emperor then goes on a procession through the capital showing off his new "clothes".

During the course of the procession, a small child cries out, "But he has nothing on!" The crowd realizes the child is telling the truth. The Emperor, however, holds his head high and continues the procession.

After the talk some of the audience told me that it was unacceptable for the speaker to brand me as anti establishment while other told me that it was spoken in a light hearted manner.

Be that as it may,I could not infer the purpose of the speaker but it set me thinking and I reflected on the following points.

1. My life is an open book and if my action lead to people branding me as anti-establishment so be it.

2. In the case of the Town Council losing 16 millions, perhaps if there are more Singaporean who are willing to point out the danger of investing in Lehman-linked structured products we would not have lost money and lost faith in the Town Council.

3. As a social study educator, I have a responsibility to ensure that my students can think, be able to see both side of a coin, able to put forward an argument that is backed by examples and not make sweaping statement. If by bring up alternative view points, I am branded as anti-PAP and anti Establishment so be it.

4. The greatest irony was that PM Lee said this " You don't have to be pro-PAP. The most important thing is, you have to be pro-Singapore, arguing for what you believe in..."ST. 17.11.2008

I have taught countless no of students since 1986. Yes I have told them many things which cannot be found in the text book because these are contemporary history. Few writers are brave enough to write about contemporary history as they can be challenged. Far easier to write about ancient history as all the players are dead.

The stories are not based on myth and here say but actual events that took place in Singapore. A simple check in the archive or the library would prove the reliability of what I have said.

For example I told the students about Chia Thye Poh , the longest-serving political prisoner in the history of Singapore and perhaps the longest-serving prisoner of conscience of the 20th century, or if not, one it's longest-serving political prisoners about the time when I borough a group of students to visit him when he was living in Sentosa.

My objectives was not to produced a group of anti-Singapore, pro communist revolutionary but to show my normal stream students about a living life historical player. This is but one way to bring history alive. By listening to him, students will be able to understand different points of view of how history is written in Singapore.

In a very small way, I play a similar role that Tan Pin Pin did with her film Invisible City, the Singapore that remains invisible, pointing to national consciousness as a fragmented reality with critical bits ignored or demonised.

I will continue to be the person who will point out the critical bits that have been ignored or demonised.

I would love to hear from my students about what I have written.

1. Would you have preferred for me to read from text book? read from the PowerPoint the words that are the same as the text book?

2. Would you have preferred for me to drill you and give you practise on worksheet ?

3. Would you have preferred for the Ess to keep her mouth shut and not waste time making you ask her 20 questions at the beginning of each year?

I will continue to be an Ess and be labelled anti-establishment.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This are the two friends who help mama to put on the make up.

This is the first time in many years that I put on make up for a dinner.

The teachers before the Staff Dinner begins

Friday, November 14, 2008

This afternoon after lunch, we saw an old car and Mr. Lee decided to check out the engine.

The teachers decided to check out the car.

This is the group of teachers that mama drives them crazy this year. That is why mama is in the driving seat.