Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Command, Control and Communication

My husband used to tell this joke when he was in the army. When soldiers go to war, they will shoot the officers first before going into he battle field. Those who have served in NS may have a lot more jokes to share officers. 

I have been reading this book Command in War and learnt about the C3 concept. Command, Control and Communication.

Recently, a lady in command was very upset when she discovered that she did  not command the heart and soul of those she control. Her followers were disengaged and would only carry out her command. She has control over them but they did not buy into her vision. 

Her appointment and position gave her the ability to command and control. Most leaders assume that since they are in the position to command, they can command.

What they missed out is their ability to communicate their vision to those they lead.

Some leaders barks their commands at those they lead.

Others make declaration like because I am in command I can do what I please.

All they have achieved is having their instructions and orders carried out but they do not have followers that will run with them into the battle and die with them and for them.

Once, an officer after a long road march ordered that all his soldiers take off their socks and put their feet at the foot of the bed. This officer personally checked that every single soldier's foot do not have foot rot. Of course his soldiers are willing to die for him in the battlefield.

All  a leader has to do to engage the hearts and souls of those he leads is to communicate his choice of decision clearly to his followers. Once the follower understand the rational for the decision taken, the followers will follow his leader to the end of the earth.

In the book The Art of War, it was said that a leader has to know the environment, the weather, the land terrain, the enemy and most important of all himself. To me that is the highest form of communication


So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Have yourself a merry little Christmas?

And so the present have all been opened. The turkey roasted and eaten. And you step back and wonder..... is it all worth it?

What is the point of giving present when you are not presence at the party? What is the point of sitting in front of the Television watching EPL?

Inference, Interpretation and Implication

1. That you did not respect your host enough to be present at the party. Your body is there but your heart is with the EPL.

2. That all the relatives gather together is less important than the football game that is being played between one football club and the other.

3. That watching a screen image of twenty two men running around in chasing a ball is more interesting then interacting with people you seldom see.

4. Forcing everyone else to watch you game teaches your children that who ever control the remote wins. And that it is all right to be a brat and selfish and see to your own needs with no regard to any one else.

Compared this with another Christmas Party.

1. There are no television in the living room and so guests have the opportunity to interact with one another, catch up on old time, offer attention, appreciations and affirmations that they are people worth listening too.

2. Cousins, second cousins and third cousins who only meet at weddings and funerals can re- established bonds and relationship again over a simple drink and a simple meal of mash potatoes, ham and turkey.

3. Whole family sang out of key but loud and clear in one voice communicating in a way that no presents can that the family is one and there will be support when needed.

4. Most important of all, celebrating that Christmas is not a ritual or routine that one has to follow but a time to re established bond, kinship and family ties.

Next year, we planned to stay at home and have hot chocolate and stolen interacting with our love ones instead of going to yet another party to watch other watch football.

You have been warned.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On Sunday, 20th December 2009, after getting some army issue from Golden Mile Hawker Centre with our son, my husband and I decided to go to Mustafa, the one stop shopping center where we figured our son could get the toiletries all under one roof.

We took a Transcab taxi (No. SHD 463G) at about 3.30 p.m outside the Golden Mile Hawker Centre. He turned into Kapour Road and asked us to alight as he refused to drop us at the entrance of Mustafa (below the overhead shopping mall) along Verdun Road. My husband insisted that he dropped us at our destination.

The driver started to insult my husband and said that he was being selfish. At that point, my husband opened the taxi door and asked my son and I to alight while he went in to the taxi again.

My son and I walked to the entrance of Mustafa and waited anxiously for him. We saw the taxi drove by us to Shing Hotel which is at the next block. Because we were worried about my husband, we fixed our eyes on the taxi.

What happened next shocked us. As my husband got out of the taxi and walked toward Mustafa, the drive got out and ran toward my husband and rained blows at my husband. My son sprinted to the spot (thank you SAF for making sure that he cleared 2.5 km in less then10 mins) where he found my husband had been pushed on the floor. My son had to pull the driver away to prevent him from hurt his father even more.

When the police arrived, both the driver and my husband were advised to make a police report at Police Cantonment Complex.

My husband arrived at 5.30 p.m. Two hours later, he was asked to pay the taxi fare. My husband paid the fair but made a statement listing down the injuries that he has sustained. He left the complex at around 10.30 p.m.

Lesson learned

1. Passenger still have to pay for taxi fare even though taxi driver has provided unsatisfactory services.

2. Even if the driver has hurt passenger, the passenger cannot bring up a criminal charge against the taxi driver.

3. The taxi driver is in the driver seat and therefore he has the power to decide where he can drop passenger off or else he will take the law into his own hand.

4. Transcab Taxi website state the following
  • Whole Team aim for excellence and to provide excellent service
  • Experienced people in transport line

Till today, I still feel traumatized whenever I see a Red Transcab Taxi.

You have been warned.

(My husband and my son explaining to the traffic police what had happened)

The taxi with the taxi driver. Notice his calm face. Maybe he knows that nothing can happened to him.

Monday, December 21, 2009

How much does it cost?

Cost of trip to OCS $40.

Cost of leaving mass tin and other staff in Tekong and so must go to Beach Road to buy back stuff. $80

Cost of having two other esses before going in ? Priceless

What most OCS are good at .......z....z...z..

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's payback time

Hand up if you have promised any of your children that if they do well in the final exam, PSLE, O Level or A level, Papa or Mama will buy........ (fill in the blanks here, it does not matter), bring you to ..... (again fill in the blanks here, it does not matter) or bargain .... you life away.

One of my friend ran out of gift to motivate her son who is completing his A level next year at a junior college in Bishan. He has been given a high powered computer yet again( so that he can play batter with great graphic), brought all over Asia for holidays for doing well.

I called this the billiard ball syndrome. The child is the coloured ball on the pool table, the red balls are the gifts that parents promised for good performance and the parents are the ones holding the cue stick. Notice how the coloured balls will never moved by themselves but are dependent on a. the red ball to transfer the energy and b. the amount of force that the cue stick has been used to transfer the energy from the red ball to the coloured ball.

When a child has been brought up to believe that learning is not an end in itself but a means to get the next PSP, hand phone or trip to the ski resort in Korea, he or she is not given the opportunity to experience the joy of learn.

Of course, some parents will argue that it is better his child passes the exam at what ever cost, never mind if he grow up selfish or materialistic. Or they commit the ad populum fallacy that since everyone of my friend, relative and neighbour is doing it, it is all right.

So what can a parent do to cultivate this joy of learning, to bring up self driven learner that is independent and intelligent at the same time?

Firstly, never associate learning with any kind of reward. Period.

Secondly, celebrate any small achievement that the child achieve at his own time and pace. Our four year old just learn to write an A yesterday and we were so happy and so proud of him. We praised him for being able to write but did not promise him that if he can write from A to Z he will get his Optimum Prime for Christmas.

Thirdly, create an environment which is safe and secure for the child to learn. The brain responses better to a positive environment. If the brain is stressed, it will perform but the performance is under par and will not be long lasting. Answer any questions that the child has and do not make him feel that his question is stupid, uninteresting or useless. Most important of all, never compare the brain with any other brain. It is the easiest way for the brain to give up it quest for learning.

A human brain is designed to learn. The million dollar question is what will it learn? Often, it will learn what the parents does not intend for it to learn. We as parents just have to remember Newton Third Law of motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Now think. What is the opposite reaction when your child receive his gift this Christmas for doing well in his exam?

You have been warned.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So fast another Ess will be released into the world soon.

Is the world ready for this Ess?

Today is Aubrey's birthday. Her name was chosen because I heard this song Aubrey by Bread one day and decided that this would be a great name.

This name has its origin in Old German origin. It is a Norman French variant of Alberich, Germanic name.

Aubrey means 'elf'. In Germanic Mythology, the king of elves was called Aubrey. Yes, our Aurbey can be impish at times with her laughter filling up a dull afternoon. She is fiercely independent, with her mind of her own and very logical. Yet her heart is filled with love for her younger siblings. she has become their part time mum when I am too busy with work.

Her second name,Gabrelyn was chosen because she was conceived 9 months before Christmas. As Angel Gabriel has foretold the birth of Christ to Mary around 25th March, we decided to use this name.

When I goggle her name, I am so proud to see so many articles she has written published on various news website.

She has only one year to remain as a teenager. May she continue to vex her parents like all teenagers do and may she blossom into a lady soon.

Friday, December 4, 2009

With no hope of reward nor seeking gain

Recently one of my friend ask me to help her find an opportunity for her son to do extra Community Involvement Project (CIP). She has wanted her son, who is on the through train at a school in Bishan to get involved.

I found a project for her son to do which involved working with children who has terminal cancer. It would be easy as the hospice is only a stone throw away from his school. Just as the details were settled she asked if her son's effort would be recorded in the School Graduation Certificate. (SGC)

My heart sank. It sank even lower when she explained that another colleague of her helped her daughter obtained a scholarship by doing a lot of CIPs and it looked good when she went for an interview for the scholarship.

I do not think it is the fault of the mothers as any mother would try her best to help her child develop to the fullest.

The fault lies in the system where students have to clock in compulsory a minimum of six hours of CIP every year. Because it is a compulsion, it is difficult to develop this ideal of volunteerism in our teenagers.

I am involved with an NGO which seek to protect the environment through the promotion of eco living. Often, I will have to hunt for volunteers to support this NGO. I normally would not choose students who when asked to help would reply :" Will it count towards the CIP hours?" or "Will it be recorded in the SGC.?"

Students who have been volunteering with this NGO know that they will not get any CCA points, any CIP hours, nor it will not be recorded in the SGC. No Reward, No Award.

Recently, there was a blood donation drive at the Bishan Community Center. An ITE student went there to donate blood. She did not receive any CIP hours, it was not recorded in her record books and no one in her ITE knew about it.

She was rejected because she was under 18 and need parental consent. She went home download the parental consent form and went back to donate blood only to be rejected the second time because there was not enough iron in her blood. She is now taking iron pills waiting for the time when she is eighteen and when the iron level in her blood is within range.

There is still hope for Singapore after all.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

How do the esshold knows that Christmas is round the corner? It is the sound of jingle bell ringing at the cash register at the shopping mall? Or the turkey advertisement asking us to buy tasteless meat so that your Christmas can be complete? Or the round of frantic shopping for gift to give to people who you think do not deserve it at all?

Apart from baking the traditional fruit cake in the Esshold, another tradition we follow is to set up the advent candle four weeks before Christmas.

The advent candles is made up of four candle: three purple and one pink representing faith hope love and joy. Each Sunday, one candle is lit and a short prayer is said before dinner.

This is to remind us that we have to put Christ back into Christmas. Christmas is more then a Christmas tree, log cake or even stocking hanging on the wall. We are all called to be gift to others not expecting to receive gifts at Christmas all the time.

How can we be a gift to all man? When a friend needs a listening ear, listen. When a sister needs a helping hand, help. When a spouse needs a shoulder to cry on, offer one. It is better then all the cheesy gift that you have to gift or receive.

Hand up the number of useless tie, bath soap, power you have receive. This Christmas make a simple card like a voucher that the receiver can use to redeem when it is needed. e.g One helping hand to be redeemed when required to move house, wash dishes or mop the floor.

Try it . It is worth it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You are what you eat

A father allows his young son to watch World Wrestling and then wonder why his son has a violent temper.

Another mother bought her son the state of the art, latest computer because he claimed that he need such a computer to do a class project. (Mum believed him as she thought that since his son is in a top school in Bishan which offer through train, he would not lie.) She then wonder why he is addicted to computer game.

Another mother continue to buy a range of PSPs and proceed to complain why her son could not interact with his peers and has no friends. She failed to see that his eyes are constantly glued to the PSP during diner time, on the road or when visiting relatives and friends during Chinese New Year.

Many people who encounter our children often wonder why their children could not behave a bit more like ours. Ours not only obey us when instructions are given, they obey our friends' instructions. Often our friends would use our children to experience what it is like to have obedient children.

While we do not claimed to have all the answers to parenting or how to bring up great children, (our children can be devil incarnate at times) we can share the environment that our children grew up in.

Firstly, our house is a visually stimulating environment. There is a piano, a drum set, three guitars, a garden, a working kitchen and a large library where our children get a variety of stimulating input. According to neuroscientist Martha Pierson of the Baylor College of Medicine "children need a flood of information, a banquet, a feast."

However, this flood must not come from PBP or the television which is often used as a baby sitter. Television do not give time for reflection, interaction, or three-dimensional visual development. Television is two dimensional yet the development of the brain needs depth observed another neuroscientist V.L. Ramachandran at the University of California at San Diego.

Beside television moves too fast and talks about abstract ideas that are often non existent in a child's environment. It does not allow the eyes to relax which can aggravate learning difficulties. It is a poor replacement for play time and sensory motor development time.

Our house do not have a television set in the living room. We do not have cable, MIO nor free to air channel. This allows our children more time to better develop their language, social and motor skills. On a typical afternoon, they can bake, play the piano, dig in the garden or explore the natural environment in the park or fight and playing with other children.

Secondly, our children do not spend alot of time in the fastfood joint like MacDonald, KFC or Pizza. Children nowadays already eats too much saturated fat, sugar and simple carbohydrates. They eat too few fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Because our children are home schooled, they have fewer opportunities to eat junk food and we have control over what they eat.

Thirdly, we teach our children only when they are ready to learn. This demands that we do not given in to the temptation of measuring their academic performance regularly until the joy of learning as been replaced by the stress of performance. Children often has to perform well in their exam and test so that their parents can boast at the office's water cooler how great their children are.

For example, we did not send our children to reading specialist or enrichment class when they could not read nor write when they are about 7 or 8 years old. If they were in school, they might have been labeled slow learner or worst still mis-channeled to the wrong stream. Instead they blossomed into avid reader. Now they read widely and could handle a vareity of books from Harry Potter to Narnia. As Geeenberg (1991) observed "Wait until the brain's ready to read, then you can't stop it." Once our children attained a high rate of literacy, they woudld not have problem with their studies.

Children are gifts that has been placed in our hands. It is our duty as responsible parents to bring up our children. Sometime we have to be tough to love them and not give in to everything that they want but we must be there to give them what they need. Are we good parents yet?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Season of Giving, Season of griefing

Each year around this time, many adults and parents will be agonizing over what present to buy for their children and their relatives.

Once, I gave two children from a rich family a simple gift. They opened it infront of me and when they saw that their gift they exclaimed that the gift was cheap and proceed to discard it without any thought or rgard to teh giver.

This year, one of my relative warned me that I have to buy better gift for their children as they have already bought expensive gift for mine.

A gift is not an exchange or a transaction. It is an expression of goodwill from the heart. Not all who give Christmas present are rich.

Sometime poor people sacrifice what little bonus they have to give gift fro their relatives.

We bring up our children to appreciate whatever gift is given to them, no matter how inexpensive it is, to receive the gift with a grateful heart and not to judge the gift by it momentary value.

This Christmas, let us teach our children to accept gift from our friend and relatives with grace and dignity and not to expect expensive gift especially since many of us have been retrenched or lost our jobs.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

If a murderer was crowned Ms World while serving time in jail, is she allowed to keep her crown as she explained that she would like to hold onto the title because she has come so far in her dream and she does not wish to, because of a past mistake, give up something that is meaningful to her?

Of course not right.

But what about giving her a second chance?

Of course I will give her a second change.

But You do the crime, you do the time.

After you have served the punishment then you are allowed to start afresh.

Now, I have no problem with MISS Singapore World Ris Low Yi Min not being able to speak well. I do no even mind when we are silly enough to choose a bimbo to represent all women in Singapore.

BUT this is Singapore. Hello Principle of Meritocracy where we are rewarded with hard work.

She did not believe in this principle. She took the easy way out.

She claimed that " she is not proud of what she did, and added that her crimes were committed in 'a moment of folly'. 'I don't know why I did it, it was not like I needed the money."


In April and May last year, she spent more than $2,400 on at least four separate occasions, using at least three illegally obtained credit cards, at times impersonating the identity of their owners. She was sentenced to 24 months of supervised probation in May this year.

I cannot consider 4 separate occasions as a moment of folly.
60 charges were taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing. This is not a moment of folly.

It is all pre-planned.

She said that 'I would like to hold onto the title, definitely, because I've come so far in my dream and I don't wish to, because of a past mistake, give up something that is so meaningful to me.'

She must be brave enough to stand up and face the time. Every action has a reaction. Every choice as a consequences.

Too many parents now a days are so afraid to punish their children when they have done something wrong for fear that they would scare the children for life.

As a mother of six, I believe that when we spare the 'rod' we will spoilt the child. If any of our children does something wrong, they will be punished. Non-negotiable.

As Mother Teresa said Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Ms Low, it is still not to late to start with the small things.
Start by first giving up the crown gracefully.
Start by doing the time and accept that you have to pay for your life of crime

Start by finally being a great role model for all the lost Ah Lian who need someone like you to look up to for all the right reasons.

Show them that you are begining to be an adult, that you knwo right from wrong, that at this point in time, you did not have the heart and support of Singaporeans to represent them.

Be faithful Ms Low to you time that you have to pay for your crime. It is the only right thing to do.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My colleagues know that I do not support any NLP based programme. Each year, when we have to go to camp with the students, I will ensure that I do not go with the classes that use NLP trainers. Each time they asked me, I would explain the pitfall of NLP. Often, it would fall on deaf ear.( We have used the same NLP trainer for two years.)

Recently, these NLP has expended to teaching students study skills. When I was given the opportunity to examine their course content, I was shock to see this statement wriiten in their course book. " To do well in social studies, you have to remember the dates and events." This is totally against what I have tried to educate the students in social studies. While I cannot speak on other subjects, I know that what they are doing for social studies is wrong.

I thus stated very clearly that I will not be held responsible for the results of the students who will go through these NLP courses. If they do well, these NLP will most probably use their face for some advertisement. If they do bad, I guess they would wash their hand off.

I still stand by my view that NLP is not appropriate for our students. It does not promote thinking. It only seek to programme our students which is totally against the spirit of education.

Like I always teach my students: Short term gain , Long term pain. or Solve one problem, create five others.

The choice is clear

Let teachers motivate ...

But principal uses motivational speakers to boost school's results

05:55 AM Aug 31, 2009
Letter from Roland Ang

RECENTLY, I received an SMS from my daughter's school asking me to sign up for a paid workshop to help parents understand their children - to be conducted by some neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioners.

My daughter told me that the school had also engaged the same people to counsel and motivate them as her school principal was not happy with the overall mid-year result.

The purpose of the NLP-trained motivational speaker, they were told, was to help them achieve better results.

Private organisations use NLP-trained motivational speakers to enhance sales targets and customer service, notably in the insurance and time-share industries. Their relationships are purely commercial. However, that cannot be said between schools and motivational speakers as the latter have no stake and vested interest in any school.

Schools should leave the teaching, inspiring and motivating of children to parents and school teachers rather than relying on external trainers to enhance their overall school results just to maintain their school ranking. Is education all about results and nothing else?

Miss Ho Peng, the director-general of Education at the Ministry of Education, said in a speech recently at the Teachers' Mass Lecture as well as the formation of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), which are powerful platforms for teachers to learn from one another, that it gives her great fulfilment when teachers move on to greater responsibilities and, in turn, help to develop others.

I think this is a move in the right direction for teachers.

There are many advertisements in from NLP entrepreneurs. Their punchlines are about helping those who sign up for their courses to attain financial success, or to "get rich fast".

Legally, this is not wrong, but morally these people are capitalising on the weaknesses of people with a desire to get rich fast without the need to work hard.

Such courses may lead to an erosion of the work ethic in the gullible young, especially during this economic downturn when many are unemployed or desperate to recover losses from bad investments.

If parents want to send their children to accelerated learning programmes, they do so at their own prerogative. But I hope schools will avoid engaging NLP practitioners merely to enhance their students' results. Rather, they should keep faith and trust in their teachers to inspire and motivate their students.

Our children are human beings and not commodities.

This is a reply to the above letter

NLP has issues, problems
05:55 AM Sep 01, 2009
Letter from S Ganesamoorthy

I REFER to "Let teachers motivate ..." (Aug 31). Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) as a methodology has lots of hidden issues and problems.

As principals are increasingly inviting these speakers to talk to their students, there is a need to be circumspect and look at the issue of NLP from the broad perspective of its use in education.

NLP practitioners receive their so-called master's certification by attending a short course or via online master's certification.

NLP is also not accepted into the fold of psychiatry, psychology or even sociology or social work, and does not contain the academic rigour of being accepted as a field of discipline in its own right.

The originators of NLP are themselves not agreed on the objectives and targets that must bind the NLP process.

There is certainly an obligation on the part of the Ministry of Education to ensure that the methodologies adopted to instruct our students pass the acid test of evaluating NLP as a subject in its own right.

Besides, there is an urgent need for our educational/para educational, counselling, psychological and medical agencies to evaluate and validate the methodologies adopted by NLP practitioners and hold them accountable.

It is also worrying that these training providers, who are invited to train students at an enormous investment of time and money, also conduct courses and seminars on "short circuits" to becoming millionaires.

As we celebrate Teacher's Day, let us pay tribute to the many who have mastered their skills to make a difference in their students' lives and reassert their pre-eminence in the lives of all students today and in the future.

Let us empower our teachers so that they will empower our students.

As stated so succinctly by Haim Ginott, the teacher, child psychologist and psychotherapist who pioneered techniques for conversing with children that are still taught today:

"I've come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my personal approach that creates the climate. It's my daily mood that makes the weather.

"As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a student's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal. In all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a student humanised or de-humanised".

Saturday, August 29, 2009

When I was young and Christmas tree was tall.....

This old song from the Bee Gees popped out of my head recently.

Life is a matter of perspective.

When I was young, certain thing and issue were up most important to me like: Will I have a date on Saturday or will any one be interested in a tomboy like me etc.

Now it has changed. I worry when one of my sons has too many dates on a weekend while my other children do not seem to mind that they do not have any.

I worry if they would find a good spouse and be happily married.

And so I have began to pray for all my children's spouses that they do not mind have an ess for a mother in law.

I also wonder will I be accepted as a mother in law to them. Will I be a living hell for them like Jane Fonda, a monster in law?

Most likely, I will be travelling around the world drinking wine with Gino in Venice or coffee at the cafe in gay Paris so that I will avoid being a mother in law.

Life is a matter of perspective. To my students who are reading this blog, who are heart broken because their swine of a girl friend has walk out of them all I can say is : Time will heal.

Yes, I know how you feel for when I heard that phrase when I was 18 .

Time will heal. I retorted so what? I am hurting now.

Trust me. All I can say is Time will heal.

30 years later when you look back at issues that you hold dear at 17 or 18, you will realise that what an ess you have been.

You will smile and you will remember that once an ess has told you that Time will heal and it is true.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Today my son Angus is twenty years. In a twinkle of an eye, that bouncy, fair and chubby baby has grown into a man.

No longer a teenager not yet an adult. A young adult who is learning to make important decisions.

We, as parents no longer can dictate what he can or cannot do. We can only offer advice when asked for.

Of course we will be tempted to tell you what to do, who to befriend and what to wear.

This period will be a challenging period for all of us as we learn to accommodate each other.The next twenty years will be as enriching as the last twenty year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The fruit of your labour

If you are a doctor, you will know the fruit of your labour right away. If you give the correct medicine your patient is cured. If you give the wrong one, he dies. So simple.

What about a teacher? I can never claimed that it is due to me as a teacher that my students turned out well later in life. There are just too many factors in their life for any teachers to claimed that they have make a positive impact. Yet like the doctor, if a teacher took the wrong step often she has the ability to kill her students joy for learning.

A few weeks ago, my ex VP invite me and a couple of teachers for his daughter's wedding. Throughout the dinner, we managed to connect again. We decided to keep in touch through Facebook.

It was a joy to connect with the teachers but through their profile, I managed to connect with this crazy bunch of old boys that I taught eleven years ago.

I remembered them clearly because they broke many teachers heart. To say that they have behaviour problems was an understatement. There were many underlying factors that were influencing their life beyond what a classroom teachers could influence or control.

I remembered the Principal, Discipline Master, teachers and I spend a lot of time cracking our head over how to help them.

Sad to say at the end of the year, we felt we have failed as we have nothing to show for our effort.

It was so heartening to see that so many of them have turned out so well after so many years. Some have settled down and married. Others are still in the university as they are late developers. One who created the most troubled even top his cohort and earned an oversea scholarship.

A teacher can only do so much in class. Like a gardener, she can only ensure that the soil is fertile for the seed to grow. Sometime weeds will grow along with the seedings. She have try her best to weeds out these weeds but the growing has to be done by the seeds themselves.

I am so gald that these bunch of students from 3E6 has grown into gentlemen and scholars of who is passionate about life.

Thank you fro giving this old ess hope to continue her journey as a gardener. If she is luckily to harvest some more fruit, she will remember that she is not the one responsible for it but it was the seeds themselves.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Are you in my age bracket ?

I think I going to be sad, I think it today.

If the following evoke memories then you would have grown up with me in the 70's.

1. The Carpenter who sang the above lyrics. Which song is it? She died.

2. Of course there is MJ before Thriller and Bad. He sang "Ben" and I"'ll be there " when he was just a boy.

3. Then there is "Puppy Love" and "I am a little bit country and I am a little rock and roll." Another famous family group like MJ.

4. FF who died on the same day as MJ married the man I wanted to marry. However it will coast me more then six million dollars. A major disappointment.

5. Another singer who died so he cannot "Follow Me." Looks like he has followed others and "Fly away."

"I found my Thrill on Strawberry Hills" The one and only who could make the toilet looks cool.

I love these two. Any guess where were they working?

Soon it will be my turn to say good bye to this world. It can be less then 24 hours or in 24 years or even 42 years. Dose not matter. Don't cry for me (another famous Broadway musical before Madonna took it to the movies)

When you come to my wake, please have a loud jamming session with drums and songs. Celebrate that I was and still am luckily to have meet people like you and those who are reading my blog.

Meanwhile, I will live life to the fullest, focus on relationship and prepare to meet my maker.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is 18 too young to be a mum?

Extracted from an article first published in The Straits Times 22.6.2009

Ms Tan Siew Kim, the mother of the baby who drowned last year, told The Straits Times she found becoming a parent at 18 overwhelming.

She declined counselling after the baby arrived because she saw 'no point to it' - with or without counselling, she was still saddled with a baby to care for. She felt it was 'not right' to give her child up for adoption, but could not give up her partying lifestyle at the weekend either.

It was while she was sleeping off a night of clubbing and drinking in May last year that her untended child toddled his way to the pail of water.

When Anicius was born, our maid was on home leave in the Philippine. I have to go back to work after two months of no-pay leaves. My eldest three children was a boy of 16, two girls of 15 and 13.

I left the new born Anicius in the care of these three children as they were home-schooled. I wanted them to learn how to care for a new born, how to bath, wash and feed Anicius with breast milk.

Of course their grandmothers yell high dungeon.

Even now when Anicius is going to be four years old, he is being cared for by the children. Sometime I feel more like a grandmother to my youngest son.

A note of advise to all potential parents and any teenagers who wants to have sex outside marriage.

A child is best conceived within a circle of love in a marriage as a child is not a trophy or a tax break.

Be prepared to give up your selfish, self centered life style which include computer games, partying lifestyle and msn cheat and blogging.

Sad to say many of the children that were conceived during one night stand or outside of marriage were conceived by people who have demonstrated no sense of responsibility to begin with.

They are conceived by people who are more interested in satisfying themselves first before giving any consideration to anyone else.

Conceiving a child do not make a person responsible overnight as Ms Tan case showed.

A message to all teenagers who are reading this blog:

Face it. You have the power to create life each time you have sex even if you use protection like condom and the pill.

Abortion is not an option as you will feel guilty for the rest of your life despite of what others told you. They have numbed their guilt.

If you can demonstrated your self-control and take time to choose the father of your children, I assure you would will not regret it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Since I began teaching in 1986, facing tight deadlines and insurmountable paperwork – I often feel like throwing in the towel.

I soldier on, however, thinking of the crazy nuns who taught me in secondary stchool.

Sister Cecily Parvi - the brilliant biologist who nevertheless devoted herself to teaching rebellious teenagers.

Sister Christina Yeo - able to illuminate love when explaining “Midsummer Night's Dream” over our preferred “Man in the net.”

They touched my life. One gave me free tuition in English even though I was already studying in a government junior college.

Their dedication to teaching is unparalleled. Always supporting us; never motivated by bonuses, rank or even promotion as their earning are given to the convent. Our development was their focus.

When I feel like giving up, I remember these selfless nuns. I still cannot measure up to them. Yet that is why I remain a teacher, in the process of becoming an educator.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A silent wife is a gift from God

On 11 June 1989, my husband made me an Ess.

It been twenty one years since I became one

Friends in my secondary school knew me as Ong Hock Lin.

When I became an Ess, I went to change my IC to officially be come Mrs France Ess.

I was not satisfy with the fashion at that time of combining two sur names together like Ong-Ess or Chai-Sim, Lum-Lan or even Lim-Chwee

I wanted to be to be known from then on as Mrs Ess.

Some has asked how did our marriage last for so long?

On my part, I find that the phrase " A silent wife is a gift from God" has helped throughout this journey.

Being silent does not mean being submissive, being bullied or being stepped upon.

Being silent is powerful as you demonstrate your discipline to know when to speak and when not to speak.

Being silent is graceful as you do not engaged in groundless gossip or distructive debate.

For example,on our wedding anniversary, I went and buy a bag Buah Keluak and cooked it with meat.

Any nonya worth her salt will claimed that Babi Buah Keluark
is a classic Peranakan dish.

So when my Eurasian Mil claimed that Buah Keluark is a Eurasian dish, I have two choices.

Keep my mouth shut and keep the peace or correct her and made her feel uneasy or even angry.

I judged that since it was just a matter of opinion and not a matter of fact, I decided to keep my mouth shut.

Aristotle the Greek philosopher commented that "Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not easy."

I was glad that I did not take the easy way out.

It helps that in a marriage we do not take the easy way out.

When we face a rough patch, it is easier to seek other distractions-- computer games, another listening ear, an affair.

When tempted to walk out of the marriage, it is easier to sign the divorce paper. Harder to face to the truth.

In any fight or quarrel, it is much easier to point the finger at your spouse then to reflect on your own shortfall.

I like being an ess. Some who read this blog will again get angry at my traditional values just as this blog stir up so many negative emotions three years ago when I suggested that to love is to obey.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tank Man

Remember 1989 when spring beld into summer in Bejian Tiananmen Square?
The gathering of people turned in to waves chanting for change.

June 5th 1989. I was about to give birth to my first born son.

This image was splashed across the world.

No one knew his name.

Not many of my students understood the significance of what this man did.

A single man, standing up for truth.

A brave man, standing alone.

Putting his life on the line.

Would that I have the courage to be like him.

But we are called daily .....

to put our life on the line.

For the values we belief in

To stand tall

And not be afraid.

To be countered.

To be loved

To be free.

Ready to be Tank Man?

For more information please read

See this video

There is still hope.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sex in the Esshold

Let start from the very begining.
A very good place to start.
When you sing you start with Do Re Me
The first three words just happen to beDo Re Me .

So where do babies come from ?
Sex between Mummy and Daddy.

Due to the Aware Saga, the role of parents in the context of sex education has been brought to the forefront.

If we parents do not take the responsibility and the authority to teach our children about the birds and the bees, others will just take over our place.

Enough is enough.

There is no need to be shy about parents having sex.

Our children need to see that we enjoy sex with each other within the safe boundry of marriage.

We are the best role model of them. If we do not play an active part other will take our place.

The other day, while watching House on DVD, one of our teenager asked about STD. We stopped the DVD and use that opportunity to share with her our views and values on sex and STD.

We cannot be shy and asked her to ask her teacher or wait for Aware to conduct the CSE. Then the moment will be lost.

Sex talk must be conducted in a loving environment and the best way is within the family.

Get this right. If we parents do not wise up to what is happening and continue to hide behind our Asian value or being shy, our children will learnt it from others, be they sexually challenged, normal, strait or bent.

Lets start from the very begining. Let start with us

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Argumentum ad Populum (popular appeal or appeal to the majority): The fallacy of attempting to win popular assent to a conclusion by arousing the feeling and enthusiasms of the multitude also known as the "Bandwagon" fallacy where one attempt to prove a conclusion on the grounds that all or most people think or believe it is true.

There are several ad populum fallacy hanging in my tag right now. See if you can find them.

Sometime I myself also committe this fallacy.

By the way anal sex is not natural. It is against nature.

Nature intended it to be a plug and socket. Not plug and plug nor socket and socket.

It got nothing to do with religion.

If everyone of us in the society only practise anal sex, the entire species would be gone in one generation.

Sex is intended to be Procreative.

If nature intended us to be homosexual why not make just man or woman?

As long as those who are homosexual accept that they are not meant to be part of nature, I have no problem with them.

They are human, they have rights.

Just keep their choice to themselves.

Do not try to make it seems normal,ordinary or just a life style choice .

It is not.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The English philosopher Edmund Burke (12 January 1729 – 9 July 1797)said, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.'

Unfortunatley for all of us now living in this all inclusive world,
we encounter the following problems

1. What is evil? Who define what is evil? What is evil for you may not be evil for me.

2. Who define who is a good men? Once again, someone who is good in someone eye may be bad in another person eyes.

3.Do nothing. That is what the all inclusive camp wants all of us to do.

The word all inclusive is also a non existence term.

Because it is just not possible to include everyone as not every one will share the same value with you.

So how, when, where to draw a line?

Few dare to now for fear of being called or labelled Conservative, or extreme right or pushing or shovelling your value down others throat.

So you are reduced to do nothing.

Keep your mouth shut.

Accept the slipply slope.

Everyone is doing it so that will make it right.

Step by step, the all inclusive camp wants you to be numb

to be UNAWARE and then ....

‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.'

Go on.

do nothing.... shhh.....

let sleeping dog lie.....

doggy stlye....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Philosophy 101

Basic logic course

1)AWARE’s guide for trainers state that “anal sex — can be healthy and neutral if practised with consent and with a condom”

Substitute the taking of ice,Katemine and other life style drugs that is a norm in certain culture and you have

Taking Katemine can be healthy and natural if practised with consent.

2)Founding AWARE member and its first president, Lena Cheng, met with TODAY and said that the group had consulted religious groups, academics, social workers and teachers when they adapted the guide from the 25—year—old International Women’s Health Coalition, which promotes and protects girls’ and women’s sexual and reproductive rights and health. “We’re not some feminists who just thought this up,” she said.

Name three religious groups, academics, social workers and teachers

3) One trainer told TODAY, discussions are “very student driven”.
“We basically ask students, 'what’s your views?’ We don’t say anything, and let them hear all the different ideas... I only make sure everybody respects each other. We don’t believe in imposing any viewpoints,” she said.

Assume the discussion is not about sex but about killing your neighbour because he sings Kara OK of key every night. So the trainer let the students hear all the different ideas, the trainer only make sure everybody respects each other. The trainer do not impose his view point that it is wrong to kill another person. As long as students are given a chance to air their view it is o.k. It does not matter if after airing their view they go and kill the neighbour.

4)Some people derived pleasure from pain during sex. However, it is important that both party consent and are comfortable with it. (from from comprehensive sexuality education (c) Copyright of AWARE 2007)

So once again to take the logic of AWARE, if your child derived pleasure from taking drug with his friend, it is o.k. as long as both party consent and are comfortable with it.

To quote the gloved one

There comes a time when we heed a certain call when the world must come together as one......

In the esshold, we have this policy. Our children can ask us any question about sex when they are eight years old. We use words like penis etc and we do not hide the fact.

We have taken the mystery out of the topic of sex and to our children it is like other topics that we discuss at home.

We empower them by letting them know that if they want to engage in sex we cannot be there to stop them. So how do we develop good family values ? How do we develop this healthy view that only sex within marriage is the best ?

All we could do is to show them that sex within marriage is fun, healthy and cool.

Many a Sunday afternoon, we send them out of the bedroom and they would know that we do not want to be disturbed. Once, our eight years old happily told her friends in the park that her parents are having sex now.

Too often our children is bombarded with images of people having sex in all type of wrong situations. More parents should stand up and proclaim that "Yes we are having sex. Yes it is enjoyable and the best gift a father can give to his children is to let them see that he enjoys their mother's body."

Our body were made for each other to be enjoyed safely, satisfactory and sensually within the boundary and bondage ;-) of marriage.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

True Beauty

Let me assure all men in Singapore that the behaviour of the women in Aware weather they are supporting the new ex-co or the old ex-co do not and I REPEAT do not represent even 1% of women and ladies in the world.

True ladies have quite confident in their power to persuade, motivate and inspire others without the need to scream, be impolite, boorish or even loutish.

True ladies offer a listening ear first, before allowing their mouth to proclaim judgement. They observe and choose the right path without beating their breast or burning their bra. More have been accomplished by women keeping their mouth shut then by opening them.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." Abraham Lincoln

Case in point:
A mother observed at a wedding that there was not enough wine and that the bridegroom would have to handle an embracing crisis if nothing is done about it. She quietly inform her son who was displeased and told her it was not his business. Nonetheless, she never pushed her way and insisted on her demand. Instead she had faith that her concern would be looked into and instructed her servants to do whatever her son asked her to do.
There are examples of other women who have achieved much with poise dignity and grace. I would not encourage my daughters to be inspired by any of the behaviour of the women who were at the EOGM at Suntec City.
Yes, the old exco won but at the expense of the dignity of womanhood.
One small step for woman in AWARE but a giant back step backward for mankind. Sigh.
(The ess would continue to bring up her three daughters using Audrey Hepburn as a model. Their father would be glad.)

A silent wife is a gift from God. Sad to say not many woman are willing to or can offer this gift. Please note that being silent does not mean being pushed over, or bullied by man. Think about it before jumping to conclusion. A silent wife can be very powerful if only a woman knows how to use that power.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Making an ess of myself.

When I was going to get married, the teachers in the staffroom asked me gently how I would like to be addressed once I am married. Would Mrs. Clifford be alright? What about Mrs. Simon? I asked what is wrong with Mrs. Ess?

Yes, with eyes wide opened I chose to marry an Ess knowing full well the consequences of assuming this surname. I knew that I would become the butt of a joke (pun intended) whenever I introduce myself.

I first meet my Ess when he was only fifteen and I was eighteen. We meet when we went carolling during Christmas. We did not get to know each other well until the following Easter Week. It was Holy Thursday and we were in the Youth Group in St. Joseph's Church. We were suppose to pray the whole night during the Vigil.

At three in the morning, during the screening of Ben Hur, my Ess started to ask everybody to go to Fort Canning to watch the sunrise. At first I thought that several people were coming along but in the end only my Ess and I went to see the sun rise.

Although the sun did not rise, we were not disappointed. I enjoyed listening to him talk while he enjoyed my listening. I was surprised at his maturity and his sincerity.

As our relationship developed, we faced many challenges. Firstly, there were violent objections from my parents to the nun and priest who felt that he was the wrong choice for a life partner. He was younger than I was, of different race and I was going to the university while he was going to do his O level. Our courtship took seven years to prove to everyone that we were serious.

The second challenge was to keep ourselves chaste for each other. In the 1980's there were no chastity pledge or ring to remind us to be chaste. Of course we were tempted on many occasions and at times we wanted to have sex just to get it over with. It was his deep love for me that prevented us from having pre-marital sex. Form his demonstration of self-control, I could infer that he would remain faithful to me when we are married.

This Holy Thursday, I would have known my Ess for 27 years, married for 20 years.

After all these years, I am very thankful that my Ess still remain faithful , loving, guiding and correcting me when I make an ass of myself. As you can see from the pictures posted on this blog, my Ess is pleasant to the eye.

Several women had warned me that if I am not careful, I would lose my Ess. Once a lady said that she would have taken my Ess if I was not her friend.

Recently, my Ess demonstrated once again that when force to choose to be a married single or a couple, he chose the latter. He told the person in no uncertain term that if you want the Ess, the wife comes with the package.

I am glad that I am blessed with the opportunity to be an Ess and proud of it.

I pray constantly that my children will be blessed with as good a spouse as I have been given.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Today mama had fun.

This is how the beach looked like when the tide has gone out. Notice that the sand is wet. When it is high tide, the water will cover the plant. This is a mangrove.

This is a picture of mama taken by her friend at the beach.

I will be home by one tomorrow. See you

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Here is mama at the Sec 2 Camp.
Hot Hot Hot

Luckly she got a hat.

These are the teachers that are at the camp with mama.

She still got time to take a picture of the beach.

Mama miss you all very much

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dear esses,
Mama is on a field trip to Cameron Highland this weekend.I miss you very much.

This is mama at a toilet break half way to Kuala Lumpur the capital of Malaysia.

These are some of my students. They will be taking part in the National Youth Business Challenge this Sunday.

This is mama posting this blog. Ms Faridah helped took this picture of me blogging.

This is the view of the enterence of Kuala Lumpur.

This is the bus number that mama is in.

Thank you for walking with me out this morning.

I miss you.

Good night. I miss you all.Hugs and kisses