Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Before you sign that paper

Another one bite the dust.
Bred and Angelina.

Will they ? Or will they not?

When you have six children like they and we do, divorce should not be an option.

When a couple break up, it is never just between the the husband and wife.

They are also a father and mother to their children.

When a couple divorce, they rip the children apart.

Their children is torn between the father and mother. It is impossible to separate the two.

If you mix a spoonful of Milo with a spoonful of sugar, you can still separate the two.

However, once hot water is added, the milo is made. Not at all possible to spilt up the milo from the sugar and water.

So if you are planning to walk out of a marriage, remember the Milo is already made.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I wrote a letter in response to an article I read in Today.

I REFER to "My son deserves a second chance" (Jan 6).
My two children were home schooled up to their O-levels. They did well enough to qualify for a polytechnic.

In 2008, while my son was doing his third-year Diploma in New Media in Republic Polytechnic and my daughter was doing her second year in Mass Communication in Temasek Polytechnic, he suggested that they take their A-levels as private candidates.

I was worried that they could not handle this in addition to their poly studies, but they went ahead.

They signed up for English Literature and Geography at A-level and General Paper and Maths at AO level, and studied using the syllabus available from the Singapore Examination and Assessment Board.

Half-way through, they dropped Geography and Maths because of the heavy workload at the polytechnics. They took Literature and General Paper.

My daughter obtained a distinction for Literature and a B for General Paper. My son got a C for General Paper and a D for Literature.

Did sitting for the A-levels affect their other studies? It, in fact, helped with their poly performance. My son graduated in the top 5 per cent of his cohort and has a place in the National University of Singapore. My daughter has not finished her final year yet; so far her Grade Point average is about 3.2.

My reason for sharing our children's education journey is to encourage Mr Vincent Tan to seek an alternative route to further his son's education.

The junior college route is only one of several his son can take. He can take up a poly course or, alternatively, he can complete his A-levels on his own.

I am sure that this experience will give Mr Tan's son the motivation to pull himself together and complete his education one way or another.

More comments on the subject at www.todayonline.com/voices

This is the article that I am responding to.

My son deserves a second chance
Letter from Vincent Tan

THE new school year started on Monday, but my son, who was in his first year of junior college (JC) last year, will not be attending school this year.

My son qualified for his JC having scored an O-Levels aggregate of 10 points. Except for Chinese, which he failed, he scored either A1s or A2s for his subjects.

However, my son was not a consistent worker. He has the habit of slacking during non-crucial years, only to outperform and surprise peers, teachers and parents alike and make the cut when it matters. At PSLE he topped his school's EM2 stream, with A* in three subjects and an A in Chinese.

Last year, he did badly in his "promo" exams, only getting passing grades in two subjects. Prior to the exam, the school vice-principals (VPs) and his civic tutor (CT) had flagged his "attitude problem" and warned that he would not make it to JC2 if he did not meet the promotion criteria.

Having fared badly in his exams, my playful son was given his report card with a blank under "status", meaning it had not yet been decided whether he would be retained or promoted. The VPs warned that my son was under review and that his performance in the ongoing Project Work (PW) would determine the outcome of that status.

We wanted my son to be given a fair chance and pleaded that his status not be determined and revealed to him until after the PW final presentation was over. However, his CT told him in no uncertain terms that he would be "expelled" and would not even be retained for JC1.

That pulled the carpet from under his feet. For him, all motivation was lost.

A few days after the PW presentation, we were told by the CT to meet the VPs. My son was very happy that day, as the CT had changed tack and told him that he would be retained. As parents we were elated when we were told the news and we went to the meeting with a happy heart.

My wife and I stepped into the room to meet the VPs and were given a report card with the status "retained". As a concerned parent, I voiced out the difficulties we had motivating our son for the PW and we wanted to make sure that in his repeat year he would not face such a setback again. I pointed out that at his young age motivation was a key factor in performance.

To our disbelief, one of the VPs at that point pulled back the report card, said they had made a terrible mistake and asked for our forgiveness. My son was not to be retained, they said - he was being asked to leave.

While my son fared badly at the promos, was it not overly punitive to deprive him of a chance to at least repeat JC1? My son's entire future was at stake.

My son is determined to do JC in
Singapore, but when we contacted the other JCs, we were told that they, too, are also weeding out weak students. We have not received so much as a call from any of them.

Back in my school days, some of my more playful classmates used to do badly in non-crucial years only to ace their school-leaving exams when it mattered. Many are eminent members of society now.

Are JCs now too competitive? In their hurry to raise their "value add" quotient, are they pressuring weak students to drop subjects and prematurely weeding out students they deem unsuitable?

I hope the Ministry of Education will look into the school ranking system, which may have seen sacrificial lambs such as my son paying the painful price.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Found finally !!!! The Merdeka Lion

When I was young I remember a bridge which span across the mouth of the Rochor and Kallang Rivers.

My grandfather called it the Merdeka Bridge which in Malay means "freedom" and the bridge represented our fight for independence.

The bridge was built over the Kallang Basin to link Nicoll Highway. Every morning when my grandfather went for his morning walk, he would start from Jalan Pisang which is opposite the Sultan Mosque, walked passed this bridge before reaching National Stadium. He would then turn back and walked towards his home.

He told me that there were two Merdeka Lions with each standing at one end of the bridge.

In 1966, they were relocated to Stadium Walk, near the entrance of of Kallang Park. Many families would go there and have their pictures taken with these lions.

Of course, I pictures taken with the Merdeka Lion but I do not know where these pictures are now.

When I was growing up, I discovered that the Merdeka Lion has disappeared and no one I asked knows where they are.

Therefore, it was a pleasant surprise to discover these lovely Merdeka Lion at the SAFTI MI. We were visiting our eldest son who is in OCS now and when we were touring the grounds, discovered them near the tower.

Needless to say, my children and I proceed to take pictures with these lions just like what my dad did with us 40 years ago.

Something never change.

It is great to allow my children to touch a part of our past. I wonder if these lions should be relocated to a more public place so that more people can enjoy them?