Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Teacher's Day 2017

For the second time, I'm not volunteering in the school. If I'm not wrong, the first time I didn't volunteer was in 2012? The year that KZ, my ex-domestic helper, left and I have no one to pick and take care of lil' one who would end her kindy at 11.30am.
This year I chose not to help as well. Firstly I realised that the "free" timing given to the teachers are getting shorter and shorter. For 2 years, the talented kids get to perform for their teachers which we can watch the broadcast in the Hub. I don't think I want to use my time to volunteer for only 1-2 hours and then I get stuck somewhere coz I can't go home (makes no sense to make the journey to and fro) as dismissal is early. I can use the time to tidy the house. Secondly, too many things have happened for the past two months and I was so mentally and physically drained. I need the time to rest or rather knowing me I'll be cleaning the house. Well, better than piling work up and then work like shit the next day right?

The gifts
I'm glad that I'm not a procrastinator, I tend to plan things ahead. So I got the Teachers Day gifts done in early August. When hubby wasn't around in Singapore, I was able to mess up the whole dining table without clearing anything up until it was done in 2 days.  And I'm so glad I did, coz of the demise of my mother-in-law the wake and nitty gritty stuff took up a whole week. Although that was like 2 weeks before Teachers Day. I don't think I would like to rush through especially when it comes to crafts. But then again, my hands and legs are fast. If I'm able to put a birthday party favors prep within 1 week, this Teachers Day project is easy peasy, should take me lesser time. 

It's personalised coaster this year. Some time in July, wrecked my small brain to think of what to gift the teachers. It has to be something useful and light because my girls tend to give more than 4 gifts. They don't just give their teacher for that respective year, which I know many kids do. And something that they can help a little, to show that they DID make a gift themselves. 

I did the wordings and the pictures, printed them on photo paper. Love the quality. 
I did a sample to see how the outcome would be like and I love it. Doesn't look too commercial but still not so amateur-ish work.

The actual work : - I asked the girls to help with the mod podge. It's really fun. And what's more fun is the thrill of peeling the glue away from my skin after that. I don't know if you do this but I'll deliberately put more glue on my palm and wait for it to dry and start peeling it off. Haha! Aricia is too girly, didn't like the idea of crafts and stickiness. Che-che was just like me, smiling sheepishly and peeling glue off.  


The next step has to be done by me coz the smell is really pungent. After 3 layers of mod podge, I lay them on newspaper in the yard and start spraying them with acrylic sealer. This will make the coaster waterproof. I left it to dry overnight. And the next day, after housework, started packing them up in a cellophane bag and baged it in the paperbag. 
Project 2 : Only 4 to prepare. These are for the teachers who would be receiving gifts from both girls. Mainly their piano teacher and 3 school teachers who taught the both of them. Must be something useful, so it's personalised bottle. I was suppose to design and use the Silhouette to cut but I didn't have the time to figure out how to use it. I used Martha Stewart's silkscreen adhesive to paint monogrammed fonts on the plastic bottle, hoping that it'll work on plastic. 
I managed to get hard paper (240g) from Art Friend and made 4 plain boxes. Thank goodness, I kept my scoring board, (I gave away some scrapbooking stuffs when I made the move so this is one of the items that I kept) thus I was able to score the lines beautifully without having any creases on the hard paper.     

Last minute project. So, this is the reason why I say it's good that I start preparing gifts was before hand. I realised that I had missed out 2 tuition teachers. *slap head* To think that I was making the count some time in July. Simple design and paste onto chocolate. Cheap and easy. I baged them in cellophane bag.  

That's it for this year. Will start wrecking my brain again next year. Time to rest, Ms Small Brain.

No birthday party

It's 21 days, 3 possible weekends, to lil' one's birthday and she has been bugging me for one lunch date with her friends.

Actually I felt kinda guilty that she does not have a birthday party every year like che-che. She did mention weeks before but I didn't make any move that a party was to be under way. I was too tired to prepare anything. I'm going to make life easier for myselpaf this year, I guess I also won't prepare any Children's day gifts for her classmates, after last year's mama drama.

She asked for a lunch date with her friends, but how was I suppose to organise or to give invitation card at such last minute? Just one more day, it's school hols. I can't plan anything during school week, even if I did, invitation card has to be given out before the school holidays right? What more if I wanted to plan something during the school holidays. Sigh......

She didn't have any party last year coz we were suppose to keep a low profile( fengshui reason). This year, I was deliberating in June. Anyway, the unexpected happened and we're supposed to be mourning, you think I dare to suggest this?

Maybe next year? After PSLE? Do a post birthday party? 


Monday, August 28, 2017

Aw... I have a magic house too!

This video touches so close to my heart. As I always nag at the girls for messing up the house 
"the house magically appears clean and tidy every afternoon"

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Planning for 2018

I know this sounds crazy, really crazy. It's coming to the end of Term 3 and I have to think ahead for next year as well as the current final exams. I already have a yearly calendar printed out (to see everything in a glance) and marked the girls' major exam next year. Yes, you're reading it correct. I don't have one kid taking her major exam next year BUT TWO! 我会变成白发妈妈

I need to plan. I always plan. The square rigid me is too systematic. However I made the mistake of not being too square planning well during che-che's P6, I didn't know how fast things would go when P6 came. I procrastinated in her revision in P5 and thought that once the new year starts she could start her studying and revising. It was horrible, trying to cope with the extra workload from school; tuition works; tuitions; SYF. We basically got pushed by the big waves from one month to another; one test to another. Chop chop fast fast. No time to breath, almost as bad as a woman about to give birth trying to do her deep breathing in between contractions. I've got my life vest on, I guess I won't sink

So this time, I had the dates of when this year's (2017) P6s and Sec 4s exams are and jot them down for 2018. There could be slight changes definitely but at least I'll know when I need to mugged the two girls; when I need to start confiscating che-che's handphone.  

Sigh...........why do I feel like I'm going for war? 

I hope I'll manage better with sufficient time for revisions this time round. Things are slightly different between the two girls. Because che-che was in Handbells - niche CCA, extra time and commitment was needed for practices plus SYF was so timely in her final year. So for lil' one's case, I was at peace when she couldn't get into Dance (as SYF would also be in her P6 year) and gladly chose modular CCAs for her. But it also means no DSA option.

I've moved some of lil' one's tuitions to weekends so that she can have some time during the weekday to finish up school homeworks and do some revisions. I can't have the best of both worlds, so I'm taking some precious family time for the kids' studies. 
Recently, I've cut down one tuition. She asked for it and assured me that she'll do her best for this SA2 as well as next year. I told her if she don't maintain her standard for her composition (normally scoring 37 to 38 out of 40 for chinese compo. English compo? Total opposite lor! ), I'll put her back. Threaten only lah! I can't wait to lax... all I need to do every Wednesdays from now onwards is to bring her to I12 to do her homework and pack dinner. She has approximately 1hr 45mins before I pick che-che up from school, hopefully that will help to keep us sane.       
Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Nature vs Nurture ability

Though che-che is strong in her Math since primary school, I saw her struggling abit in secondary school. 

It has come to the point that I realised in the class chat group parents were complaining about the incompetent teacher. She was at the disadvantaged when her classmates are all having Math tuition and that they credit their marks to their tutor instead of the school teacher. Ha! So much of conviction from the Ministry that "all schools are good schools" and "why stress kids with tuitions outside, they don't need tuition because teachers are well trained blah blah blah" BULLSHIT! 

I grouched the fact that my girl apart from her genuine mistakes had also lost some marks coz teachers wanted to see a certain format, which my girl don't do sometimes. She has the answer but worked in a different way. Which explains why in primary school I can't rely on answer sheet to mark her work but wrecked my brains on why she did that method. My hair turned white real fast. Lo and behold, I wasn't aware of a spy planted inside the chat group. An admin staff. (OMG! Luckily I wasn't scolding the school) In less than an hour, Math HOD called me to clarify. Coincidently he was her teacher in the second half of Sec 1 and I did see improvements under his guidance. He talked to me about her and said yes they need to see certain format. Sigh... what to do when I have a stubborn girl who refuses to listen to us?! Then her marks dipped in Sec 2. Scary..I don't even feel so nervous when it comes to seeing the bearish unit trust value. 
A parent who thought I was still residing in Punggol messaged me and offered to help che-che. It was really nice of her to offer me help despite the fact that we've never met before. 

And so the journey of getting her a Math tutor started in Sec 2. I hope my husband reads this coz he always have the belief of "not having tuitions last time and I survived" - great! I saw his O levels cert. Ahem....

She scored better definitely after the tuition and I ponder .... what do markers look for. Naturally capable mathematician or a programmed nurtured mathematician? 

For the first time too, she scored full marks for her paper. Something which she keeps quiet but one day she came into the car and said somebody from her class must have spilled the beans coz people from other classes came to know of it. And she was quite frustrated coz she wanted to keep it under wraps. Well, of course I'm happy for her and hope she'll maintain this. 

They are so different

Both were snuggled warmly in my tummy but they're so different, something that is predestined by their genetics components.

The difference between my two girls :

Noise Decibels
1) very quiet. But since she was the only child / grandchild at that time (enjoying it for 4 years), she talked to us a lot but was shy when approached by strangers

1) very noisy. They're the opposite of the spectrum. Basically she's the Miss Congeniality, doing PR with everybody. The only worry I have is that she's too friendly and too trusting that she'd follow strangers.

Gangster and the Law-abiding Cop
1) The most obedient of the two. Tell her to sit; she sits.
2) So obedient that she lets the school Prefect to take down her name when she was late
3) Waits for me at the gate no matter how late I am. She doesn't move an inch.

1) Tell her to sit; she asks me why and if she can sit with one leg up etc..
2) Little gangster ran away when she was late for school, maybe her small size helped her. Nobody can see her. Must nickname her the Ninja.
3) I'll strike 4D if I see her standing at the gate waiting for me. Even that sacred 2secs is precious for her though she spots my car. She'll play and be somewhere...and then you hear the loud shout as she runs out "wait for meeeeeeee......"

Sotong and the Meerket
1) The sotong who is always in her la-la land. Day dreaming, out of focus that teacher has to call her spirit to come back
2) She does her school homework diligently but needs me to handhold her to double check it's done.
3) The sotong who prefers not to be touched and would prefer to hide behind reefs. Would sit down quietly and praying hard that teacher don't call her to answer questions. Better still, you don't bother her; she won't bother you. The best thing is, I know she is hidden somewhere safe.

1) The meerket who is ultra alert to her surroundings. That cute petite mammal with that sparkly eyes.
2) independent
3) Wah....what can I say about her? She shouts out answers; she keeps raising her hand. She's running around in class that teacher notices something small darting in class. The worry I have is - she's sticking her head out to see things (just imagine a group of meerkats all standing upright) , she might get killed by stray bullets

Tactless and the Tactful
1) Always so tactful in her words, to us and to her friends. Ehh.....I meant when she was young since I need to compare the same age as lil one.
2) I remember when she was much younger, I asked her if I was fat. She accidentally blurred out yes but then after that said something nice about me.

1) Blurts out words without thinking.
2) The question I asked che-che before. Kids don't lie. Never mind, she has to korek korek more and offend me more. I wish I can throw a dagger at her.

Zen and the Rush hour NYC
1) Ever so relaxed about things around her. Throw her on a deserted island, she'll sit there and meditate

1) Kan Cheong spider always rushing around. Throw her on a deserted island, she'll be running around the whole island trying to find ways to escape. Then she'll try to swim but decides to swim back to shore; then next minute will go to another spot and try to swim out. Just imagine the rush hour in NYC, cars honking

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Singapore students suffer from high levels of anxiety: Study (from Straits Times)

extracted from :

Higher proportion worry about tests and grades compared with OECD average

Singapore students may be topping the charts in mathematics, science and reading, but it is exacting a heavy emotional price on them.
An international study suggests that Singapore students, known worldwide for academic excellence, also experience high levels of anxiety and have been exposed to bullying.
The findings emerged in a study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which conducts the triennial tests called the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa). The study polled 540,000 students from 72 countries and economies to look at the connection between well-being and achievement in the Pisa tests.
One question that the 5,825 Singapore students who were polled did not have to answer was on how satisfied they were with life, but their responses to the other questions revealed that most were anxious about tests and grades
Students were asked to respond to statements such as: "I often worry that it will be difficult for me to take a test"; "I worry I will get poor grades at school"; "I feel very anxious even if I am well prepared for a test"; "I get very tense when I study for a test"; and "I get nervous when I do not know how to solve a task at school".
It emerged that their anxiety levels were significantly higher than the OECD average for all five questions. For example, 66 per cent of students across all OECD countries said they were worried about poor grades at school, but among Singapore students, it was 86 per cent.
In Singapore, 76 per cent reported feeling very anxious for a test even if they were well prepared, compared with the OECD average of 55 per cent.
This could be related to the fact that Singapore students were also more driven. One question asked if they wanted to be top of their class. Some 82 per cent said they did. The OECD average was 60 per cent.
The study found that students who reported they wanted to do well in school performed better. On average, the most motivated students scored the equivalent of more than one school year higher in Pisa than the least motivated ones.
When asked to comment on the finding on test anxiety, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said the 15-year-olds in Singapore who were surveyed comprised largely of Secondary 4 students preparing for their N- and O-level examinations.
"Hence... it is understandable that our students are likely to be more anxious about doing well," it said, noting that in the same survey, more than eight in 10 of Singapore's 15-year-olds also said they enjoyed learning science.
"So, we recognise that while our students are anxious about doing well in examinations, their enjoyment in learning science has not been dampened," it said.
Regarding the correlation between motivation and stress, it acknowledged both sides of the coin. "Research has shown that stress at appropriate levels can be a motivating force to energise us for the challenges we face. That said, we recognise that while there is no certainty of causality, having overly high achievement motivation is also correlated with anxiety levels," it said.
"Hence, while we are encouraged that our students are highly motivated to learn and achieve, we are cognisant that this must not come at the expense of their well-being," said the ministry, adding that schools put in much effort to help students understand the meaning of their learning, instead of focusing solely on their achievements.
"Ultimately, stress and anxiety is a personal response arising from one's expectations and the ability to manage challenges. In the light of this, our schools focus on helping students gain a wider perspective, looking beyond achievement, by helping them manage their expectations and understand their strengths and weaknesses. This will also help our students develop more resilient and positive mindsets."
National Institute of Education don Jason Tan said the finding on high anxiety levels is not out of step with a school system that uses exams to channel students into different secondary and post-secondary pathways. "To get ahead, a student has to not only do well, but well above his peers. So it is not surprising that our students are anxious about exams and grades," he said, noting that in recent years, the MOE has introduced various measures to lessen stress and anxiety.
"The changes to the Primary School Leaving Examination scoring system and aptitude-based admission into post-secondary institutions are among the measures that will hopefully lessen anxiety and increase the enjoyment of learning among our students."

Monday, August 14, 2017

Final walk

Saddened by the lost of my moher-in-law this morning. The following days will be busy for sure.
Will update once I'm free.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Flaws in education system

Much has been debated over the education system in Singapore over the years and we can hope for changes which is unlikely. Not my children's time for sure, they are already stuck in the race. For my grandchildren? Fat hope! I think by then competition will become more stiff.

When there is a system in place, people turn 'selfish' and fight the system by finding the loopholes and squeeze through it. Before I explain myself further on the loopholes, let me explain what do I mean by 'selfish'. Over the years, I've realised that my honesty doesn't mean that other people are honest with me. Some when asked if trying for DSA route, they'll say no but secretly had been planning behind doors with specialised training. Sigh... I never knew that this phrase "every man for himself" applies to parenting as well. Can you imagine what Singapore parents has become? 
Competition = every parent is possibly your enemy

LOOpy Holes
Any system that is put up, we play the system to our own favour. Let's start from the beginning.. 

Registration of P1 - 
I'll skip Phase 1 coz that's a guaranteed space for the second n subsequent kid, which (maybe) the parent had fought for for their first kid   
1) Parents alma mater (Phase 2A): especially in popular schools, some more competitive parents will pay some fees to join the alumni to put themselves in Phase 2A1. The rests goes to 2A2. Phase 2A also applies to child whose parent is a staff member of the primary school of choice. I know che-che's P1 teacher joined another more popular school for the obvious reason. Whether she enjoys teaching there is a different story but these are things that parents are willing to go all the way for their kids.

2) Phase 2B : Three categories are fighting for space in this phase 
(a) Parents volunteer for the sake of volunteering to put their child in this school. Once their child are in, they're gone. In more popular schools, parents are also fighting for space to volunteer. I'm glad the girls' primary school has stopped this for many years coz you don't see them at all, and it's PVs that the school needs.

(b) Member of church / clan directly connected with the primary school. Long time ago, it seems easy to get letter from the clan. Then in 2009, I heard a news from one parent that they required parents to be in the clan for 5 years and not 1 year in a certain school. Apparently, I believe many parents had abused the system by requesting letter for one year to put their child in the most popular shhk schools (5 in Singapore) so this school has set a requirement not known to all of min 5 years in hhk. That was the year a friend of mine was to register her son, I told her about this and at first she didn't believe me and suggested that maybe she has to re-strategize her plans. I asked her to call the school to check which she did and confirmed.   

(c) Active community leader : I know someone who used to stay really far far away, one of the parent sacrificed his weekends / off days to do this just to put their child in this phase. Subsequently to put themselves in higher stake, they managed to get a place very close to school.  

3) Phase 2C : the rest of the lost sheeps goes here

4) Phase 2C Supp : The lost amongst the lost sheeps

5) Phase 3: doesn't apply to us unless you're not a Singapore Citizen or PR

In each phase if there is any over subscription, proximity to school counts & citizenship counts. This is where some sneakiness comes in. Good for those who already live near the school. But not many will be willing to move close to school, so they beat the system by renting a place near the school. Whether they live there or not is a different thing. A friend used her address (she rented out the place and stayed elsewhere) to enrol her child in, two years later her sibling borrowed her address to enrol her child in. Ahem... 
Then MOE realize that many have just "rented" or put in a rented out unit for registration. Lucky for those who barely missed a new rule, stipulating that they must live in declared address for 2 1/2 years even after TOP. I'm not sure how many are caught not residing and their kids get transferred out. Some are lucky; my friends are lucky :)
As stated in the MOE website :
The DSA-Sec allows students to seek admissions to a secondary school on the basis of talents and achievements that may not be demonstrated at the PSLE. The DSA-Sec enables students to enter suitable academic and non-academic programmes in Secondary schools that can develop the students in these areas.

If I look on the other side of the coin, it will be difficult for the school to narrow down the successful appplicants if every kid that shows interest in the school is over subscribed. They need to draw a line on this, most asks for results. To see how much a child can cope? But this is so unpredictable - some kids 开窍 enlightenment comes in later. I will talk about this another time and link it back here.(I hope I rmbr tho, I seem to have so many drafts in my blog)
This DSA thing is suppose to recognise talents but many smarty pants have abused it. They are smart enough to enter the school by their results but their parents have to take the "space" leaving one possibly future Olympic athlete no space in the school. I know of two (and maybe more next time), parents claim that they want the assurance their kids in the school.But their kids had been stellar students since Day 1 and true enough, they scored 260++ for their PSLE. 
I have insurance plans for major illnesses and for savings, now I need to have another insurance policy for my kids? 

Another thing that I've learnt is the backdoor, pull strings helps. Some people know the coach so they get selected during the audition. Such a cruel world. It's so unfair,  well DSA is a game isn't it? My kids have no strings to pull; no mother or father to have connections here and there; they're not smart/talented at all so we will lose the game. Our opponents will be the ones shouting CHECKMATE.   

DSA into JC
I was shocked when I read the requirements from 2 JCs that they require PSLE results. What? My kid must be dumb for me to try DSA route right? And here you are asking for PSLE results?

Tuition vs no tuition
Unfortunately my kids are not that smart. Their mother is not that smart either (now you know where they get their genes from) to home coach them. I had been hands on with them, now I let the older one go and save for my soul, lil' one is more independent as compared to che-che. I don't have to stress myself much but sometimes I still need to come in to help right? I can explain Math and English to her, but sometimes I can't explain properly. Like for examples some grammar rules.. I didn't know about the rules but I know it is wrong. So I texted her tutor or write a note down for her to help me explain to her and then I learn. Can you imagine me learning the rules of when to use "me" or "I" at this age?    
Honestly, it's the same whether they have tuition or not. The tuition homework they get is the same as what I would have assigned them to do. The time they go for tuition is also the same as the time they would sit down and do my assigned work. I'm merely paying an expert to teach my kids the right thing and paying for my half dead soul. I can't imagine all the weight put on me, it's so different now. 4 years - I've aged and not as energetic as before. 
Schools would expect that many kids have tuition, so they don't explain much. For example, during che-che's time she told me this teacher don't even teach, will just go through a few questions. So she expects her students to be some genius or what? Lucky for her, the girls in that class are highly capable - innately or tuition-ed I dunno. 

Don't sing the same song
MOE always assures us that all schools are good schools. It's not true, the demographic of the students are different, the overall PSLE results in the schools are different.

Enough space for all students to go somewhere after secondary - then why are they merging JCs? So end of the day, my poor kids still gotta fight to get good results to go to a JC that is near to our house right? Whether it's JC or Poly route, there's a fight for it and it makes it harder that more people favors Poly over the nerdy JCs. 

Hard to get a job
Having a degree doesn't guarantee a person a job in Singapore, how about those without degree? Some firms prefers to hire foreign talents. But if I were to tell a long story, how to get a degree in Singapore? Study like shit; fight like shit with the cohort for space. Singapore kids either got to pray hard that they have either money or brain. For those who can't make it in Singapore, who simply breeze through exams must have parents who are loaded enough to send them overseas to study.
It's no wonder too that many who have studied abroad refuses to come back Singapore to work. What Singapore produced is a bunch of nerdy kids who study and graduate with a degree but they have no EQ. Don't have simple manners; run away from making conversations. Sigh..... this is what they've breed.    

this is purely my opinion. I'm not linked to any organisation or party

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Just as I was so happy that I was able to control her. Or rather I was under the false impression that she was under controlled,  I caught her using her phone again so many times, and it's CA2 TEST week. I was puzzled, she shouldn't have access to her phone coz it's the schedule time to block her from using some partially restricted apps.
In a fit of anger, I took her phone away from her and noticed that she could go into some Apps I hadn't allowed her AT ALL TIMES. I was able to go into her phone until I had to turn off. By then I couldn't go in as she has changed her password. 
As usual, getting intensive scolding from me during test period. The mood is already so bad. I simply don't understand why is she still not putting in effort for her studies. (I'm wasting my time and money on this useless girl!) 
Then she was defensive and said she was checking on school homework. I was livid why wouldn't she take note of her homeworks in school then? 

Phone confiscated! A fuming mad mother! Lucky the man is not around to hear me yell my voice in the house. (Thanks to the training I received in SQ - crash drills)

Then it dawned upon me, my girl is smart enough to know how to hack the system. And I'm still trying to Google search and figure out how she did it. 

Consolation : perhaps she don't really need to study that hard hor? She will be talent scouted as a computer hacker.