Singaporeans and NS

In response to the many comments about NS not being tough enough and girls not being appreciative.

All Singaporean boys either dread or looking forward to BMT. Through all the stories we’ve heard about BMT and life in army we either accept the challenge or shudder in fear. However, sooner or later, we all turn 18 and take our first ferry trip to Tekong. I believe many other articles have mentioned many tough activities and moments that NSFs experience during their two years so I shall not give any more examples.

I believe that the “Singaporeans are weak LOL” comment was definitely insensitive and degrading. However, according to what the writer has explained, she made the comment without even reading the article about the most recent death in NS. This sort of trigger-happy comment was uncalled for and ill-timed. The LOL at the end of the sentence could be a manner of speech. In my opinion, since she has already apologised, let’s leave her alone and end all the personal attacks on her, her family and loved ones. I believe it has already turned ugly and the personal attacks have to stop. 

To all servicemen and women who have given their lives in the course of their service, rest in peace.

This post however has to be more incendiary than Singaporeans are weak LOL comment.

I always believed that if you make an accusatory post or comment, be prepared to defend it because the barrage of opposing comments are coming your way.

Before I enlisted, I was probably like the author, believing that if Singapore were to be attacked we would crash and burn with our citizen soldiers running away like hapless babies. Someone once told me that army would “psycho” you into believing that we would be able to win a war should it come to pass and that all army boys believe so when they ORD. It’s been two months since I ORD-ed and I firmly believe that Singapore has got what it takes to fight and win a war with an aggressor. Of course there are our limitations but yes, I’ve seen what equipment the SAF has and the fighting spirit of our men, we can win the war.

Perhaps this author has got the wrong idea when she hears NSFs/NSmen complaining about training. Yes it’s true we do run around in jungles with our rifles, get bitten by every insect unimaginable and get lots of injuries. But love it or hate it, it’s our duty. Singaporeans love to complain, it’s how we pass our time. Army guys love to sit together and complain about our Army days. It’s our national past time since our nation has created that common identity amongst all Singaporean men. From the lawyer to the taxi driver, NS is what they have in common.

But, do not treat our complaints as weakness.

When the siren sounds, I firmly believe that all active NSFs will heed the call to arms and our NSmen would not desert the country that we call home. For it is the time of war that Singapore would need its countrymen the most, not during a financial crisis or territorial dispute. 

On to my next point, yes enlistment is a law. Whether we like it or not, Singaporean boys have to go serve the nation. But should girls feel appreciative? I mean it’s a law after all. Maybe if all the men volunteered then the author would be appreciative? Let’s examine this in this fashion.

For example, Singapore is now at war with Country X. Our soldiers have fought Country X soldiers off our shores and brought the war to their shores trying to ensure that they cannot regroup and attack us again. I’m sure there would be scores of men who have deserted their comrades and fled with their tails between their legs.What of our women and children? I believe they would be supporting the war effort helping make equipment, food and supplies for our soldiers in another country. They would be praying day and night for their husbands, sons and bothers’ safe return. I don’t think there would be any “I don’t give a **** since it’s their duty anyway” attitude during these times. If your (the author) boyfriend/father/husband/son was off fighting the war, you would wish they gave their best during training so they would know what to do when fighting a REAL war.

To the author, I give the benefit of the doubt. The men of Singapore will valiantly defend the nation for our women and children, even for you. If you decide to leave Singapore during times of crises, remember the fallen soldiers when you return back to Singapore for they have kept your lands, culture, way of life, friends and family safe while you cowardly left us. Yes, it may have been their duty to fight the war but they did it so you could live.

For that matter, I believe that the Lim Bo Seng war memorial or any war memorial would have no impact on you because they did it for “duty” and there’s no need for appreciation. I tell you, not only the girls but even the guys should respect, remember and appreciate that they gave their lives for Singapore.

>>>To be continued.

 

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IP or O levels?

Recently, there’s been quite a fair bit of talk about the Integrated Programme (IP) and how it measures up against the established O levels for secondary school students. Generally, there has been concern that parents are too quick to sign their children up for IP schools and are “gravely mistaken” that IP is the better choice for their children. Essentially, the question boils down to whether IP is for everyone.

As the 2nd batch of IP students from Victoria Junior College (class of 2006), I shall give my penny’s worth.  Since I can be considered “pioneer” of the IP initiative, I have been closely observing the transformation of IP in Singapore’s education.

As mentioned by MOE, the IP targets the top 10% of students that are clearly university bound and allows them to bypass the O levels, freeing up time for them to pursue other academic rigours. To be honest, this is a brilliant idea in theory. I think many secondary school students can empathise with the months spent nearing the end of their 4th or 5th year in secondary school drilling and preparing for the O levels. If we were to take away the O levels, up to half a year of time could be freed up for students. And this was precisely why I decided to take up the IP.

During my time, there were few “full-IP” schools. If I can remember correctly the only full-IP schools at that time was the Raffles family and Hwa Chong Institute among others. The IP was a very exclusive and somewhat prestigious course to be in. I had to take 3 entry tests and pass an interview before being offered a place in the VIctoria Integrated Programme (VIP). The number of applicants were overwhelming with up to 70 applicants vying for a seat. As of now, many other schools have taken up the IP initiative and become full IP. Meaning students from that secondary school would be exempt from the O levels with their PSLE scores being the entry criterion.

In my opinion, full IP schools using PSLE grades as a entry requirement is a disastrous idea. If I extrapolate the rigours of the VIP to other schools, I believe that many students would not be able to handle the demands of the IP. The IP was designed to stretch a student’s potential and push them to greater heights. In my batch, even the brightest felt challenged and “stressed”. And these students have stellar PSLE scores, scored remarkably for the 3 entrance tests as mentioned. I was not among the brightest, just a small fish in a big ocean. My point is that if IP was made too readily available to students, you have to “dumb down” the programme, to make it more manageable to weaker students but at the cost of not stretching the brighter students.

I am still in favour of making the IP an exclusive programme with stringent entrance tests and interviews not because I am “purist” or elitist but I believe this is the only way we can fully develop the brightest students in Singapore. On the other hand, schools that offer the tried and tested O levels should be value added. What separated the VIP from my other secondary school counterparts were many programs to develop self-awareness, social skills, financial literacy amongst many others. So if mainstream secondary schools were to offer these programs (which some already do), that will close the gap between IP and mainstream schools.

Another point raised in the papers was the issue of independent learning. The author of a forum article claimed that IP students got their smarts from tuition classes and thus discriminates students from less fortunate backgrounds who are unable to afford tuition and called for a survey of IP students as to whether they still required additional tuition classes. As per what the author mentioned, there indeed has been a proliferation of tuition centers and teachers offering IP-specific tuition. Back in the days, our IP teachers in school told us it was “futile” to search for “IP tuition teachers” as there were none. The VIP taught a very special curriculum for its languages, humanities and sciences that few, if not no tuition teacher can prepare a lesson for without foreknowledge of the VIP curriculum. And thus, only very few of us had tuition, with their tuition teachers helping where they can. However, I feel that the author’s point is somewhat invalid as many other O level students have tuition as well, not to mention for A levels where both IP and mainstream students end up studying for. Tuition is part and parcel of a student’s life, to seek extra help is normal. Even IP students are not exempt from needing academic help. Although I agree that tuition is costly and some may not be able to afford it, there are other ways of finding help, through school teachers, seniors in school or friends in their community (I know many friends who offer to tutor their younger counterparts for free). The misconception is that tuition = good grades. A student’s intellect does not depend on tuition but for his thirst for knowledge which brings me to my next point.

I believe that the IP isn’t all about grades, it’s about attitude. Of course, you require a certain level of intellect and smarts (which I mentioned above is not because of tuition) but the student has to be able to take charge of his own learning and continuously seek to improve himself. Students in the IP don’t always get flying colours for tests and exams even though they’re “smarter”. It’s how they pick themselves up from failing a test, finding out why he flunked and doing better the next time around. I dare say that this attitude is not common among students nowadays. With the whole emo culture and “sian-ness” going around, it has become the teacher’s work to motivate the students to do better in the next assessment. The IP student is expected to wipe his own tears, lick his own wounds and prepare to run harder for the next race, all by himself. Of course, the IP is not such a cold and dark place, there’re fellow friends and tutors to turn to if the student finds himself at rock bottom, somewhere I’m familiar with. 

And there’s the thirst for knowledge, a hunger to find out more about what was taught in the classroom. My bunch of friends and I joined competitions to test our mettle on top of our demanding curriculum out of love of knowledge. Although we did not win, we walked away with a wealth of information and skills gained from merely participating. 

Finally, what are the ill effects of a student who lacks the calibre but joins the IP? No doubt he will benefit from the additional non-academic modules as mentioned but what he will lack is the firm academic base that he will need before moving on to A levels. When this student starts his JC education, he will end up being at a greater disadvantage than his O level counterparts who have been drilled and well versed in their academic base. Imagine the IP education as a very long treadmill where all the students start running in the middle. After awhile, the bright students start running up the treadmill, the “okay” students stay where they are, matching the pace of the education but weaker students start sliding down the treadmill and some even get thrown off. These weaker students are the ones who jeopardise their A levels with a shaky academic foundation.

At long last, I conclude that PSLE may be an indicator of a student’s intellect but the IP is more than just grades and brains, it’s about attitude too and that’s something no amount of tuition can give you. Therefore full IP schools are a bad idea unless there are stringent selection processes. Parents shouldn’t blindly chase the IP dream because it may seem “prestigious” and jeopardise their children’s A levels. 

Rant rant

Honestly there’s nothing much to rant about. Life’s been pretty ok. My unit 21SA has been very good to all of us. Other than the fact that there’s a never ending avalanche of work to be done. It’s amazing how one single email can turn an otherwise lazy office into a mad scramble.

Funny how other people don’t have that much things to do in my unit. Sucks to be me to have such a wide job scope. Bweh. And I don’t get paid as much as other people cuz I’m a “staff officer” so I get $100 combat pay instead of the full $150. But neverminds my appointment has taught me much.

>>>To be continued

WHAT THE HECK??

OMG, my long post got sliced in two! Shit, my entire NETS experience all gone, it was quite a huge chunk leh…. BAH to you WordPress!!! at least let me know there’s a word limit!!! SHall blog again about it when I’m feeling bored.

A Long Post

Sighs, it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged anything. So many things have happened that I really ought to write down but haven’t found the time to. I shall just write in chronological order from most recent to the least recent.

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Darling and I went to visit Bodyworlds exhibition at the Singapore Science Center on the 23rd of Feb 2010. I’ve been for the previous one held at Singapore expo but I’ve forgotten pretty much everything.  So anyways it was a really awesome experience. There’s this really mellow atmosphere as every exhibit is of human origin. So when we entered, the first exhibit were human embryos and then real foetuses. So the both of us felt a pang of sadness as these babies never had the chance at life. But otherwise, I recommend that whoever that has the time and money to go to go. (to go to go sounds weird but it kinda makes sense) I especially loved the part about smoking. A huge section of the exhibit was devoted to the ill effects of smoking. I hate cigarette smoke. I really hate it especially if smokers blow it obliviously at you. Smokers should quite smoking because, it harms them and harms non-smokers. A public menace. There’s also an exhibit of a giraffe, giant squid and an octopus. Tammy and I had this running joke about little drain covers hidden under the carpeting. We had this joke that it was some sort of Sweeny Todd device to trap people and turn them into exhibits a la House of Wax. So we were giggling everytime we heard a clank of metal under the carpet as we walked. Then we saw the giraffe. Must be some sort of arcane trapdoor to catch a giraffe in Singapore.

Posing outside Science Center, please pardon me, I'm not very photogenic.

Tams insisted on pretending to kiss the styrofoam fish for some odd reason

So after our outing which ended at 6, we went to IMM for dinner. We found this really affordable taiwanese restaurant called Dian Xiao Er if I’m not wrong. The ambience was really good. We ate the set meals and total bill came out as $25. No service charge, only GST. At the end of our meal, we were full and very satisfied. The food was good, not excellent but for the price they charge, we had a pretty good deal.

Super chopsticks!!!

Pictures on the wall!

minced meat with salted egg

Sliced beef with THREE VARIETY SUPREME DARK SAUCE

Ok, since we were at IMM we went to this MEGA Daiso store. Seriously, it’s MEGA. The floor space is larger than the one at plaza sing multiplied by at least 5. So we took a little walk and bought some little snacks. I was kind of in a hurry because mom wants me back asap when she called me at 8. Too bad I reached home at 11.30 I had the scolding of my life. And I’m feeling really angry and depressed till today.

  • What is wrong with being with my girlfriend after we’ve been separated for so long during our A level studies
  • I mugged my butt off during A levels and I was promised that I could do WHATEVER I WANT after that. But I don’t quite see that happening. My parents lied to me.
  • What’s wrong with spending time to take care of injured gf? She has a slipped disc and moving around is really difficult.
  • I obediently followed every instruction given for 18 years of my life, why can’t I do what I want now? I’m not hurting anyone nor myself or causing any public mischief, I just want to lead the life I want and not the one they want for me.
  • What’s wrong with not doing anything concrete after A levels? Taking care of injured gf doesn’t count apparently although through that I learn how to cook and how to take care of people with spinal injuries as well as UNDERSTAND spinal injuries. If anyone tells you that you don’t have a slipped disc from looking at an X-Ray, slap the person and demand a refund because discs don’t show up on X-Rays.
  • Is 11.30 that late a time to come home? I’m not partying till 3-4 am ya know.. Just sending gf back home. My fault she lives so damn far away?

Bah.

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Gundam update!

I’ve been really busy with stuff right now, so I’ve been stuck at the upper torso.

Upper torso Unicorn mode

Upper torso with transformed right arm

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Anyways, me volunteering at Fei Yue Community Services now, voicing the character Kan Guru as part of their video series encouraging youths to discuss certain issues such as internet addiction, love and emo-ness??

Also, me doing translating work for CNEC. Helping them translate letters that the children in myanmar write to their sponsors in US and Canada? Dunno where the sponsors are but my job is to translate to English. I don’t blame them but their Mandarin is really bad. It’s not because they’re stupid but because of the teacher’s education level. They mix jian ti and fan ti with a weird mix of words I’ve never seen before. It’s a real hassle but I’m doing it out of love for them. Haha, so noble hor?

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As part of my mom’s slave labour program, she shipped me off to Chinatown to work at the NETS flashpay card roadshow booth to fill in for

Elude

I shall be dedicating this blog post to describing my life after A levels. Post-As for short.

Many people don’t really seem to understand how wonderful it is to live without a job. After being tied down by academics for 12 years, this is by far the longest and sweetest holiday and I’m not going to waste it on a menial job. Ok, here’s my logic. For a pre-NSF, average pay that I hear my friends are getting are around $1000 – $1100, that’s for girls too and A level holders too(in a sense because we haven’t received our results yet, but not like it matters because if we get straight As, our pay won’t increase anyway). For me it’s about 4 months of holiday from end of A lvls to enlistment day. The best job I could get is possibly a 3 month long stint as spare personnel in some company. Now thinking economically, with regard to weighing the costs and benefits, is it worth it to slog your butt off at irregular hours at an office at the opposite end of the MRT line for just a mere $1000 a month? If we were more qualified perhaps with a university degree, the 4 months could earn me a SHIT LOAD more than what I would be earning now. So why work? The opportunity costs are simply too high (opportunity costs are the next best alternative forgone, in this case some well deserved R&R)

So since I value R&R more highly than work and all it’s benefits of “character-moulding”, “experience in the working world” and of course the mulah, what have I been doing all this while? But before I go into that, I want to attack some of the benefits of starting work so early.

  1. Starting work early does NOT help in character moulding. Taking a peek into the adult’s working world, back stabbing, gossipping and all sorts of office politics emerge from the working world. And how is that supposed to be character moulding? More like character breaking. Character moulding need not take place during work. Mine is taking place right now, out of work.
  2. The added experience in the working world argument is utter bullshit. I wonder why my parents are rushing me into work when they themselves can’t wait to stop working. And the experience is going to be useless unless you want to continue working as a waiter/data entry/telemarketer/assistant teacher/childcare teacher/tuition teacher for the rest of your life.

Alright, so now back to discussing the beauty of being unemployed. As of now, I have the luxury of time. Time is indeed a luxury, many won’t realise that until they encounter a major examination that could very well alter the rest of your fate. So now that my basic premise is established, we shall move on to what time did for me.

Number 1.

I can now pursue my hobbies. I’ve always wanted to build gundam models. And I’ve recently bought 2 models. I completed the Freedom Gundam and I’m supposed to start building the Strike Rouge with my dad a while back but he’s busy so I can’t start on it lest I damage father-son ties. But anyway that’s just one of the hobbies that I have the time to pursue. There’s sketching (or doodling in my case), cycling, watching anime, rearing fish and the list goes on. Of course top priority goes to losing weight, otherwise nobody would believe I’m PES A. These hobbies have been repressed for far too long, it’s time to dig them out and heal the soul.

Number 2.

I can mend strained relationships. Relationships are very precious and there’s no relationship more precious than with my dearest. Of course it was hard to maintain the relationship during A level year but she was understanding and we pulled through. Now’s the time to snatch back that first year of dating that we never had. And if I were to get a job, where would I get the time to do that? But of course, my darling has to be unemployed too. I wished she were because she really needs all the money she can get and because she has 8 months to go before her uni term starts, so once I go into NS, the most logical way to pass time is to get a job. But as of now, she has a slipped disc that impairs her from walking too far away. Too far would mean from her house to the nearest bus stop. So whoever is reading this, please help me to pray for her. Thanks in advance. And since I have time I can be with her while she recuperates, bring her to appointments, make sure she’s safe when we go swimming (swimming is supposed to help with the back) and basically make sure she’s safe and happy. And I find building a proper loving relationship more worthwhile than getting a job.

Number 3.

It is said, time heals all wounds. Well it’s true to a certain extent and I can vouch for it. Nothing beats having an Own Time Own Target lifestyle.

Also, since I’m earning little, I spend just as little! Apart from my allowance (haha, I still receive my allowance as per normal) I give tuition because I want to and also to earn some side income. I find teaching very fulfilling but absolutely no way I’m going to become a MOE teacher.

Problem, my parents can’t stand my lifestyle, they want me to go work and do something “meaningful” before army. I don’t think that they understand that I find my current lfiestyle meaningful enough. I do volunteer work, helping to translate letters into english for a Christian firm, lend my voice to do some voice acting for a series of educational videos. And considering the rates I charge my cousin for tuition, it’s almost voluntary.

Bah, I guess parents won’t understand but then again I don’t think I might understand my children when I have a family of my own.

Rant Rant

As old people do, I’m going to complain about the weather.

Today was a nice day to go cycling. I woke up early in the morning to get ready and it was a beautiful day, sunny and tufts of clouds just swirling by. And recently I just cleaned out my bike and changed my tyres to a thinner variety so it’s faster and smoother. The plan was to cycle from my house to ECP via park connector (PCN), head over to Changi Village back to Fort Road, then finally back to the PCN to bring me home. Total distance was about 30km. Actually more but I haven’t had the time to calculate it out.

So I reached Changi Village and decided to stop and rest. I was testing my camera and figuring out how on earth to use my prosumer camera. I shall display some of the nicer shots. I’m a novice at this so, please forgive.

Ok so after a nice rest and some picture taking it’s time to head over to fort road. So somewhere along the road by the runway, it started drizzling. I thought nothing of it until I saw the giant black cloud over head. And the drizzle turned into a storm!!! GARH!!! Very soon I was soaking wet, forget about cycling to fort road, I want to go home NOW!!! So i headed towards the PCN what would bring me home at top speed. Then out of nowhere, this uncle with a bike about as powderful as mine zipped by. I was flabbergasted. Not to be beaten by the uncle, we had some sort of race. Of course the youth will triumph in the end but it was a tough fight. Okok, here comes the worst part, it stopped raining once I reached home. GARH!!! It’s as if the weather didn’t want me to cycle to fort road and back. Hey mother nature, I have a tummy to lose! Bah.

To add insult to injury, the weather became stifling hot. After cycling I was, of course, tired and wanted to take a nap. But I couldn’t because it was just too hot and humid. Even my fan was blowing hot air into my face. I gave up napping and ate a chinese bun of some sorts.

Singapore weather is epic. If any temperate-climate-living nation were to invade Singapore, they’d better bring some kind of cooling device. If not we’d win without firing a single bullet. The heat and humidity will take care of them.

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On a side note, I’ve found eye bleach worse than fat women in undersized bikinis. It’s a guy’s ass crack. It’s bad. I almost went blind. Dudes of the world, if you want to wear your pants low, please make sure you show your underwear or boxers and not your ass cracks. It is simply disgusting and girls don’t find it sexy, at all. So please do the world a favour.