The Obsession with Grades

The obsession with grades

Has long been under debate

Be academically pretty or

Have a talent one demonstrates

Which is more important

For a child’s future

Views are aplenty

Since the future is difficult to decipher

Both have considered opinions

Having both would be great

But how many have that capacity

Idealistic I say

Healthy competition is divine

But do we know when is enough

When some other scores higher

Our parents huff and puff

If life selections are prioritized through grades

That becomes the key measure of success

Then we know life is going to be tough

For children who don’t study enough

Be smart, then success comes

Social pressure dictates

Move off from that measure

And be regarded as a not-so-great

How to change this

Our lords and ladies of court

Scratch their heads in deep thought

How about we abolish exams – what then to make of a cohort

Introduce Talent and Passion

Two alternatives to academic success

What future is there one asks

Mumblings of promises, who knows what comes

Passion can’t buy me a house

But good grades can

So what if I can draw well

Society doesn’t give two hoots that I can

However if I earn a lot

Nice houses and cars I will have

People will regard me differently

Not some artist barely making rent

Money is a powerful motivator

Fear and Desperation too

Judgement is next

As competition rears its ugly head

Both complex and complicated

This issue is upon us

For no one will be wiser

If the vicious cycle remains with us

For now, heed advice from the wise

Do what you can and love

If you be the best that you can be

No one can tell you otherwise.


Test of Patience

You can take a person out of the country but you cannot take the country out of the person. We already know this is true but the message hit home today.

We were on our way back from Jakarta and boarded a Scoot flight. Surely on an international flight you’d see many nationalities. On this flight, one group evoked an involuntary inward groan.

Upon boarding, the bunch of them formed an impromptu marketplace immediately – bags hurriedly, forcefully shoved in tiny places, yelling to talk from one end to another, getting lost in a plane while frantically rushing along the tiny aisle to get to the next row of seats first. There was a general energy they generated that put me on edge. The stewardesses were trying so hard to get them settled in. When they were put in their seats, they were so loud that I couldn’t hear the inflight announcements. One or two tried to open the overhead compartments when the plane was about to take off. Dear God. They are in their own world, aren’t they?

Watching them makes me wonder – are they aware how their behaviour affects others? It really doesn’t reflect very positively on them or their country. Stereotyping here is just too easy and they again and again prove it right. Sure, every place has bad nuts but frequency and volume helps reputation stick. Bad rep is easy to form but hard to eradicate.

A test of patience, they are.

First School Camp


It is not an activity I enjoy and so would never voluntarily embark on a trip that would require an overnight stay anywhere I cannot shower properly. Even the thought of that gives me the creeps. I like hanging out in the bathroom so its availability (and its cleanliness) is of paramount importance to me. Other inconveniences I can put up with.

For some I know, they would not like the lack of conveniences that modern life has accorded. No WiFi is one. Horror of horrors. Cold water showers! No way! No beds! @?!?!&$

My charges fall into this such group. They do fun outdoor things under the blazing hot sun but were irritated with mosquitoes and flies as companions on their limbs already slick with perspiration. They sit in a humid tent for lunch out of a box with 200 other equally sweaty people, oblivious to the eye-watering stench they played a part to create. But they get finicky about someone’s smelly feet. Later, they play games where contact with another person is inevitable and they unknowingly assist to wipe off someone else’s dirt streaks with their sweat-soaked shirt. But they get hysterical when someone steps on their new shoes. And because there are over 200 of them, shower time is limited at 3 minutes per person. They really only had time to rinse and were peeved at not being able to use soap.

Of course there would be inconveniences, otherwise camping it is not. It was difficult for them to understand and I guess they had that fact of camping stuffed down their throats. It isn’t for everyone, so I would wager my bottom dollar that a good number would end up like me.


City people.

To Play or not to Play?

How important is two hours in a day?

What loss is sustained if you spend it at play?

To call for lessons without a break,

What more during their holidays!

A well-rounded person to develop you say,

But the mountain of work will not be kept at bay,

Instead added on to the interminable fray.

In exchange for what, tell pray

A bunch of kids all tired and gray?

This is definitely the kiasu way

So Singapore, so Singaporean, I say.

How to Be Nice when Old

I am on a tirade. 

As we travelled around the regions near Melbourne, I noticed a fair number of old folks toddling about. So the matter of the silver years kept popping back into my head. How would we be living in 10-20 years?

We have established that kids are not necessary in our golden years but people, close kin, good friends and nurses, are essential. If we take away love and goodwill, there is empathy and profit left. The latter two are what we’d get from nurses.

The more I think about it, the more I think I will end up in a home full of cantankerous old folks. Glass half empty or full? Not sure.

When trapped within a bunch of old foggies, we need to endear ourselves to the nurses so they would not dread visiting our gnarly faces every so often to provide the TLC I think we might need then. How so?
I did some thinking and came up with a list.

A. Don’t be nasty. The world is not against you. Ageing is natural and things won’t work like they used to. Be nice to those who are willing to gently clean you and not do something to make them hose you down. 

B. Keep clean and groomed. Age is no excuse to look horrid. No one likes to come near a pig sty with dishevelled, malodorous occupants.

C. Keep connected. Conversations, books, internet, television, interest groups. That is how you will keep active and stay interesting to people who speak to you. That is also how your mental capability won’t wilt away. 

D. Keep busy, Volunteer. If facilities allow, go do something good. The responsibility will keep the mind moving. Who knows, you might even stop complaining about how sad your life is.

E. Seek solace and peace. Some turn to worshipping, others go to the casino. How you meet your end will be entirely up to you.