Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Blogstipation + Depression = BLOGDEPRESTITATION?

I am depressed. This depression is blog-related; I have had nothing to blog about the last few weeks. Implicatively, that means my life (and what other life do I have besides in teaching?) has no more highlights or “kick”. Do not get me wrong – I am happy when I am teaching, but once outside that, I find no teenage (I am still one right?) thrill. It is as if that wild youngster in me is suddenly, and quite long overdue, rearing its head with a wild sparkle in her eyes, seeking adventure and excitement.

It sounds likes the late-night pubbing, handphone-gossiping, made-up, flighty, irresponsible, unattached Mango-fashion-parading Orchardian that I have never been. In some way, I want to be that carefree young modern girl that I have so much contempt for.

Perhaps I need some young hormone-driven NS-serving boyfriend who challenges me with his ignorant freshness, inexperience in relationships and life in general. In other words, he would drain me emotionally by our constant arguments on his lack of maturity and my domineering superiority. Yet, we would sneak out because my Mum probably would not approve of this youngster as my boyfriend. And because we have to lie and manoeuvre a way just to be with each other, we would appreciate every minute of our time together. The last moment parting at the lift-landing would be of such sweet sorrow. And I would be all giggly pink with and sometimes irritated at the attention he bathes me in. I would never get awfully awfully upset with him because I do not expect much from this boyfriend who probably is still umbilical-cordily dependent on his mother. What a fantasy! So 15-year-old, yet – and hence – so innocently thrilling.

Not that I have much to complain about Ly. He is so grown-up. He is quite an adult in our relationship. We don’t do silly things like misbehaving in public, sneaking a smooch during a movie or even lying to parents. No more cheap thrills with this adult, I guess. This is the price of the steady security I now experience.

My girls keep me happy in school. They really do, but cannot go on blog-eons about my darling girls. There has to be some other thing in my life. Or is this the beginning of the decline of my blogxistence? The papers quote that among the tens of thousands of Singaporean bloggers, the bulk are students. I am not one anymore. It seems that the working life does not offer very much excitement, hence the inclination of the blogging demography towards students.

Here is my little, but worthy-of-mention thrill in the recent weeks:
I have been fully enjoying the facilities of the squat toilet and bidet (the little shower head found next to toilet bowls for the convenient quick rinsing of your liquid/solid/blended-waste-excreting contrivances) in the school’s staff toilet.
Have I mentioned before that I love defecating in the conventional squat position? Ly begs to differ, arguing that the excretor’s intimate proximity with the excreted is a major mood-killer.
Nevertheless, I have not lost any love for the position which so naturally pries my exit point at its widest, allowing for prompt and clean delivery. Another plus is that in the usage of the squatter, the backsplash (of diluted piss and essence of brown waste) that the more popular cousin (the seated toilet bowl) blesses the victim’s bottom with, is unmistakably absent.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Wish List

A Primary 1 girl wrote me a question on her little white board (every student owns a mini whiteboard, which the teacher uses periodically to get an immediate visual response from the class), “Why do you come to school?”

That was quite a provoking question, I thought. It got me thinking. I was not sure whether she was trying to challenge me, was unsure of my role/purpose in her class (I am co-teaching by the way, but her form teacher still does not quite incorporate me into the actual teaching – old habits die hard, I guess) or was truly questioning me on my reasons for taking up teaching.

My class (or rather, one of my four classes) was made to write/draw a wish list for the coming year. One highly distracted girl submitted a comic strip featuring a girl with a speech bubble going “grrhoor”. When asked what that unpronounceable word was, she made a sucking snorting/snoring sound. She wrote below the comic strip, “I wish I can grrhoor everyday.” Total nonsense, even if taken in the most creative sense. However, after I told her to do up something proper, she changed the sentence to, “I wish my parents were bake (back) together again.”

Another girl, Pearl, wrote, “I wish my P.E. teacher, Mr. Quek, will be my boyfriend.” (By the way, this Mr. Quek is really quite good-looking. He really fits the bill of tall, dark and handsome – the mould of an Outward Bound School instructor.)
Totally amused and curious at the same time, I asked her what does it mean to have a boyfriend. She whispered, “Sleep with him lor.”
For a moment I was taken aback, until I remembered that she, as an 8-year-old, probably only understood that statement in its literal sense (i.e. physically sleeping in his arms or next to him).
In her wish list, she also wrote, “I wish all my close friends in class are my brothers and sisters so we can sleep together.”
I inferred that she must be a very lonely child without the physical affection and assurances that a girl at her age longs for, but does not understand.
Later, she told me in a benign manner that her grandma was half-paralysed and her aunty has to take care of her grandma now. That meant that Pearl had to return to the care of her mother (which apparently was not the common practice). She continued child-likely, “I don’t like living in my Mummy’s house. I always get scolded.”
The specific phrase “Mummy’s house” caught my attention and I further inquired in an effortful manner to be as casual as she was with me, “So where’s your father?”
“Oh, he go back to Tampines to sleep lah,” she replied very matter-of-factly.

I am unsure whether it is more due to the family culture of affluent Katongers or the general increasing trend of broken families that has resulted in the apparently unusually huge proportion of children in my classes who come from such homes.

I feel so awful for these children who suffer without knowing it, knowing why or knowing whom to blame. I can tell they lack the warm and cushiony human love at home, but I don’t think they know it themselves. Perhaps I am overreacting.
If these children do not know their suffering, are they suffering?
I guess this question has a vague similarity to the philosophical “If a tree fell, but nobody saw or heard it, did the tree fall?”

I wish I could mother these children and give them all the attention and love that every child deserves. I’ll give Pearl all the physical affection she needs and ice-cream girl Maya (who, after being treated to ice-cream for Children’s Day, ravenously used her hands to wipe the ice-cream tub cover clean and licked her fingers and palms clean, gleefully oblivious to her classmates laughing at her, because she was so engrossed in the luxury she could not afford).
Anyway, the answer to the thought-provoking "Why do you come to school?" question came from the questioner herself, "Because school doesn't come to you."