Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A Quick Visual Update On My Life

My new mini HiFi -- what I've been longing for since SAJC days.
This (the cheapest I could find at $129 @ Harvey Normon) mini comes with a digital tuner, FM alarm (I wake up to the voices of The Flying Dutchman, Rod Monteiro & Glenn Ong every morning) and a better sound system!

I'm growing up... I've got my CPF letter.. Boo hoo hoo! I've barely started adulthood and the government is already planning my retirement funds.. Btw, Check out my funky pair of branded scissors (I bought them on a happy impulse when Ly so willingly driving me to Parkway Parade from school one afternoon)

Look what I won in school! This trophy sure beats the ugly cheap bronze ones I got from my TKGS East Zone competition days... (Btw, no parent turned up)
I wonder if my Mum is proud of me...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Free Lunch Anyone?

There is a fantastic group of people in the teachers’ staff room that adds to the quality and joy of my experience in this school.

This is the group of Chinese teachers (who happen to be seated all together in the staff room since all the mother tongue teachers are seated according to the languages they teach – which, in my opinion, is so close to Raffles’ style of town planning and inconsistent with today’s racial harmony efforts in Singapore). On an almost weekly basis, the team of Chinese teachers would initiate preparing lunch in the staff lounge. They would take turns cooking plain or pumpkin porridge in a rice cooker (brought by one of them for the day). The rest of the team would contribute add-ons. We have had olive leaves in olive oil (with a wonderful fragrant taste that I was surprised to find myself liking), yong tau foo, chicken, mushrooms, vegetables, pickles and smelly decomposed tofu.

They would always provide for more than themselves, and invite the other teachers to join in. This has become the regular practice, such that there isn’t any standing on ceremony from the non-Chinese teachers, like me. We feel part of this warm community. Whenever we sit and have lunch together in the staff lounge, I feel so lightened and blissfully happy to find such simple and sincere people in my colleagues. In a way, it is very church-like.

I will not say that their small effort goes a long way, simply because this is no small feat. Someone has to bring the rice cooker, buy the rice, wash the rice and set it to cook (amidst the full duties of being a teacher) such that when the bell rings at 1PM and the staff room is re-populated, the porridge is just about done. The lunches are not sponsored by some welfare or fellowshipping board; neither do those who partake of the meal make a monthly contribution to the lunch fund. And at the end of the meal, the team even washes up the common cutlery too.

In the past week, we have also had Hari Raya in the lounge. Our Malay teachers brought their biscuits and kuehs, a lot of which are homemade. They leave Tupperwares of these sweet things on the common table.

There is always food on the table in this school.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Day I Started A Fashion Trend

It was a wet and rainy morning. (This is how most unimaginative boys begin their essays -- very into-your-face descriptions.)

The clammy air was heavy and imposing with moisture. Both road and intellectual traffic was slow.

My attire for the school day had no relation to the weather since I, in consideration of my fickle clothes-pickiness and the fact that I the teacher cannot afford to be late for school, inflexibly choose what I am going to wear for school the night before. Thus with the unfortunate non-application of obvious signs that a chilly day lay ahead, I entered the world that lay outside the cosiness of my home, in a sleeveless black blouse.

I draped my cardigan over my rather bare shoulders when I went to class and was greeted with the usual "Yey! Miss Chen!" (contrary to the law of "Familiarity causes a gravitation of enthusiasm towards dull expectation", the girls have not tired of me yet). I wrote something on the board. When I turned around, one of my darlings came up to me and requested that I helped her drape her jacket around her shoulders "like yours, Miss Chen". After I entertained her request, I looked up to find that three other girls, who were blessed with mothers who pack brightly-coloured cartoony jackets into the girls' trolley bags to protect their darlings from the cold morning, had done the same too.