for my students (both past and present)

March 22, 2007

Dear students… though you wouldn’t get to read this as this blog is pretty much my private domain… I just wanna say this to you, for you are my pride and joy.

To my first graduating batch (you’re the ’03 batch), many of you are now in uni, in NS, or have graduated from poly. Heard from JM recently, really glad that he’s going to uni after his NS. Suddenly, I realised that you’re not my babies anymore. You’ve got your lives planned out, your education and career charted out. Yet, to me, you’d still be my students forever.

To my first graduating form class (you know who you are… you’re the ’04 batch), been reading XY’s blog, and recently got back in touch with her. Was pretty surprised when some of you contacted me about a class gathering late last year – didn’t expect to be remembered. Some of you would have got your ‘A’ level results recently. Heard that some of you did really well! Do keep up the 8’ttitude spirit!

To my last form class in my first school (you’re the ’06 batch) you’re my beary favourite class! Will never forgive you for the “mama bear” thingy though. I miss you bears lots, though I had to leave before you graduated. I still remember the first day of school when you had your differences. I still remember your tears, your laughter. I remember when I had to comfort some of you who had quarrelled, and when NC came to me sheepishly when his basketball was confiscated when the P saw him trying to kick it up to 4th floor! My dear bears, I know you people have the ability to go far, so do set your sights beyond what you are looking at, for you (and I) know you can go wherever your dreams take you!

To those in the photography club, you’ve been a fantastic lot. It’s a “siong” CCA – I remember we took pictures for almost all the school events, and I remember going to Little India and Arab Street and the Science Centre! For me, it was something I had just picked up, and I was keen to share. I know HM did well for her As, and JM is thinking about doing bridal photography. I hope that you can all keep in touch with each other, and go further in this area. =) And JM, I will remember you if I ever get married! Remember to keep that day free, ok? And KL, you have the potential to be a good photographer and a good leader. You’re mature beyond your age. And H, I admire your tenacity and determination, and I’m glad you’ve decided to join us then!

To my Debate Students (JG ’07), though I tear my hair out (and yours too) in the weeks we’ve worked together, I must really say I really really enjoyed working with you. Honest, despite saying that I will never want boys, and if I happen to have boys, I’d never name my boys after you people, I’ll be very proud if my children (if I have any) turn out like you. You’re dynamic, independent, team workers, helpful, humourous, and you carry yourselves well. Speaking well adds to the list of accolades that I can heap on you. To A, you’re definitely more experienced than me, and you do see far into your role. I’m really impressed by you – you’re a good debater and will make a good coach – you’ve shared a lot with me and with your juniors! To J and K, I know you are balancing many things on your plates. Studies, CCA, leadership roles, and now debate. It’s not easy, but I see you learning to cope with the extra demand on your time. To H, it’s been hard on you to deal with the disappointment. I feel that you have the ability to debate – that’s for sure. Do try to get into this area in your post sec education. You’ve the skills, all you lack now is the chance to shine! To N, I feel that you’ve definitely improved since you joined us. Do continue to learn to think critically and to speak well! And finally, to W. You’re always so cool, but I know that beneath that calm demeanour, you do care deeply. It’s pretty obvious when we talk about debates and the motion. You have many ideas and you can put it across, which is what debating is about! Debating is a demanding activity that imposes its wants on your time, your energy, and your emotions. Certainly a fun and engaging activity, and yet, I must say, I’ve grown to love and hate it in the past 2 months or so. But… I am really proud of all of you. And I hope that you’ve gained something beyond arguing about cartoons, term limits and SS/CE schools so far!

Okay… I will end here for today. There’s still many many more whom I’m really proud of. For some, I know who you are, but sadly, I never got to work with you, and sigh, never figured out your names. And of course, to balance things off, there’s been many many disappointments too. Some have left school due to negative influences, others have opted to give up on themselves and their studies. Yet some others chose to wreck their own futures by going against our society’s norms of acceptable behaviour. But for those of you who’ve made it, or are making it, I’m proud of you, whether you remember me 🙂


The Most Powerful 3 Words Phrases

February 28, 2007
The Most Powerful 3 Words Phrases

The following three-word phrases can enrich every relationship. These are just three little But Very Powerful words:

I’ll Be There

If you have ever had to call a friend in the middle of the night, to take a sick child to hospital, or when your car has broken down some miles from home, you will know how good it feels to hear the phrase ” I’ll be there. ” Being there for another person is the greatest gift we can give. When we’re truly present for other people, important things happen to them & us. We are renewed in love and friendship. We are restored emotionally and spiritually. Being there is at the very core of civility.

I Miss You

Perhaps more marriages could be saved & strengthened if couples simply & sincerely say to each other “I miss you.” This powerful affirmation tells partners they are wanted, needed, desired & loved. Consider how ecstatic you would feel, if you received an unexpected phone call from your spouse in the middle of your workday, just to say “I miss you.”

I Respect You / I Trust You

Respect and trust is another way of showing love. Its conveys the feeling that another person is a true equal. If you talk to your children as if they were adults you will strengthen the bonds & become close friends. This applies to all interpersonal relationships

Maybe You’re Right

This phrase is highly effective in diffusing an argument and restoring frayed emotions. The flip side to “maybe you’re right” is the humility of admitting maybe “I’m wrong”. Let’s face it. When you have a heated argument with someone, all you do is cement the other person’s point of view. They, or you, will not change their stance and you run the risk of seriously damaging the relationship between you. Saying “maybe you’re right” can open the door to further explore the subject, in which you may then have the opportunity to get your view across in a more rational manner.

Please Forgive Me

Many broken relationships could be restored and healed if people would admit their mistakes and ask for forgiveness. All of us are vulnerable to faults and failures. A man should never be ashamed to own up that he has been in the wrong, which is saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.

I Thank You

Gratitude is an exquisite form of courtesy. People who enjoy the companionship of good, close friends are those who don’t take daily courtesies for granted. They are quick to thank their friends for their many expressions of kindness. On the other hand, people whose circle of friends is severely constricted often do not have the attitude of gratitude.

Count On Me

A friend is one who walks in when others walk out. Loyalty is an essential ingredient for true friendship; it is the emotional glue that bonds people. Those that are rich in their relationships tend to be steady and true friends. When troubles come, a good friend is there indicating “you can count on me.”

Let Me Help

The best of friends see a need and try to fill it. When they spot a hurt they do what they can to heal it. Without being asked, they pitch in and help.

I Understand You

People become closer and enjoy each other more if they feel the other person accepts and understands them. Letting your spouse know in so many little ways that you understand them, is one of the most powerful tools for healing relationship. This applies to any relationship.

Go For It

We are all unique individuals. Don’t try to get your friends to conform to your ideals. Support them in pursuing their interests, no matter how weird they seem to you. Everyone has dreams, dreams that are unique to that person only. Support and encourage your friends to follow their dreams. Tell them to “go for it.”

I Love You

Perhaps the most important three words that you can say. Telling someone that you truly love them satisfies a person’s deepest emotional needs. The need to belong, to feel appreciated and to be wanted. Your spouse, your children, your friends and you, all need to hear those three little words “I love you.”

Apple Trees

February 22, 2007

Girls are like
apples on trees. The best
ones are at the top of the tree.
The boys don’t want to reach for
the good ones because they are afraid
of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they
just get the rotten apples from the ground
that aren’t as good, but easy. So the apples
at the top think something is wrong with
them, when in reality, they’re amazing.
They just have to wait for the right
boy to come along, the one
who’s brave enough
to climb
all the way
to the top
of the tree.

Why Women Are So Bright

February 11, 2007

Why Women Are So Bright:

  • We got off the Titanic first.
  • We can scare male bosses with mysterious gynaecological disorder excuses.
  • Taxis stop for us.
  • We don’t look like a frog in a blender when dancing.
  • No fashion faux pas we make could ever rival The Speedo.
  • We don’t have to pass gas to amuse ourselves.
  • If we forget to shave, no one has to know.
  • We can congratulate our teammate without ever touching her rear.
  • There are times when chocolate really can solve all your problems.
  • We can fully assess a person just by looking at their shoes.
  • We get to flirt with systems support men who always return our calls and are nice to us when we blow up our computers.
  • Our boyfriend’s clothes make us look elfin and gorgeous. Guys look like complete idiots in ours.
  • We can be groupies. Male groupies are stalkers.
  • We can cry and get off speeding fines.
  • We’ve never lusted after a cartoon character or the central figure in a computer game.
  • Men die earlier, so we get to cash in on the life insurance.
  • We can hug our friend without wondering if she thinks we’re gay.
  • New lipstick gives us a whole new lease on life.
  • It is possible to live our whole lives without ever taking a group shower.
  • If we have a zit, we know how to conceal it.
  • If we’re dumb, some people will find it cute.
  • Our friends won’t think we’re weird if we ask whether there’s spinach in our teeth.

“Why aren’t you married yet?” – 55 good reasons

February 11, 2007

54 Snappy Comebacks to the age old question, “Why aren’t you married yet?”

1. You haven’t asked yet
2. I was hoping to do something meaningful with my life.
3. What? And spoil my great sex life?
4. Nobody would believe me in white.
5. Because I just love hearing this question.
6. Just lucky, I guess.
7. It gives my mother something to live for.
8. My fiance is awaiting parole.
9. I’m still hoping for a shot at Miss Singapore.
10. Do you know how hard it is to get two tickets to Miss Saigon?
11. I’m waiting until I get to be your age.
12. It didn’t seem worth a blood test.
13. I already have enough laundry to do, thank you.
14. Because I think it would take all the spontaneity out of dating.
15. My co-op board doesn’t allow spouses.
16. I’d have to forfeit my billion dollar trust fund.
17. They just opened a great singles bar on my block.
18. I wouldn’t want my parents to drop dead from sheer happiness.
19. I guess it just goes to prove that you can’t trust those voodoo doll rituals.
20. What? And lose all the money I’ve invested in running personal ads?
21. We really want to, but my lover’s husband just won’t go for it.
22. I don’t want to have to support another person on my paycheck.
23. Why aren’t you thin?
24. I’m married to my career, although recently we have been considering a trial separation.
25. I’m not willing to give up on love just yet.
26. Is this a proposal?
27. I haven’t found a sheep that would love me back.
28. I’m still looking for that special someone who won’t rat me out to the cops.
29. I’m not legal yet.
30. Mom and Dad wouldn’t sign the underage release.
31. Because human-computer marriages aren’t recognized in my country.
32. Because the mail order groom hasn’t gotten here yet.
33. Look at our cool single role models: Catwoman, Buddha, The Lone Ranger.
34. I’m waiting for your son to turn 18
35. Today people live to 80. That’s plenty of time to get married and divorced.
36. Marriage is punishment for shoplifting in some countries.
37. Why not something a little more challenging, like becoming an astrophysicist?
38. My prince charming just took a wrong turn, got lost, and and is too stubborn to ask for directions.
39. Why settle for one when I can have many
40. Because you are.
41. I’m not willing to give up on love just yet.
42. Section 42.1 of the Penal Code says I can’t.
43. Getting married in May… May the day never come.
44. Still illegal for me to marry my S.O. in this state.
45. Because you keep wasting my time by asking me out.
46. People begin to look like their spouses over time. I’d hate that.
47. I’m busy on a writing project. Did you know opossums have bifurcated penises?
48. No one has been smart enough to ask me yet.
49. That’s a good question. I’ve never thought about it before!
50. Thank you for recognising how high my standards are!
51. I’m still auditing the role of spouse.
52. No one I’ve met seems to be THAT stupid.
53. Do you do EVERYTHING that’s trendy?
54. My boy/girlfriends would never understand.
55. Because I’m still enjoying my single life.

For the record: Yes, I want to get married one day. Yes, I want to have children.

Wisdom II

February 11, 2007

You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can decide how you’re going to live now.
Joan Baez
Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.
Marie Curie

Old age is no place for sissies.
Bette Davis

The soul should always stand ajar. Ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.
Emily Dickinson

Independence is happiness.
Susan B. Anthony

Together, we can create a community where [all are] treated with dignity, regardless of their sex or skin color or orientation, regardless of whether their family came here on a slave ship or the Mayflower four hundred years ago or through Ellis Island at the turn of the century or from Central America last year.
Linda Chavez-Thompson

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
Anne Frank

Always be smarter than the people who hire you.
Lena Horne

I never intended to become a run-of-the-mill person.
Barbara Jordan

I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.
Mary Wollstonecraft

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.
Dorothy Parker

The main thing in one’s own private world is to try to laugh as much as you cry.
Maya Angelou


February 11, 2007

MIT Graduation Speech ’97

delivered by Kurt Vonnegut [not]

 Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.

The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.

Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on.

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.