Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What have we created

This morning, students from a top institution in Singapore arrived in school for a shock. The students started their brand new day, another day which they would be sent yet on another wonderful learning adventure, with nothing too pleasant.

Skipping their way happily through the 90 year old school gates, the first thing that the students set their eyes on were scribbles. Not the scribbles one would create during a boring lesson, not the scribbles one would find everyday, they were the scribbles of vulgarities, vulgarities scribbled all over the walls adjoining to the school gates. Furthermore, these vulgarities were directed at none other than the school in question. One fact that surprised many were that these walls that were vandalised with hurls of insults and drawings were actually located right under the school's security guard's nose! What have we created?

Asking ourselves what have we created, what have we became, we soon realised some faults that resulted in the problem mentioned above. I would elaborate on two of them, mainly the flaw in the school's security as well as the flaw in the value system of the vandal and those who influenced him to act that way.

Now, to the fact that the vandalised wall was located close by, and within full view of the guard house. There could be some factors causing the vandal to be unspotted by the security guards.
Firstly, the vandal could have done his "masterpiece" the night before. This would hide him in the darkness, and the security guards may be sleepy and not so alert as to spot him.
Secondly, it could be during the change of shifts and there may be no security guard on duty at that time.
Thirdly, the vandal may have been spotted, but acted normal enough to be suspected by the guards.
After thorough thought, some of these mentioned reasons are labelled as invalid. For the first point, the street lights should be fully switched on during the night, and the area should be fully lit. For the second point, security guards are instructed to remain at their assigned location till the guards of the next shift have arrive.
Thus, some possible causes could be that either the guards were not vigilant enough, or that some unforeseen circumstances occurred, giving the opportunity to commit what he had done.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

We Slept with our Boots on

Today, I will also be analysing the poem "We Slept with our Boots on". As this poem is ranked the toughest amongst the three, I thought it would be a pretty well crafted challenge and a good practice for the coming test next term :)

The poem, written by Steve Carlsen goes like this:

They unloaded the dead and maimed right before our eyes
They washed out the blood, we loaded our ruck’s and then took to the skies
Over the mountains, villages, and valleys we flew
Where we would land we had not a clue
Bullets are flying, the LZ is hot
We’re leaving this bird whether we like it or not
30 seconds they yelled, Lock N Load and grab your shit
Get ready to go and make it quick
My heart is pumping adrenalin through all of my veins
I run as fast as I can through the lead rain
The noise is tremendous, terror I can’t define
The only reason I survived that day was divine
I kept pulling the trigger and reloading and pulling some more
You do what you have to do, with that I will say no more
We fought from the valleys to the mountain peaks
From house to cave, to car to creek
Dirty and tired and hungry and scared
We slept with our boots on so we were always prepared
Those majestic mountains so steep, so high they kiss the skies
The Hindu Kush has changed so many lives
Up the mountains with heavy loads we trod
Who knew hell was so close to God
Beauty and terror are a strong mixed drink
So we drank it like drunkards and tried not to think
Good men and bad men, Mothers lost son’s
Everyone loses their innocence when they carry guns
Washed in the blood, and baptized by fire
I will never forget those who were called higher
They say blood is thicker than water, well lead is thicker than blood
Brothers aren’t born they’re earned. In the poppy fields, the tears, and the mud
And when I get to heaven to Saint Peter I will tell
Another Paratrooper reporting for duty sir, I spent my time in hell

As task 2 should be a more complete analysis of the poem, I guess that would be the only task I would be doing for this poem.

Point of view
The persona in the poem is probably a war veteran, someone who has survived a war. The speaker is in a resigned state and he does not care very much anymore, as can be seen from the lines "30 seconds they yelled, Lock N Load and grab your shit " and "You do what you have to do, with that I will say no more".

Situation and setting
The poem is located in a chaotic setting with war going on in the Hindu Kush. The term Hindu Kush on first sight, seems like some religion, but after some research, it was found to be actually a series of mountains.

Language/ Diction
The language and diction used in the poem portrayed a panic state, which seems realistic.
Since the first few lines, real terms are used like LZ which stands for landing zone, and lock N load which is a term soldiers use. With these, a realistic atmosphere is created, bringing the reader closer to the action. The language used also suggest the carefree attitude of the soldier, who does not care much after experiencing the war. From the lines "And when I get to heaven to Saint Peter I will tell" and "Another Paratrooper reporting for duty sir, I spent my time in hell", we can see that is does not really matter to the soldier anymore if he was sent to hell, as he just came from a war which was equivalent to hell. Saint Peter, who is the guardian to the gates of haven also appears in the poem, bringing some religious references. Besides that, the line "hell was so close to god" also brings that. This line shows that on the battle field, which is referred to as hell, is so close to god, as one could get killed easily here and sent to god right away, through "hell" one get get closer to god.

Personal response
I feel that this poem carries many lessons on the horror war could bring to not only those fighting it, but also those around the soldiers. It shows that although there are good and bad in this world, everyone is somebody son and no one should deserve the sufferings caused by war.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rainbow Death

Task 1
In the poem Rainbow Death, the name "agent orange" was mentioned.
"Agent Orange" is the code name for one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military in its herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. Along with "agent orange", many other killer chemicals were used during the war, creating a rainbow that kills many, thus the title "Rainbow Death".

During the Vietnam war, the United States military sprayed 20,000,000 US gallons of chemical herbicides and defoliants in Vietnam. Agent Orange made up about sixty percent of these herbicides. The concentrations used were 20 to 55 times it took to kill plants.

Just by spraying these colours, America made the victims pay a very high price, not only killing the soldiers at that time, but also created many illnesses and birth defects for the future generations. Thus the line "toll on the innocent and unborn"

The poem Rainbow Deaths also criticised America, saying that they led the other countries astray.

Task 2

Point of View
The poem comes from an intellectual point of view. The poet himself, was a victim of chemical warfare, and thus would not like the US for causing it. The poet suffered Parkinson type tremors, severe headaches, progressive limb pains and many other undesirable conditions. Thus, the speakers words does not really show his empathy towards those who were victims of these chemicals, but rather his anger towards America for causing his pain.

Situation and Setting
The poem describes the Vietnam war. The poet shows his anger towards America, for harming the innocent and the future generations of those victims of the war. The conflict in the poem is both external and internal. There is external conflict, the war going on, with many deaths happening, as well as internal conflict within the speaker's mind.

Language/ Diction
The language used in the poem Rainbow Deaths contributed much to its theme. It has also greatly directed us to its central idea that war is bad in all ways. Firstly, America was personified in the line "America did not foresee" followed by a rhetorical question in "now thinking twice?" This shows the sarcasm the speaker directed at America stating that she had done wrong, and should have thought twice before doing what had been done. The "WILL" in line 10 is also capitalised to emphasise that what America had done not only affected the soldiers in the battlefield, but also the many generations to come. It emphasised that they will certainly pay, and that they will pay deeply for a mistake they did not make.

Personal Response
I feel that war is harsh and kills many innocent lives. The Vietnam War caused many people to be killed and made the future generations pay the price of something they did not do as they face the after effects of Agent Orange. Hence I share the same sentiments as the writer that we have to think twice before starting a war as wars are not over when the war is over. The effects of the war will remain and harm our future generations which are innocent, we should not make them pay for what we had done.


Friday, May 14, 2010

I would give you change.

In an election speech made not so long ago, a politician committed himself to change. He promised his people, of the change he would get for them.
The change for the better.
A change of how things work.
A change of the world.

Many a times, politicians, or even students running for high school president may have promised huge changes to their people. Many a times, in election speeches, the phrase "I would give you change", would appear. Is that what they will really give? Is that what you will really get? Is that, a change in others that they are aiming for?

We often make this mistake, that others will change to suit us. We often make this mistake, that change will have come to others yet not to us. We crawl before we walk. We learn numbers before we are able to learn algebra. We must fix ourselves before we can fix others. Like Micheal Jackson once named his song, "Start with the man in the mirror". If you want to make a change in anything, be it something as big as the community around you, or something as personal as your lifestyle, wouldn't the place you have to begin with always yourself? It would never be you parents, your friends, your teachers, or anyone around you. All changes begins with you. It will always be inside out. Not outside in.

Here is a poem that demonstrates this.

When I was young and free and my
imagination had no limits, I dreamed of
changing the world;
As I grew older and wiser I realised the
world would not change.
And I decided to shorten my sights
somewhat and change only my country.
But it seemed to immovable.
As I entered my twilight years, in one last
desperate attempt, I sought to change
only my family, those closest to me, but
alas they would have none of it.
And now here I lie on my death bed and
realised perhaps for the first time that if
only I'd change myself first, then by
example I may have influenced my
family and with their encouragement
and support I may have bettered my
country, and who knows I may have
changed the world.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Council > Prefectorial board

In one of the recent student body forum, it was mentioned that we were lucky to have a council instead of a prefectorial board which most schools have. It was stated that having a council to look into the welfare of the community is far better than having prefects who enforce discipline.

Is that true?

No doubt most would prefer the idea of improving for the better, than tying up loose ends. Come to think of it, if you do not look into where you went wrong and try to correct it, what good will it do for you to try and make your good points the best of the best.

In this world, there are two main types of goal setters. One would be to focus on ones strongest aspect, and another would be to focus on brushing up ones weakest aspect. Both ways of setting goals indeed have their own advantages as well as disadvantages.

For the first type, which has a similar strategy of a council, will be to focus on a single strongest point. The aim would probably be to excel in a particular area, and to be the best of the best in that area. Wouldn't that be putting all your eggs in one basket? A good example, would be the learning of subjects. One could just focus on one's best subject, and be the best of the best in that area and letting the weaker subjects lag behind, would that allow you a good average? Can someone even soar high with strings tied to the ground? Thus, should we always focus just on our strongest points?

For the second type, similar to a prefectorial board, will be to focus on your weakest points and try to improve as much as possible in that area. This would not only ensure an all rounder, but one who is competent in every aspect. Despite these advantages brought along by brushing up one's weakest, will it really bring the best out of you? Working on one's weakest would also usually be the harder path to take, as if one is weak in a specific area, one would not be good at making much progress with it. Thus, is working on your weakness be the best choice to make?

Therefore, is having a prefectorial board to ensure that the last are not last not as worth as having a council to drag the rest to greater heights while loose ends hang loose?

Sunday, April 25, 2010


The day started at 6am in the morning.
The chairman exclaimed "I have just received news from the head. We have to do more."
People scattered over the place.
Hands grabbed for signs, feet rushed for doors.
"You, you and you, close your laptops! You, you and you put the ball down!
You, you, all of you, get to work now!"
He wagged his finger and ordered.

We parted to our different committees.
At the refreshments committee,
The teacher exclaimed "I have just received news from the vendors. We have to do more."
People scattered over the place.
Hands grabbed for food, feet rushed for stores.
"You, you and you, don't just sit there! You, you and you help carry the boxes!
You, you, all of you, get to work now!"
She wagged her finger and ordered.

Soon the food arrived,
soon the students arrived.
The helpers exclaimed "I have just received news from the students. We have to do more."
People scattered over the place.
Hands rushed for pens, feet rushed for more.
"You, you and you, stop playing now! You, you and you take the attendance!
You, you, all of you, get to work now!"
He wagged his finger and ordered.

The students ate.
The food ran out.
The in-charge exclaimed "I have just received news from the helpers. We have to do more."
People scattered over the place.
Hands rushed for phones, feet rushed for stores.
"You, you and you, go get the food! You, you and you go and sit down!
You, you, all of you, get to work now!"
I wagged my finger and ordered.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Interview on Prejudice and Discrimination

What do you understand by the terms, prejudice and discrimination?
Prejudice is a preconceived belief, opinion or judgment made without establishing the facts of an issue. This could be related to one’s race, ethnicity, social class, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, line of work, personal characteristics, fear, aversion and antipathy.
Discrimination is the unfair behavioral treatment towards a person or a group of people. This could be due to the person’s ethnicity, gender, age, educational background, nationality etc.
Prejudice is not visible and is internal, whilst discrimination is visible and is external. Discrimination is an action, usually as a result of prejudice.

Have you experienced any prejudice or discrimination?
Yes. In my work place, people are prejudice towards female bosses, and think that they are temperamental and emotional and do not perform efficiently as their male counterpart.
As a result, male colleagues get their promotion faster and subordinates generally prefer to work for male bosses.

Why do prejudice and discrimination occur?
This could be relating to one’s belief and values, their experience, etc. As a result the unfair treatment comes about.

How do you think prejudice and discrimination can be avoided/ eliminated?
This can be avoided when you are able to look at things in a wider perspective, be more tolerant and optimistic, and expand your horizons and experience.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Multiple Intelligence

Many a times, schools have sent their students for multiple intelligence tests, similar to the one I have just took from Birmingham Grid for Learning. Most schools would want to find ways to help their students learn better, and thus it can be assumed that schools sent their students for these tests in hope of their improvement. Despite this, are students really improving through this?

Multiple intelligence tests are tests which help to determine your study method, and the way you look at things. These tests are designed to calculate the best way you absorb information through various multiple choice questions. But come to think of it, does schools change their teaching style for every single one of their students who learn in a different manner? Can schools even afford to scrape their previous teaching methods to accommodate every new batch of students with different learning styles? If not, then does knowing your study method make a difference? Although some may point out that learning happens all the time, and that you could use the knowledge of your learning style to help you learn better at your own time, but I would like to state that for students, they gain their knowledge mostly from their teachers, who are mostly unable to accommodate to their specific learning styles.

Therefore, is knowing your learning style going to help you?

Saturday, February 27, 2010


February to most may seem yet another normal school month they would have to live through, like it or not.

February to some, may seem only the second month of the year, with many more months to go.

February to me. I could say that February to me was somewhat a busy month, starting of with pretty major events, and ending off with quite major events too.

My February blasted off with the 37th High School Council, Council Investiture where I was promoted to an official councilor, followed by the Singapore Mathematical Projects Festival which I was in-charge of. Not to forget a maths test just a day before, which I got quite a desirable mark for.
Just a few days later, came a Chinese test which falls on the same day as the American Mathematics Competition which I also took part in. It was then followed by plenty of meetings for upcoming events, and some rehearsals for an upcoming projects competition. After surviving these obstacles, it was not made any better for me, when I was blown with a total of 8 test in merely a span of 6 days. In the middle of the studying for tests, there was the annual cross country meet where I ran a total of 4km, coming in in the top 50.
As all good things will come to an end, all bad things come to an end too, and we were rewarded with a CNY@HCI party at the end of it all!

Now that everything is over, it is no use crying over spilt milk neither is it time to rejoice as there would certainly be many more similar months to come.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A long time ago

A long time ago, a new year started.
A long time ago, blogging was a must.
A long time ago, I created this blog.
A long time ago, I made my previous post.
A long time ago, I went for a long holiday,
forgetting about school
forgetting about the countless assignments
forgetting about the late nights of homework

A long time later, a new year begun.
A long time later, blogging was a must.
A long time later, I came to this blog.
A long time later, I composed this post,
experiencing about school
experiencing about the countless undone assignment
experiencing a late night of homework

A short time later, I published this post...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Holiday, Homework, or Me

Students. It is always the students. The teachers nag. The teachers punish. Will it work?

After the holidays, there would surely be some students who are unable to hand up their holiday assignments. Those students, would be the ones who will get nagged at and punish. Do they deserve it? Is it their fault?

If not, then whose fault is it?

Dear readers, when you have read till this part, if you are peaceful enough, you may have already formed the mindset, that it is no one's fault and that we shouldn't cry over spilt milk. Well, there is always a reason for everything, and a fault in every mistake.

What is the reason for the late submission? Where does the fault lie?

Would the fault lie in the length of the holiday? Most students, would of course wish for a longer holiday, thus lying the fault in the holidays. However, have you ever considered the flaws extended holiday would bring along with it.
With extended holidays, there would be less lesson time. When there is less lesson time, the syllabus cannot be covered in class. Therefore, branching out into several alternatives that can be used to cover up for the lesser lesson time. Topics taught, would be less in-depth, and teachers would be going at a faster pace resulting in the slower students not being able to catch up. Students, may also have to carry out self learning of topics unable to be covered in class and there would be lesser chances of clarification. With more holidays, school days would also be more packed and students would also have to bring home more homework.
In the end, homework would still not be handed in on time with the packed schedule of the students.

What about the homework. Homework, are generally worksheets that are given as there is a lack of time to complete them in school. Should teachers reduced reduce students pile homework? Should the practices a student receives for a coming test be compromised? It shouldn't.
Even if you assume that you already have enough practices, isn't there a saying "the more the merrier". It is always better to have more practices, as practice makes perfect.

Now, all that is left is the student himself. Is it his fault? My answer is maybe. It may be the student's fault and it may be not.
Most people would not like fault to lie on their shoulders and if you were in the student's shoes, I guess that you would also hope that it is not your fault, and would deny responsibility if possible.
Thus, is it right to blame the student if there is no evidence nor prove to support the argument that it is his fault? I do not think so.
Therefore, if the students do not fell that they are in the wrong, will blind punishment work?

Whose fault is it?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The books that made an impact on my Father's life

Although my father reads lesser books now, when he was young, he reads alot.

During his younger days, my father was an excessive reader, who reads alot esspecially in the area of chinese books. The books which have an impact on his life would be books on acient history and those books about famous people. The books that he reads, were mostly concerning China's history.

In those books, there were many great emporers and heros, who had made very big achievements. Those, inspired him at very young age to be somebody and achieve something in life.

That is why he believes in being the best he can, and acheiving the most he can in everything. Although my father may not have done that in many other areas but at least, he felt that in the areas of academics and in career, he have achieve something to be proud of.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My least Favourite Character in Village by the Sea


If someone would to ask me the character I dislike the most in Village By the Sea, my answer would by this.

There isn't any really character who needs to be "kicked out" of the story. All the characters played an important role in creating such a wonderful plot. All of them also contributed to the end of the story where everything is in place.

Maybe I would say that I dislike the drunken brothers. They sounded like nothing but trouble. Although there was no edvidence that they poisoned Pinto the dog, they were suspected to have done so. Although they did nasty things, a story could not go without a villian and so, I wouldn't blame them for getting choosen to be the villians.

Therefore, my conclusion would be that I do not have any disliking for any particular character.

Although I do not dislike any character, there are plenty of them who deserve praises. People like Mr Panwallah and Jagu did "charity" for Hari, and helped Hari a number of times when he was in need. Despite being poor, they still provide Hari with income generously.

My Favourite part of Village by the Sea

Have you read this book?

This book is one of my language arts literature books, village by the sea. It was written by Anita Desai.

Village by the sea is about poverty in india, and about going to the city. It features Hari, as the main character, Lila, and some others.

My favourite part in this book is the ending, where everything is bright and happy for everyone. Mother recovers from anaemia with good food and proper medication, father kicks his drinking habit, and Hari returns home with money.

You should read this book. If it is not a good book, it wouldn't be taught for literature.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Confessions of a Drink Driver

Today, the 10th of July marks the day of my long awaited anniversary.....

It was today, in the year of 1990...
The blarring of my racecar's radio roared over the thunder storm. It was my favourite romance song, the newest one of Q.I.'s newest album. Memories of my wife flashed accross my dazed mind. I was especially down that day, we had just divorced.
The stench of strong alchohol squeezed and push their way up my nostrills. It was an unbearable smell. I wonder, I wonder why did I ever pick up this useless drinking habit.
My vision blurred into steam. I felt heat. Am I in a steam bath? I couldn't tell. My mind was in a whirl, and I could only think of my wife, now not my.

Suddenly, a blinding white light flashed up on my dirty windscreen! The stench. The song. The light. The "bang!". The salty red liquid in my mouth. The pain.

"Quick! Get the emergency rescue service!"
"Don't scare me..."

The scream of tyres, on the crying floor.

"He has been drinking! His blood sample tested positive for alcho..............."

It was fuzzy. I am gone...

Do not ever follow in my footsteps.
I am warning you.
I am watching you.
Everyday, everywhere.