Monthly Archives: July 2005

mac update

i’ve been using my powerbook a lot more lately, a large part probably due to my free periods in the staffroom, but yeah i think i’m really getting used to OSX!

(for those of you who have no clue what i’m talking about, OSX is the mac’s version of windows)

like i’ve started using safari (apple’s default web browser) instead of firefox.

when i first used the laptop i downloaded firefox (which is what i use on the pc) to kill some of the learning curve, but firefox is pretty darned slow on the mac and safari’s much faster, and safari has most of the features which i use on firefox (mainly tabbed browsing), so yeah. a switch was made!

(besides, safari has built-in spellchecking which is pretty nifty. i know you can add it to firefox, but i’m just too lazy to.)

and my biggest grouse about osx was the lack of a good msn client. msn messenger for mac, microsoft’s kick in the nuts for all mac users trying to connect to msn, really stinks. low on features, continually getting disconnected from the server… yeah it was really lousy. looked quite clean and had timestamp built in, but yeah. it still sucked.

i’ve downloaded adium, however, which has really solved this problem for me. it looks good, works well, has the functions i want (mainly the ability to see profile pic). i had problems accepting the whole ducky theme of the program (for example, the default sound played when a message received was a QUACK), but thankfully it’s mostly customisable. i’d started by turning it into an msn clone, downloading associated sounds and even the dock icon, but later i relented upon seeing the adium messenger duck icon. which spoofs the original msn icons using adium’s icky duck icons.

somehow the spoof is really funny to me, so yeah it’s the one i’m currently using.

and so… yeah. aside from lack of games (probably have to wait a whole year before the popular games are ported over! if they even are), i think the mac’s a really nice system. for now.

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education in singapore and social mobility

today i came across a commentary on an issue that i’ve thought about quite often. so i invite you to take a look at it as well.

(for further reading on this you might want to look at this which is essentially a deeper look at the statistics presented and how not to jump to conclusions based on them)

(but basically the first link is all you really need lah)

all in all, i agree with sze meng’s general sentiment. coming from ‘branded’ schools myself (nyps, ri, vj – fine vj is probably lessbranded than some other colleges but you get my drift), i’d noticed quite awhile ago that a surprising number of my classmates had nice houses. when you go to friends’ places to do projects and stuff (but end up playing games all day, though that’s a different story) and the options for whose house to go to is peppered full of condos and landed property, it’s… cool. in the sense that you had a lot of big nice places to drop by and ‘do projects’.

but as i grew older i realised that something was wrong with the equation. where were all these outstanding “taxi drivers’ children” my mother would always talk about? (no offence meant, these are just examples my mum loved to use) what about those “hawkers’ children” and other scions of less-educated families who did well and excelled in our wonderful meritocratic society? (i was brought up in that type of household where these rare creatures were legends to be emulated, in the sense that if they could do it, privileged me better do it too… OR ELSE!)

they exist, truly they do, but they are few and far between.

and now we have these wonderful stats to support the idea that our glorious meritocratic society has evolved into an elitist one. i’ve wondered before, what exactly the difference between the two was, but it seems to me now that i’ve got an inkling of the idea.

there’s always been a great debate over whether the nature or nurture is more important, regarding intelligence (or academic success in this case, i suppose). while i think that genes play no small part (gasp do i secretly support MM Lee’s now-abandoned eugenics programme?), but the environment a child grows up in matters greatly as well. perhaps even more.

and with economic disadvantages, as well as perhaps academically weak parents, how will those under-nurtured kids succeed in our wonderful meritocratic society?

if only i knew the answer…

but i don’t. so.

sigh.

criticism

so i was bored today and was wondering if my chem remedial sessions so far have been useful/hateful enough to anyone to blog about. well, apparently it’s the latter, at least.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
(yes this guy is victorian and yes i have a lot of free time)

and from what sharon’d said the other day, it seems she’s heard complaints from (a?) tuition student of hers… or maybe her sister? (a phys tutor in vj)

on the flipside, the subject head (Mrs Toh, who’s sorta been supervising me) had told me that her students found the session useful and informative, if somewhat rushed. then again she could have been lying, or the students could have been, so i’m less inclined to trust that.

somewhat depressing.

well. (thankfully?) all this is based on my first week of lessons, when i was (admittedly) less prepared for the whole thing. i think i’ve improved already, so. hmm. i dunno. hopefully i have!

greetings from the vj staffroom

ok so this week i resumed teaching at vj, after my one-week break (due to OBS and other MOE activities). more lessons this time round, cheem-er topics, but i think i did better. came more prepared, better-equipped to answer ambush-questions, etc.

i’ve also been spared the agony of further 100+ pax lectures due to college day yesterday, and my scholarship presentation ceremony next thursday. phew! i feel a little bad handing the job down to some other tutor, but. well. they’re better prepared for such stuff, i think.

so next week’s my last week of relief teaching. originally i’d thought it’d be a nice smooth week with plenty of slacking, but apparently next monday i might be pulled in to cover 3x J1 tutorials for someone. luckily it’s topics i’ve already covered in my j2 remedial sessions… so shouldn’t be too bad. i hope.

gah. i was supposed to get some reading (in preparation for next week) done during my free period, but it seems that slacking is just too easy with a laptop just in front of me. hopefully this won’t be the case when i’m trying to study (will that ever happen?) in uk!

transsexual shaving cream

just doing some random surfing at work when i came across this.

damn funny stuff… haha! be sure to click the link on that page exposing the second picture.

face anal-ysis

(unfortunately i’ve lost the original images when imageshack died on me and killed a lot of my pictures, i’ll just insert the results i got when i tried to recreate them using placeholders, they’re different from the descriptions though)

so i got to know about faceanalyzer.com from kennysia’s blog (which i don’t actually read, btw, even though it’s quite funny. so i’ve to thank yanling for sending the link to me).

so being very bored today (just waiting for a decent time to sleep early because i came home late last night and woke early this morning and want to sleep now actually but don’t want to wake at like 3 in the morning) i proceeded to have my face analysed.

i started with what (i think) is the nicest passport-sized photo i have on the computer… my vj one! dressed in uniform, with tie, all very proper.

FWOAH ANDY LAU! not bad huh. then i looked at the stats and noted AVERAGE INTELLIGENCE then a bit bu shuang already. sure, i look polite, average for most of the other stuff, but AVERAGE INTELLIGENCE? my ego’s offended. so i looked for another one to try to analyse, hopefully with a higher intelligence rating.

next i used my boring passport photo… ok lah, my intelligence rating rose by a whopping 0.1 points. wow. i noted how my stats were all like, totally average, and it dawned on me (yet again) that i have an extremely generic face. still feeling rather sad about AVERAGE INTELLIGENCE, i went to snap a new photo of myself on the digicam.

scruffy-looking me (freaking i’ve become fat, time to jog more), since i can’t be bothered to tidy up or anything just for this. WHAT THE HECK i look like OJ SIMPSON?!? low intelligence summore. damn damn damn. this was going downhill. again, average in almost every stat. yawn. time to pose for another photo.

the next one was more successful. VERY INTELLIGENT. yay! i think it’s all about looking snobbish when the photo is taken. like you’re sniffing at the photographer’s inferiority or something. yeah. hooray. finally. the other stats aren’t too bad either lah.

so, finally satisfied with my analysis, i was all prepared to go offline in preparation of sleep when i noted the celebmatch – Kim Jong Il.

there’s just no beating the system, is there?

p.s. if my gay factor is low for all the analyses, how come homosexuals keep trying to hit on me?

p.p.s. seriously cannot cheat the system. i just tried.

the only constant in life…

no i’m not talking about the speed of light, you doofus.

i try not to think about it too much, but at this point i think my life’s about to change. quite a bit. i mean even now, i can feel a shift in my friendships and stuff. partly on my side because i’ve suddenly got this whole MOE bunch to hang out with… but the previously-bored-ns-guys who hung out a lot suddenly have new uni mates too.

i mean this is probably normal at this stage, but the thing is that i’d be leaving soon. and i think everything will change even more. and that scares me, somewhat.

but who knows, as my moe senior commented, maybe things will change for the better? apparently it did, for her. with friends all rushing to meet up when they fly back (this seems to hold true for nearly everyone, actually), new friends made overseas, stuff like that.

still, i can’t help wondering what everything will be like when i come back and everyone is working. or about to start.

will i be pretty? will i be rich?
que sera, sera.

(man they’ve gotta make a male version of that song sometime)

huff puff

so i went jogging today.

(yes i know that doesn’t sound right coming from me. so for the benefit of those who know me well and are rubbing your eyes in disbelief, i shall start from the top)

so i went jogging today.

i’ve been sending my brother to work now and then, and i figured that these mornings would be an ideal time for me to get my lazy butt moving and exercising and reducing risk of atherosclerosis. and maintaining that chance of getting IPPT silver and (more importantly) $200.

i’d been slacking since march so i started on a light trot. it didn’t seem so bad at the start – maybe the recent obs experience has readied me for jogging, in a sense!

less than 1km later, the silliness of this thought was apparent. i was no longer trotting along – rather, i was trottering. that’s when my piggish legs make one step in front of the other without conscious thought while all the time screaming in agony.

“WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? HOW HAVE WE OFFENDED YOU LATELY? CAN’T YOU JUST SLOW DOWN?”

about 2km later i did. walked awhile, turned around, then continued the torture once more.

when i reached my starting point i was nearly dead. just sat on the ground and stoned awhile. did some stretching while i was at it. ouch ouch ouch.

they say exercise gives you a high of sorts. the endorphins or something? but i find that very short-lived. compared to the pain experienced after.

they should just invent something which exercises your muscles/respiration in your sleep or something.

2 links

subtitles from an ep3 (star wars) dvd in china. it’s absolutely hilarious. ‘revenge of the sith’, translated into chinese and back into english, is apparently ‘backstroke of the west’.

counter-strike live action video. i think by some local guy. it’s pretty funny, especially the hostages. a real hoot if you’ve ever played counter-strike. if not… probably not that amusing lah.

lecture

a lecture of 100 students is rather tough.

it seems that the larger the group, the more mobbish it gets. as a group, the students are just quite noisy and unresponsive… ask question no one will reply (as opposed to smaller gorups). yeah, i remember practically no one replied during my own jc lectures, either. oh well.

haha at the other end of the spectrum are the few hardworking inquisitive individuals, who swarmed me (where the heck did they come from!?!) after the session with loads of extra questions, most of which i was sorely unprepared to answer. i had to come up with a lame “i’d get back to you on that, but i won’t be around next week so it’s actually probably faster to ask your tutor”.

the thing is that these hardworking kids are the ones who you want to help more (since they’re more ‘deserving’), so it’s kinda frustrating when i can’t… grr.


i’m actually relieving mrs choo at vj right now. she’s on maternity leave and yeah i get to use her desk. it’s kinda ironic since she was my chem tutor last time and even though she was really nice and i really liked her i was probably one of her more troublesome students. not doing homework and flunking common tests and all that. haiyah. i shall leave a little gift for her or something when she comes back and kicks me out of my job.

(apparently the policy is such that relief teachers can only be hired to replace MIA teachers so once mrs choo is back i can’t be employed anymore. which is just as well because i’m finding this job horribly draining. haha. and the hours are really slack! shucks. i’m gonna die as a teacher next time. premature ageing.)


my personal space! whooohoo. with a nice LAN connection so i can surf the net during free period. i also watched an episode of csi today (copied from home). 光明正大! haha. way better than ns =P

and now i shall end off with a (random?) photo of xueling hard at work today when we had dinner at cafe cartel with emil. and i’m so tired i can just drop to bed and sleep. goodnight.