Sunday, October 4, 2015

Teachers: From Ng U-Lynn to Rohaishah Hamid

I guess this must be Rohaishah's teacher. If I had missed by a mile someone might leave me a comment to let me know as had often happened.

And this is Rohaishah, Ms Ng U-Lynn former pupil. Ms Ng kinda of helped MOE recruit a special teacher. She is now teaching at Pierce Secondary School.

I remember when my daughter was in the MOE system. She was fortunate to meet a couple of really special teachers but many forgettable and a few difficult ones. As a result, she told me she would never want to be a teacher. I told myself this even from Primary One this is not good. Each time MOE sent her an invitation to consider teaching when she was in JC she handed the material or letter to me just for my info and then to the bin. As an articulate straight As student I didn't think she would have problem getting a teaching scholarship.

One of the special teachers has been a finalist for the President's award for teachers like forever until ST did a story of her. The other one got his PAT award quite easily but she wasn't close to him like the one from primary school. In both instances I had initiated the process for their nomination. Sure others probably had nominated them as well but I sold the stories for them to get to the finals and better. However this did not do anything to make my daughter more open minded about being a teacher.

When the kids are young, the parents know and could anticipate them if you spend enough time with them. One day they will pass that threshold when we cannot predict what they would do. At that point they would have discovered their inner self and become truly self directed individuals. My bet is that at that time this child would look back and said, "I could have been an excellent teacher". But life is also about getting the time and place right for things to happen. For her both time and place were wrong.

So I am happy for Ng U-Lynn and Rohaishah. Their work is very meaningful. I hope the rank of bean counting teachers will fall over time and looking at the young teachers, I am optimistic. Finally one of the best documentary I have seen on TV this year is, "Don't call us beaten"

Rohaishah's Story

Calling out stupid: Threatening SG water supply

See TodayOnline article.

This is not about Malaysia throttling the water to Singapore. It is much farther away in Nepal which is facing dire shortages of fuel with waiting time to fill your tank much longer than we had to wait to pass LKY's casket.

India is not happy with the changes Nepalese lawmakers are enacting to their Constitution. So just curtail fuel and food shipment which Nepal import from India. Teach them a lesson. This could very well have happened to our water supply if we had been weak, and we would have returned to Malaysia on their terms long ago as second class citizens.

I had called somebody here stupid and I am posting this to explain why that label is not off the mark. On the other hand I wouldn't have bothered if such a news story wasn't conveniently available.

SERS: Bidding farewell to C'wealth Drive

They put more heart into such moments now. I wonder how they would do in when in the next few years those from Tanglin Halt move out. Of course I would wonder simply because I grew up there. Most of my classmates except one remained. She will do that for us eh?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Russia in Syria: Duplicity and Dirty Hands

Looks like Thomas Friedman missed the plot on this one. Like many in public they though Putin was going after ISIS. I never believed that. In the end the first attacks by Russian planes were against Assad's enemies trained by the CIA and not ISIS. Strategic common sense so obvious I thought everyone is playing smoke and mirrors here.

Russia cannot accept losing its stakes in the Middle East via Syria. So at all costs it must prop Assad up. Assad's enemies are Putin's enemies. The whole game play is when the dust finally settles who knows when, Russia must keep its interest in Syria, i.e., it must never be lost to the Sunnis.

For the Americans they know their targeted air strikes are having limited success. Let the Russians do what they find morally repugnant. The dirty work of indiscriminate destruction of targeting ISIS assets regardless of civilian casualties.

If you are not on ISIS or Assad's side you are better off quitting this game and join the thousands fleeing to Europe. You will be sacrificed in this high stakes game.

I decided to make it easier for myself by confirming that the Russians aren't using smart bombs before writing this post. I have nothing to prove accept to record this and look at it again much later.

And that is why we need a strong SAF because you ain't going to find an outside power whose interests are perfectly aligned with yours.

Update: Oct 3 7:45 pm

Just as I thought. Russia dirty hands in killing civilians indiscriminately. Wondering if the West were naive or acting blur. Well on the other hand Putin trusted the West once over bombing Libya and learnt his lesson. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Too expensive to find the truth this way

I got this off my daily messages from NYT early this morning as evening headlines. Item 1 and 2 were just flip sides of the same thing. GOP Congressman Jim Jordan, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was questioning Cecile the president of Planned Parenthood.

When I was younger and had no children and plenty of discretionary time, I thought this contentious approach of surfacing the truth had great merit. Now that I am more like most people, I think we cannot afford the time or energy for this. I had complained in my posts how difficult it was to unearth the truth about AIM, AHPETC finances etc.,

They tell lies to advance their agenda even go as far as to set the other side up to discredit them. The technology for fabricating lies today is more advanced than proving the truth. This is making things really difficult.

Then I thought about the restraint Lawrence Khong had shown but not Rony Tan. The latter was invited for kopi with the ISD and the former has more judgement and stayed clear of that but not well enough to have MOM step in over the sacking of a pregnant employee in his church. I wonder if we didn't have our laws if there would be no shortage of people trying such time wasting methods to confuse, tire us and emotionally take advantage of us to advance their agendas. Think Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui. Fortunately most Singaporeans know which side their bread is buttered.

Understanding Jokowi from the Haze

In other words Jokowi says please understand that we are trying our best if we get haze for the next two to three years. This is like fixing our trains problem - no quick solutions.

I saw this as I sat in the car service centre waiting for my turn to be attended to. I thought I was seeing a mayor than a President. A man cannot change his ways of solving problems without going through a lot of pain. If the problem is urgent, forget it. He will bring to the table an approach what he is confident with and had always gotten results. Jokowi would be a domestically focused President attending to problems which the top down approach had never gotten them anywhere.

He would be shrewd to under promise and over deliver. May be this would be solved in 1 to 2 years then.

As for his tools? I think he will increasingly count on the military. What to do when there are so many people out to block him.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hard Truth: Keep this in mind forever

Something from LKY and only he would say so publicly and in his inimitable way.

Just yesterday I was reminded of the following: The issue of air space over Riau.

LKY talked about sand. Malaysia used to threaten us with water. Today haze is the issue of the moment and shortly the Indonesians will visit the issue of airspace again. Because we are close neighbors, the issues are endless especially when we are so different not to mention the historical baggage that exist between us. The memory of the two warships named after the two commandos we hanged is still fresh on our minds.

Never forget this HARD TRUTH of our neighbors. So be steadfast and remember that we gotta be extraordinary. That is the baseline meaning of good enough. Good enough to control the airspace over Riau because we have been doing it will not be good enough eventually. We have to be super and maintain a huge gap and edge over them to keep our place.

Update: Sep 30 10:35 am

This is analysis for my children.

In the clip LKY was focused on one activity and the lessons to be learnt from it: Sand.

One of you had done a module of geopolitics and appreciate very well the geopolitical angle of enlarging our territory through reclaiming the sea for land.

We are forced to be realists and practical people. Whilst others especially the Americans secured by her resources, talent and especially the two huge oceans, a friendly north who are like brothers to them and a Mexican south which presented no threat they can experiment like crazy, make mistakes and recover. Tiny Singapore is restricted to working things out in the mind, in models and computer simulations because the cost of failure is often too large to bear. However as we become richer and our people more educated and skilled the room for experimentation grows.

Very important. We can't put back the cards our leaders had drawn on our behalf in the past. This grossly simplifies our analysis. This is the mistake "Red Dot Heartlander" made. I sincerely wish our relations with Malaysia were like those between the USA and Cananda or at least among states in the EU. Our relations could have deteriorated to become like those between Israel and her immediate neighbors but we had worked hard to prevent that.

By forever I do not mean it in the absolute but practical sense. Anyway since when this blog isn't about the practical? Even ideals are used to inform the practical.