Archive for the 'future' Category

zero point two

My gamble of leaving production and becoming a teacher is beginning to show signs of paying off. I say gamble of course, with regards both to the 3-year bond and of my inexorable interpellation with the system. I loathe to identify with authority, which is something that still weighs down my efficacy as a teacher on a daily basis.

In any case, I went for a work retreat yesterday to discuss future plans for a very specific area of study in school, and I was given an opportunity to hold forth on something for which I am right now immensely passionate. It’s almost stupidly lucky that my direct superior and I are on exactly the same page about this; although we only managed to confuse everyone else with our attempts to explain our ideas, I think our enthusiasm was pretty much enough to convince them of both the necessity of our action and the worthiness of our cause. Unfortunately, I have to be cryptic because of confidentiality issues, for now at least.

I say my gamble has paid off because I’ve somehow maneuvered myself into the exact right place and time in relation to my desired professional and academic future. I think I’m situated at a position where I can do the most good not only for myself, but – uncharacteristically enough for me – the good of Singapore education as well.

The amazing thing is how easy and natural it’s been so far; the even more amazing thing is how difficult it’s going to be in the coming months and how I’m absolutely fucking looking forward to it.


obligatory stock-take

Actually this should have been done last night, but what the hell. This blog’s been up a year with a view to documenting my major lifehack – and I’d say the remix of my life has been not too bad.

Let’s see, I quit my shitty job, found a new job, my parents got sick (again), my dad had to go for major surgery, he kicked its ass, my brother got married, my sister-in-law got pregnant, and I’m enjoying the hell out of being a student again. For all intents and purposes, 2006 pretty freaking rocked. I think I didn’t fuck it up this time. Very cool.

In keeping with my frankly quite dumb blog title of zerotwohero, I’m upgrading myself to 0.3 since my last grade of 0.1 when I got my new job. Still got a ways to go, but I think I’ve some idea how to get there.

after doomsday

I find it strangely comforting that human civilization is as impermanent as suggested by this chart. I also think it’d be a great resource for sci-fi writers writing post-apocalyptic fiction; first thing I thought of after seeing this was Planet of the Apes. This article at New Scientist sheds more light on the subject if you’d like to know more.

Link courtesy of Treehugger.

fight back to school

Just completed my Enhanced School Experience of 4 weeks in attachment to a neighbourhood school near my place.

Here’s 10 things I’ve learned so far:

  1. Letting students break the little rules keeps them in line a lot better than trying to exert total control.
  2. Any residual glamour from your previous career in TV is lost when they find out that no, you do not have Fiona Xie’s phone number.
  3. If you look hard enough, it’s possible to find pretty subversive literature sitting next to Harry Potter on the school library shelves.
  4. Teachers usually get warmer and larger portions at the school canteen. Only if you’re nice to the canteen aunties though.
  5. Sec One kids – little terrors that they are – are still damn cute and given the right circumstances, will hang on every word you say.
  6. Sit near the ball courts at your own peril.
  7. So-called “notorious” kids can be your best friend if you can earn their trust.
  8. Surprisingly, smoking warrants heavier punishment than truancy. Maybe its the old smoker in me talking but these kids sometimes get their fags from their parents. How to control, like that?
  9. Don’t worry so much about naughty students, it’s unreasonable parents that are your worst enemy.
  10. There can be no real authority without respect. Authority must be earned, not conferred.

On my last day, I asked my favourite class to critique my performance as a teacher. So apparently, I’m a mumbler, I talk too fast, and I smile too much. Personally, I found myself lapsing into Singlish, Mandarin and Malay alot even though I’m an English teacher.

I’m not a fan of the whole native speaker theory, but I do think I need to keep a tighter hold on my speech. It’s a tradeoff, really. Sometimes a quick Singlish slang term explains something more elegantly than anything in perfect English.

Case in point, after 5 minutes trying to explain the meaning of contemptuous to no avail, I tried “no big, no small“, which immediately got me a satisfying chorus of “Ooorrhh….

I guess I rather enjoyed my time at school – burnt out teachers’ complaints notwithstanding – and I managed to get a pretty solid rapport with some kids in spite of the short time. Not sure if I’m really keen on returning to the same school, but at least I know I’m pretty well-equipped to handle it now. In the meantime, it’s back to NIE for me!

52 Books TRL

Elaine left a comment on my last review asking how I select books to review. Seeing as to how I’ve managed to get halfway through the year without slipping up too much, I thought it’d be good to go into it a little bit.

Well, like I told her, its mostly just 10 seconds of thin-slicing per book, looking at the cover and blurbs. This highly scientific process seems to work well enough. I fall back occasionally on favourite authors (eg. Cory Doctorow) or award winning titles (eg. Lunar Park). I’ve only fallen back on hype just the once, but once is enough, methinks.

One problem I have, I think, is the tendency to stick with genres I know I enjoy. You haven’t seen any crime novels or romantic comedies on my blog, I’m sure. Mostly, its a lot of sci-fi, war and drama. While this selectivity obviously prevents me from reading what I think is crap, it might also be a little limiting. So what I’m asking is for recommendations and suggestions.

I know most of you are my friends and really couldn’t be arsed, but if the miniscule trickle of you coming in from High Browse Online or just stumbling across my blog would like to point out something I should read, it’d be great. Please, no massive tomes though, I may be not be a busy man, but keep it to something digestable within a week. Thanks in advance.

On a related side note: how sweet are these Tetris shelves!? I’m going to be buying more books as my income becomes more substantial, and my personal library would look absolutely kickass on these shelves. Cept they don’t look very adequate for book-stacking. But who cares, its Tetris!


where the hell is matt?

Laur just pointed me to this guy’s video, which has him goofily dancing in freaking loads of different countries, including Antarctica! Fantastic stuff and very inspiring, especially for people with repressed wanderlust like yours truly.

Then again, I’ll have to serve out my bond first before I can do something as long-term as this. As Willy and I were saying just now, even Germany 2008 seems to be off already.

end of days

Just saw a fantastic simulation of what’ll happen if a meteor collides with Earth. Its in Japanese, with translation provided.

The naked sea bed is relentlessly exposed to the intense heat and melted down like lava. The sea of 4000m in average depth has disappeared one month after the collision of the meteorite. At this point, the earth becomes a star where the living thing cannot live. Thus, the earth turned into the star of the death….

Yes, the translation’s a little off, but still quite harrowing. If you look closely at the end, you can barely see Singapore at the tip of the Malayan Peninsula.

the end is the beginning is the end is the beginning

Well, my dad's finally been discharged, exactly a month and a day after checking in.

He's still weak as a kitten, but doing pretty well compared to his last surgery 9 years back. We went to get his hair washed at a salon on the way back. He couldn't make it 10 metres without stopping for 5 minutes. The exertion immediately brought on a fever when we got home. He'll get stronger, but we need to be careful.

The remaining kidney's not totally gone, still got 11% functionality. But cut-off point is 15%, which means regular dialysis anyway. Good thing is he only needs to go twice a week, which is massively different from three times, in terms of financial cost and quality of life. Not as bad as we thought, but not much consolation either. Kidney failure was a complication that really had no business happening in a monitored environment.

Got to go back to meet the doctor to talk about the aortic aneurysm and the stent. There's still a leak, and things still need to be fixed. Blood's still being supplied through his false lumen and feeding his spine, legs and kidney remnant. So if they plug the leak, we still got a bunch of shit to worry about, such as stroke, paralysis, and heavier dialysis. Not sure if we'll go through with it.

Despite all the gloom, I have to say I rather enjoyed – and will continue to enjoy – my role as my dad's nurse and medical adminstrator. Learning the right way to physically move a patient and handling all the logistics of medicine and appointments. I'm actually feeling a bit of guilty pleasure from being somewhat familiar with the medical jargon. I'm sure there're less depressing ways of learning this stuff, but I doubt I'd have been as motivated.

Also been good to connect again with relatives outside of the regular CNY gatherings. My dad's the oldest among 10 siblings, so that's alot of relatives. Not to mention a couple of elders and my mum's side. It's been made painfully obvious who really gives a shit and who doesn't. Also great to have met some of my dad's colleagues and old friends.

Of greatest note was when my dad's two Indian warehouse helpers came to visit him really late at night, about 8pm – even though it was in Clementi and they lived in freaking Serangoon – staying past 10pm. According to my dad, about a year back when my mum was in hospital, one of them gave my dad $200 out of his $300 monthly salary, so we might have enough for medicine. My dad gave it back, of course. My brother and I were quite stunned by the sheer generosity of the gesture, and we still are.

Needless to say, my dad is a well-loved man, so the karmic inequalities of what happened is fucked up on a number of levels. Still, he's back, his spirits are rising, and he's pretty much ok. I can't really ask for much more.

Thanks to everyone who dropped me a comment or sms. I really appreciated hearing from all of you.

elephant stone

Today was a good day. All 6 of us actually had a good bit of a laugh in the ward today.

This sounds like how I’m feeling.

low ebb

Things aren't going as well as we thought with my dad.

My dad's remaining kidney is failing, and not likely to hold out much longer. Either someone fucked up or we're really fucking unlucky cos the reason his kidney's failing is possibly due to human error. We don't really know yet but now our main concern is just to get my dad healthy again.

Also, there's still a leak despite the stent, and there's still a risk of aneurysm. Because of the leak, the false lumen of his aorta is still being supplied with blood. The possible side effects of the surgery were paralysis, stroke and kidney failure due to a drop in blood supply from the false lumen. We thought that at least the risk of aneurysm was fixed, with no danger of paralysis and stroke. That getting kidney failure was just the least of all evils.

Instead what we've got instead is continued risk of aneurysm – albeit arrested to some degree – and total kidney failure. Attempts to plug the leak will still risk paralysis and stroke. He's actually kind of worse off than what he started with.

So now we're looking at long-term dialysis – thrice weekly sessions of some very painful 3 to 5 hours, costing up to around 3K per month. I guess I should be grateful he's still alive but it still looks pretty bleak.