Picking the flower and blaming the gardener

Just to make my point, this shall be a bilingual post. As with the previous bilingual post (dig way back, it’s somewhere in the post-PSLE period, probably in October 2008), I wrote it in Chinese first, then translated it into English.

随着李资政承认双语政策的实行走错了方向,双语政策在狮城已成为热门话题。许多学生华文不好,这是大家公认的,也是不争的事实。堪忧的是,许多家长看到孩子华文成绩欠佳,居然一味归咎于系统不知变通、教师教导无方、教材难度太高等因素,有些家长还写信给报馆,建议有关当局减少华文在小六会考中的算分。

当然,我国的教育系统也不是十全十美的,多年来死记硬背的教学方式也使许多学生排斥华文,这是不能不承认的事实。可是孩子华文不好,一定是被系统害的吗?孩子自己为什么不能努力,试着对华文感兴趣,把握所有接触华文的机会?许多学生只把华文当成是一项科目,并不把它当成是一种语言,更遑论把它当成是自己的母语,自己血管中汩汩留着的文化了。这真的是系统的错吗?真的是老师教导无方吗?老师尽力在孩子心中点燃热爱华文的火把,可是孩子在火焰还未熊熊地燃烧起来时就浇熄了火花,这无异于采了花又怪园丁不好好照料植物。

有些人说系统强迫所有华族学生学华文,仅因为血统就硬把他们推上了“精通双语”的路,一点也不顾学生的能力与兴趣。有些人还说,学生在家讲英语的话,上学时就没法子好好学华语了,系统必须迁就他们,用英文教华文。我觉得这两点都行不通。第一,华族学生学华文并不是毫无理由的,我们学华文是因为它是我们的母语,是因为我们继承了这个文化这个语言,就不应该摒弃它。并不是只有华族学生才需要学母语,在新加坡,四大种族的学生都得学习母语,我们怎么就不见其他种族的学生嚷着要改革教育系统了?

第二,在家不讲华语的学生在学校学习华文的难度固然比较高,可是孩子也可以阅读华文书籍,上图书馆借书,提高华文水平。比如我在家里也是不讲华语,除非我强迫我的家人讲华语,不然我们家里是听不见一句华语的。可是我对华文感兴趣,阅读华文书籍,把握接触华文的机会,所以我的华文水平也不至于那么糟糕。我觉得孩子刚迈入学校的门槛时,也就是小学一年级,教师在华文课中参杂点英语帮助学生也无妨,不过孩子不可能永远都对华语一知半解,尤其是高年级生,对华文的掌握应该足以了解纯华语的华文课。最重要的还是孩子付出多少努力。

我觉得要提高华文水平的话,一味归咎于系统是无济于事的办法。最近抱怨的也好像只是一些华文不好的新加坡华人。我们为什么不可以向小六会考状元邱碧晴学习?她在2006年随着家人从中国来到狮城时,几乎完全不谙英文,可是她发愤图强、努力不懈,最终在小六会考中名列前茅,取得四个A*,那当然也包括了英文!她在三年内取得如此骄人的成绩,我们华文学了接近一生,为什么还口口声声抱怨这抱怨那呢?如果双语政策真的如此不公平,我为什么没有听到其他种族学生的抱怨呢?我为什么没有听到来自中国的学生抱怨强制英文教学不公平?所有的学生都必须经过同样的系统,为什么有些人大声抱怨,有些人却默默地努力,最终名列前茅、数一数二呢?

一分耕耘,一分收获。学生若不对华文感兴趣,不把握接触华文的机会,那又如何奢望提高华文水平呢?身为华人,连自己的母语都学不好的话,我们只有好好检讨自己了!如果自己不发愤图强的话,一味归咎于系统,无异于采了花又怪园丁不尽职。

Following our MM’s admission that the implementation of the bilingualism policy went in the wrong direction, this policy has been the subject of much discussion in Singapore. It is a well-known and indisputable fact that many students are bad at Chinese. What is worrying is that many parents’ reaction to this is to blame the inflexibility of the system, the poor teaching skills of the teachers, the difficulty of the syllabus or the like. Some parents have even written to the press suggesting that the weightage of Chinese in the PSLE be reduced.

Of course, our education system is not perfect, and the rote learning teaching methods over the years have turned many students off the Chinese language; that is indisputable. But is students’ lack of Chinese prowess necessarily the fault of the system? Why can’t the children themselves put in effort, try to take an interest in the language and grab every opportunity to come into contact with Chinese? Many students see Chinese as just another academic subject, not a language, let alone their mother tongue, or part of the culture running in their veins. Is this really the fault of the system? Is this really the fault of the teachers? The teachers do their best to kindle a passion for Chinese in their students’ hearts, but the children extinguish the sparks before the flames can start burning. This is no different from picking a flower and blaming the gardener for not taking care of the plants.

Some people say that the system forces all Chinese students to learn Chinese and pushes them on the path of “effective bilingualism” merely because of ethnicity, with no regard to students’ abilities and interests. Some people also say that students who speak English at home will not be able to learn Chinese properly in school unless the system accommodates them and teaches Chinese in English. I feel that both of these points are flawed. Firstly, Chinese students have not arbitrarily been made to learn Chinese; we learn it because it is our mother tongue, because we have inherited this culture and this language and should not abandon it. It is not only Chinese students who have to learn their mother tongues; in Singapore, students of all four races have to learn their mother tongues. Why then do we not see students of other races complaining that they want to reform the education system?

Secondly, it is true that it is comparatively more difficult for students who do not speak Chinese at home to learn it in school. However, students can read Chinese books and borrow books from the library to improve their Chinese standard. For example, I personally do not speak Chinese at home; unless I force my family to do so, no Chinese is spoken in our household. But I took an interest in the language, read Chinese books and grabbed all opportunities for exposure to the language, so my Chinese standard is not horrible today. I think that when students are new to the school in Primary One, there is nothing wrong with teachers adding a little English into Chinese lessons to help them along, but children cannot stay semi-fluent in Chinese forever. Upper primary students especially should have sufficient mastery of Chinese to understand Chinese lessons given entirely in Chinese. How much effort students put in is still the most important.

I feel that blaming the system is useless for raising Chinese standards. The bulk of the complaints so far have been from Singaporean Chinese people who are bad at Chinese. Why can’t we learn from the top PSLE scorer this year, Qiu Biqing? When she came from China with her family in 2006, she could barely speak a word of English, but she worked hard without giving up and eventually came top in the PSLE, with four A*s, including one for English! If she could attain such stellar results within three years, why do we still complain about this and that after learning Chinese for practically all our lives? If the bilingualism policy is so unfair, why do we not hear the complaints of students of other races? Why do we not hear students from the PRC complaining about the injustice of compulsory English learning? All students must pass through the same system; why do some whine loudly while others strive silently and eventually receive stellar results?

We reap what we sow. If students do not take an interest in the Chinese language and do not grab opportunities for exposure to it, how can they expect higher Chinese standards? As Chinese people, if we cannot even learn our own mother tongue, we can only reflect on ourselves! If we do not work hard, but instead constantly blame the system, we are no different from people who pick flowers and then blame the gardener for not doing his job.

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Nitpicking chain mails

This is fun.

Doctors say he will be a vegetable for the rest of his life, if he ever comes out of the coma – his brain is too damaged for him to live a normal life.

He’ll be a vegetable if he comes out of the coma? So he’ll emerge from the coma one day, only to make the seamless transition into a vegetative state, never mind that the latter is worse and wouldn’t really qualify as coming out of the coma, would it? (Wikipedia: A persistent vegetative state is a condition of patients with severe brain damage who were in a coma, but then progressed to a state of wakefulness without detectable awareness [emphasis mine]. It is a diagnosis of some uncertainty in that it deals with a syndrome, not an etiology. It is classified as a Permanent Vegetative State [PVS] after approximately 1 year of being in a Persistent Vegetative State which is called so after 4 weeks in a Vegetative State [VS].)

Therefore, this severe stress that I’ve been through caused Carissa to be born a premie with Down’s syndrome as well as chronic colitis.

This is where the whole chain mail starts to unravel. I can accept severe stress causing prematurity, but Down’s syndrome? The chain mail states that the baby is two weeks old; if we assume that she was born at the viability cutoff, about 21 to 24 weeks depending on the baby’s condition and the presence of medical facilities, this would make the baby’s conception 26 weeks ago at the most (i.e. about six months). Now, when the first catastrophe mentioned in the chain mail, the author’s son’s accident (which led to the coma from which PVS would be an improvement!), occurred on 13 January, the author would already have been two months pregnant with her baby, by which time the baby would already have had Down’s syndrome since it is genetic. And that’s at the very fringe of viability.

We worked out a deal with AOL where for every 12 forwards I will get 15 cents.

Even if the email is sent from Hotmail users to Yahoo users to Gmail users without ever reaching an AOL user’s account, like it appears to have done in this case, judging by the list of contacts everybody mindlessly forwarded this email to? Since AOL obviously wouldn’t gain any money from such email chains, this means that the only way it would be able to do that is if it were sitting on a pile of money in the first place, in which case why must such a deal be worked out?

If you don’t repost this in the next 10 minutes, the clown will appear by
your bed tonight, while you’re sleeping and the same ending will happen to
you.

This must be a gravity-defying clown with exceptional levitation abilities, since I sleep on the top bunk of a double-decker bed.

MY NAME IS HANNAH… I AM 15 YEARS OLD WITH BLONDE HAIR AND SCARY EYES. I HAVE NO NOSE OR EARS. I AM DEAD. IF U DO NOT SEND THIS TO 15 PPL IN THE NEXT 5 MIN. I WILL APPEAR TONIGHT BY YOUR BED WITH A KNIFE AND KILL YOU.

Again, are you gravity-defying or really tall? But I suppose knife-wielding maniac ghosts with nothing better to do than care about whether living people annoy each other with chain mails have good levitation skills.

THIS IS NO JOKE SOMETHING GOOD WILL HAPPEN TO U TONIGHT AT 10:22 SOMEONE WILL CALL U OR TALK TO U ONLINE AND SAY I LOVE U….PLZ DON’T BREAK THIS.

What happens if I sleep before 10.22? Would this mysterious person wake me up to fulfil a chain-mail prophecy? Wouldn’t that convey something other than love…creepiness, perhaps?

Please forward this email so that we know you are still using this account.

Ah, one of my favourites. It’s also been circulating since I was P3, but it landed up in my Yahoo account. What was the point of that? Anyway, so Hotmail can track the path of this particular email, as well as identify the users who sent and received it, but it doesn’t have access to basic user activity statistics or to information about any other emails that users have sent, conveniently making this ridiculous ungrammatical email the only way Hotmail can tell whether its users are still active? That’s nice.

We need you to forward this to at least 20
people. I know this seems like a large number,
but we need to find out who is really using their
account.

So someone who forwards the email to five people isn’t active, but someone who forwards it to 20 is? As far as I can tell, the former is just less annoying.

Out of all of the billions of people who live in
the
world, there has to be somebody born on each date of the year.We are
going to try to accomplish the task of seeing if we can fill the calendar up with
a birthday on every day of the year.

Well, yes, 6.5 billion is more than 366. Thanks for enlightening me.

Hey… Do you want to be in the famous Guinness Book of World Records? Well just sign this!

In 2013, the Guiness Book of World Records is going to be doing a segment on ‘the longest chain e-mail.’

The problem with chain mails is that they spawn multiple chains. For example, if one person forwards this email to 20 people, and these 20 people each forward their emails to 20 people, there would be 400 different “longest chain e-mails” circulating out there, each competing for an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. Now, imagine 5000 signatures.

If by the time of
March 17th, 2013; along with 5,000 SIGNATURES, it will be posted in the book along with all of the names of the kids who signed it.

You know exactly when the Guinness Book of World Records is going to publish its 2013 edition? Actually, this should be 2014, because the hardcover editions of the book always come out in the last few months of the year before the year named on the cover of the book. But that aside, I highly doubt the Guinness Book of World Records is going to print all 5000 names in its book. It only listed 11 supercentenarians in its 2008 edition, for goodness’ sake. Doesn’t anybody read this stuff before sending it to the world at large?

a girl was pushed down a sewer opening by 5 girls in her school, trying to embarrass her in front of her school during a fire drill. When she didn’t submerge the police were called. They went down and brought up 17 year old Carmen Winstead’s body, her neck broken from hitting the ladder, and then the side concrete at the bottom.

I did you a service by removing all the unnecessary line breaks and more-than signs, people. Firstly, isn’t it a good thing that she didn’t submerge? Wouldn’t that have meant that she didn’t go underwater? That was probably a typo for “emerge”, though, so I’m going to ignore it. Since her neck was broken, wouldn’t the resulting quadriplegia (so high that the muscles of respiration were paralysed, likely given the manner of death) preclude her carrying out any of the threats mentioned in the rest of the email? Unless, of course, she was going to ram people into sewers with her wheelchair. But would her wheelchair be ghostly too? And her ventilator? Are the mobility devices of ghosts held in a similar existential status? Hmm. Chain mails can raise such deep existential questions sometimes.

Well, that’s it for today. It would be futile to hope that this post managed to lower the circulation of these chain mails, though. After all, there’s always the chance that disfigured knife-wielding ghosts will appear floating next to your bed in the middle of the night to kill you because you didn’t annoy enough living people with your chain mails, regardless of what I say. (:

Interruptions

I positively hate to be interrupted. It cannot be helped. I do not think anybody enjoys having all the effort they’ve put into composing and uttering their sentences wasted because somebody who is otherwise neurologically intact has such a short memory span that he can’t hold what he’s about to say in his mind for more than ten seconds.

Granted, I don’t put much effort into composing my sentences; they mostly just flow out. But I do put plenty of effort into uttering my sentences, especially since I’ve had a stammer since I was 8! If you had a lack of fluency so severe that stall owners ask you if you can speak Chinese when you try to tell them that you want to buy a packet of Twisties in the void deck, especially since your proficiency in the two languages has been more or less equal since you were 6, would you enjoy having people barge in halfway through your sentences to ask the person who is listening to you about yesterday’s Maths homework?

Like I say in debate speeches, that question was meant to be rhetorical, but some people might have a different answer. You could say that the person might want to say something important. But I am not in the habit of creating 100-word sentences longer than Primary One compositions. Unless it is a matter of life and death, can’t you wait five more seconds for me to finish what I’m trying to say before barging in with your urgent question about negative numbers? Wouldn’t interrupting me while I’m valiantly trying to force a word out of my throat only make me take longer to finish my sentence?

You could say that I should be able to finish my sentence after the interruption. That’s easier said than done. Unless you have been literate and articulate since the age of two but suddenly unable to get five-word strings out without pausing since the second year of primary school, you have no idea what it is like to have the effort it takes to expel a sentence from the mouth brushed aside like so much worthless junk.

I am not trying to look for sympathy. I am merely saying that it is basic courtesy not to interrupt other people while they are talking, especially if those people are obviously finding it difficult to utter a coherent sentence without punctuating it with ill-timed pauses!

I especially hate it when somebody interrupts me during my sentence and then makes a big show of getting me to calm down. If you want me to calm down, stop putting my clauses asunder! Stop cutting my sentences into pieces and making them even more pause-filled than they already are! Stop making me look like I’m making a mountain out of a molehill when you are the one intent on blocking my path with obstacles wherever I go!

I do not mind you finishing my sentence for me if I am trying to convey a simple message without success. If I am trying to tell you that I am going to walk to the rubbish bin to discard my food packaging, but I get stuck on “rubbish”, there is no harm in your putting a stop to the wastage of valuable recess time by filling in the rest of the sentence for me, especially if my meaning is obvious. What I cannot stand is the hijacking of my airtime by other people who obviously don’t have stammering problems and who couldn’t care less about the difficulty I’m facing in getting my message across.

Here’s an example of what usually happens:

Me: “I…I’m going to walk to the -”

Other Person to Listener: “What homework was there yesterday? Was the Maths due today?”

My message gets completely lost in this exchange, because the listener has no idea what I’m going to walk to – the washroom? the classroom? – and diverts her attention to answering the Other Person’s questions about homework instead. By the time she’s finished telling the Other Person about homework, she’s probably forgotten that I even opened my mouth to talk in the first place. I’m certainly not going to sit there clutching my food packaging during the whole exchange, so I walk off and am perceived as rude for abandoning a conversation. We are sitting at the 113 class table. Aren’t there plenty of other people you can ask who aren’t already in a conversation?

I positively hate this obnoxious behaviour. I do not mind if the interruption involves few actual words but little more than a gesture and a nod, but having to put my sentence on hold to accommodate your irrepressible need to know when yesterday’s homework was due is an imposition. I only acquiesce because I do not wish to cause a squabble over something perceived to be trivial by other people who can speak fluently, and because I do not wish to be perceived as petty. But that doesn’t give you the right to continue presuming my transparency.

Heavy-handed lumbering

I’m sorry for not blogging about school, but that’s not the main point now. I am maintaining the anonymity of everyone in this post by not mentioning names or identifying details beyond schools, and I trust that my commenters will have the courtesy not to identify those involved. There, now you can’t accuse me of defamation. (And if you insist on speculating wildly and projecting this post onto yourself, any resulting negative feelings/hysteria/mental breakdown are/is not my responsibility. Thank you.)

I hate heavy-handed lumbering into other people’s affairs.

I hate it more than I hate bad grammar and twitting and stupidity. (Although stupidity comes a close second.) I cannot stand it when other people interfere with things that are quite frankly none of their business and force the parties affected to live by rules enacted by those who do not have the benefit of any perspective beyond that of the voyeur surreptitiously peeking into a drama in someone else’s apartment using a periscope constructed from materials bought at a primary school science fair.

I cannot stand it when people jump to conclusions based on evidence so minuscule as to be virtually nonexistent and implement policies based on what they think is the bird’s-eye view. I cannot stand it when they pretend to be authorities on the subject when they have virtually no information to go by. I cannot stand it when their actions affect those actually involved, those who know much better than the “authorities” do but who are forced to obey the rules of the uninformed self-appointed legislators.

It’s surprising, really, how people can overestimate their information in this manner. You could have nothing more than a scrap of information scavenged from somebody’s half-eaten meal, but armed with this mindset you could fancy yourself omniscient. And only deities are omniscient, so your next actions will obviously be made from a pedestal among the clouds.

It is like switching on the television halfway through a show. You won’t understand what’s going on. Jumping to your feet and moralising about the plot would only interrupt everybody else’s viewing experience. You would also look stupid as the plot unfolds and you are proven to have been more wrong than the people who said that if you went too far in one direction during a journey around the world, you’d fall off the edge. But it wouldn’t really bother you, would it? Just as long as you managed to blast a hole through the TV with the flames of moral indignation and thoroughly ruin everyone’s day.

Myopia, blindness, condescending interference, call it what you will. The fact remains that you need more than a few crumbs of information caught under the table of the truly informed to make a decision that will affect other people’s lives. To make judgments with profound ramifications on other people without weighing more than a tiny scrap of data that barely moves the needle on the scale and that needs tons of bias to weigh the scale down is indefensible. No matter what.

Apologies

My apologies for leaving my blog to gather dust for three weeks.

I think the recent tendency to photograph every public infraction and post it on STOMP is absolutely ridiculous. Very few posts are even remotely newsworthy; most are examples of garden-variety inconsideration that could have been settled at the scene, some are pointless paranoia (“I wonder if it’s legal to bring a strong laser pointer into Singapore?” is one example I’ve seen before) and some have dubious intentions.

One example of a pointless, overblown post with severe consequences is this. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that their version of the story was correct. In that case, wouldn’t they have been humiliated and punished for nothing, all because one person couldn’t resist taking photographs of them and putting them on the Internet instead of asking them to stop at the scene?

Let’s see what happens if their story was untrue. My question is, would posting this online solve anything? Was it necessary to stamp out this behaviour? The poster was obviously capable of using language to communicate with the parties at the scene to request a stop to the behaviour he perceived as inappropriate, so why didn’t he use it? Without even trying that, the most basic step in stopping this “unsightly” behaviour, he skipped two steps ahead, omitting even reporting their behaviour to the school, but jumping straight to posting a photograph of their actions on the Internet. Was that necessary, or was it merely an indefensible example of inconsideration far exceeding anything they did that day, since the poster had not thought about the fact that it would affect them so severely?

This is one of the more severe cases. Another case involved a boy raising funds for either his school or charity (it was quite long ago) who was seen taking a 20-cent coin out of the tin. Unfortunately, the poster involved was the kind who just couldn’t resist taking pictures of any and all perceived infractions and posting them online for all to see. And what was the result? The alleged theft turned out to be playing with the coins because of boredom. Apparently the poster, so eager to photograph the infraction, had not noticed him putting the coin back afterwards. Unfortunately, because of somebody’s enthusiasm about blowing an inconsequential act of boredom out of proportion, the school had to get involved. Why? Because the boy had been bored. Do we really need an entire website, or a section of a website if you want to be picky, devoted to such nonsense?

The pointless articles about people hogging seats with bags or not giving up their seats also fall into the category of nonsense, although they certainly cause less severe consequences. Such inane posts are utterly pointless, because they are nothing but whining after the fact. Inconsideration is bad. We get the point. But why didn’t you confront the person at the scene? If you were sitting, why didn’t you offer your own seat? Why did you choose to delay the whining and impassioned social commentary until it was too late for your words to affect the situation?

And what about nonsense such as this? Three students had been playing cards on the MRT, an activity that is not proscribed by any authorities, other than self-appointed ones. But it was theoretically possible that there was a rule against playing cards on the MRT, a rule completely invisible in comparison to the much-publicised regulations regarding eating, drinking and smoking, just like it is theoretically possible that when I left my history notes in class during a trip to the washroom, somebody stole them, replaced them with a brand-new exercise book and wrote false information in my handwriting. In that scenario, however, I do not choose to post my suspicions on the Internet complete with a photograph. The poster in this case appears to think otherwise. Despite admitting to having nothing more than curiosity about whether playing cards on public transport was allowed, he posted their photograph online anyway. Who cares that there’s at least a 50% chance they’re innocent? Other commuters, most of whom are at least twice the age of these students, might be so impressionable that they do the same! Never mind that there’s nothing actually wrong with that.

The poster mentioned nothing the students had done that he knew to be wrong. The students had not been throwing cards around. The students had not been putting cards on the floor to watch commuters slip. The students had not been using a seat as a table on which to leave their cards while playing. The only reason for the post was the poster’s ignorance disguised as curiosity, but for some reason that was enough to justify humiliating three innocent students on the Web and leaving permanent records of their actions online when their actions hadn’t even been worthy of comment in the first place.

Of course, although such rubbish tends to dominate the articles posted, there are also genuine grievances such as foreign objects in food (how do you get a roll of masking tape in your food?). One example is this. In this case, the woman’s actions were genuinely inexcusable and caused real inconvenience, and the poster was not an outsider poking his nose into somebody else’s business; the poster was genuinely inconvenienced and endangered by the woman’s insistence on occupying the wheelchair slot with luggage.

Such articles, however, are few and far between, lost in the onslaught of inane rubbish about seat-hogging commuters and things that are simply other people’s business. What is the purpose of this portal anyway? I do not think it was created to allow users to police society for infractions of their personal moral code and lord over everyone else in their pompous self-righteousness. I think that one important function it is supposed to serve is to remind society of the existence of inconsideration and inappropriate behaviour and of the need to stop it. But when we reach the point of saturation, the point of diminishing returns, the point at which individual articles about seat-hogging and impassioned social commentary about students on public transport cease to make any meaningful impact on society, how can we say that the purpose of the portal is being served? Don’t such actions simply turn STOMP into a vehicle for exacting revenge, a website devoted to the perpetration of acts that would be called cyberbullying and voyeurism in any other context but that of self-righteous moral pontification?

First day of school

I don’t think I slept more than a few hours on the night before the first day of school. I went to bed at eleven, but I couldn’t fall asleep; instead, I was trapped in sleepless consciousness until the light was switched on and I was called out of bed at half-past five.

After getting out of bed, I changed into the PE shirt and culottes before going to eat my breakfast. After my morning routine was complete, I went down to get onto the school bus at 6.25, because we had been told that it would arrive at half-past six.

Unfortunately, this information had been wrong, and I had actually held everyone on the bus back by five minutes. My apologies, everyone!

On the bus, I occupied myself with mental replaying of debates and flame wars, as well as with thoughts of additional sentences I should have appended to my final post on my LEAD blog before it was wiped out as a result of my graduation. Soon, we arrived at the school.

The area near the entrance (I’m not actually sure what this is called) was filled with students milling around in happiness and confusion. I could identify most of the Secondary One students, because all the others were in the normal school uniform rather than in their PE shirts and culottes. However, some of the aforementioned Secondary One students hadn’t gotten the message printed on the schedules given to us during CCAO and were in the normal school uniform like the seniors.

After a while, I realised that many Secondary One students were crowding around a bulletin board on which the class lists had been pasted. I walked to the board. After failing to spot my name on the back of the board with 101 to 106 or 107 (I think), I walked to the front of the board and spotted my name on the 113 list. I counted seven other people I knew in my class, although I could have counted wrongly in my early-morning haze.

We flooded into the parade square (?) and sat in our classes. Since 113 was the last class, I sat at the extreme right of the parade square. The principal gave a speech welcoming us into the school and the seniors back into the school.

After assembly, we had quite a few talks. I enjoyed the principal’s talk the most.

After the talks, we had recess, I think. I couldn’t resist the temptation to buy some snacks from the snack stall.

After recess, my friend and I got lost for a while, because we were unsure where to go. We ended up sneaking into the history talk about ten minutes late. Fortunately we were in the last class and didn’t have to walk around the darkened room to locate our class.

After the talk, we went up to class! I think I know how to get to my classroom from the canteen, despite my poor sense of direction (this is an understatement). We met our form teacher and our PSLs, and we played orientation games. A lot of memory work was involved, as we had to memorise each other’s names, and we hadn’t yet gotten our name badges (I think ours are red). When we played “Blow, Wind, Blow”, and characteristics I exhibited kept getting called, I skidded around in my socks and ended up falling ungracefully on the floor.

After this, we went to the hall to learn cheers and the orientation song. There was also a long CCA talk that was virtually identical to the one we’d gotten at CCAO. After this, there were talks about the Regional Studies Programme.

At about 4, we were dismissed, but six of us went to NYPS for a reunion. After that, I went home with my mother in a taxi.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!