Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

Just some live examples.

A leader of an organisation criticised some job interviewees at an internal meeting.

…They boasted how experienced and capable they had been… They thought so highly of themselves and talked of commendations and positive appraisals… They knew no humility! A professional must have some humility…

Then, the leader started boasting.

…As your role model, I graciously accepted the difficult job assigned to me… I stepped out of my comfort zones and came forward… My supervisors had never had to tell me what to do… They told me, ‘you are competent, I don’t need to worry about your performance.’ These are not my words. I don’t praise myself…

At another meeting, some members of the staff were late. This leader started preaching.

…I have been watching the clock. You are late for 2 minutes. Highly unprofessional! You need to have better sense of time, or your colleagues must wait for you! Unacceptable…

On the second day, the organisation held a camp. This leader needed to officially open a campfire at 8pm. At 8pm, everything was ready, and the staff waited patiently for the leader to appear. The leader came at 8.15pm, and happily preached on professionalism for another 15 minutes, before lighting the campfire at 8.30pm. No apologies were offered.

The leader often boasts on keeping promises.

…I mean what I say. I keep my promises. How about you?…

A couple among the staff applied for 3 days of marriage leave. The leader granted two days, and the third day under the condition of finishing all their work before the leave. The couple finished their work two days in advance. The leader then assigned one more task to the couple. The couple diligently completed it within one day. But the third day of the leave was still not approved, and yet another task was assigned, specially requested to complete on site on the third day. The groom went to ask the leader. The leader said,

…I did not promise the third day! I told you you should finish your work if you want to take the third day of the leave. Now you have another task to finish. And I want you to do it here in the organisation and not at home….

This is how promises are kept.

The leader always reminds the staff to do some reflection and soul searching. Hopefully this leader can do some reflection and soul searching as well?

随笔集

少年时颇有成为文学家的理想,因此曾写过许多随笔。崇拜鲁迅,也曾用“鲁再迅”笔名在校报发表过杂文和诗歌。但也仅此而已。后来学业繁重,随笔集束之高阁,没有再碰。进入互联网时代,文学家之梦在文学论坛苟延残喘数载,然后呜呼哀哉,不了了之。

那时候的随笔,大约相当于现在的博客。我刚开始写博客的时候,也是怀着与写随笔时同样的热情来写的。但是随笔和博客毕竟有一个很大的区别。随笔,除非出版,否则读者只要自己或三五好友;博客的读者,除了认识的朋友,也往往有不请自来的过客。写随笔的时候只为自己直抒胸臆,写博客的时候则往往要顾及读者,在中国网站上写博客时还要注意自我审查。用笔写字,基本不受干扰,我手写我心;电脑打字,屏幕上的各种信息,文本编辑器的各种功能,甚至中文输入法的选字栏,无一不是干扰的来源。因此,写博客的时候,往往没有写随笔的畅快感。

多年前,母亲初学电脑,用我的随笔集做打字练习。不知不觉,也输入了五十五则。二十余年前的文字,如今读来,未免幼稚可笑。然而毕竟是曾经的心血,也便不免敝帚自珍,所以也就存在电脑里,偶尔拿出来自恋一番。自然,我是不敢复制粘贴到这里贻笑大方的。

A Nation of Noise

There are many countries qualified to this title. Singapore, unthinkable 20 years ago, is now one of them. Compared to two decades ago, the noise now is not only louder but also more prevalent.

Who contribute to the noise? The people. The people everywhere. Who are these people? They are locals and foreigners, old and young, male and female, highly educated and illiterate, happy and sad, intentional and oblivious. We, the citizens of the Noisy Country, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion… People nowadays seem to be constantly broadcasting themselves, in fear of not being heard by the whole world.

There is hardly any place in Singapore where you would not find unbearable noise surrounding you. On the bus, in a shopping mall, along a street, in a park, by the beach, in a food court, even in a library — there would always be people talking and laughing so loudly that you might just want to shut them up forcefully.

Whenever I hear a sudden laughter or some simultaneous human talking voices in an inappropriate situation, I cannot help thinking of Japan, England and Switzerland, where the people know when to be loud and when not to. Talking is a human right. Being free from noise is a human right too. There should be places where you can talk and laugh to your heart’s content, while you do not need to do so elsewhere so that other people, people who do not like loud conversations or merriment, can live their life peacefully.

This entry was started in a noisy food court and finished on a noisy bus.

My First Ambulance Call

I had never imagined that one day I would call an ambulance for a painful foot.

At first it was the mild discomfort resulted from an exhausting 13 km jog (mixed with walking) on a Sunday morning. That afternoon saw a slightly reddened first toe joint on my right foot. I didn’t pay much attention because it happened many times.

On the following day, 13 June, Darling and I went to Legoland as planned. I applied medical ointment and bandaged the toe before I left home. At Legoland, I took off the bandage because it felt uncomfortable. It was mildly painful throughout the day.

The condition persisted for another two days. The joint became swollen on 16 June. Since I could not join Darling for jogging, I brought my Brompton to cycle alongside. Then we went to Changi Airport. The joint suddenly became seriously painful there, perhaps due to excessive exercise.

So I decided to go to Ho Hong Meng Chinese Physician and Acupuncture Centre at Tampines, which I had trusted for long time.

One day after the treatment, the joint was no longer swollen. But because I could not assert force on the toes, my body weight was mainly on the ankle, and that led to a painful right ankle on the following day, 18 June. I did the usual stuff: medical ointment, bandage, massage.

On the morning of 19 June, it felt a bit better, but still had great pain when walking. On the afternoon, however, it suddenly worsened. I could not walk without Darling’s help. Darling suggested we should go to see a doctor. After Darling helped — almost carried — me to the void deck, I realised that I could not make it even to the street to take a cab. So I asked Darling to help me buy some Salonpas patches. The patches were working, but once I started walking again, I almost collapsed.

Ambulance was the next logical option. Since it was not an emergency, I did not call 995 for SCDF but 1777 for private ambulance. I was in the ambulance after some 40 minutes of waiting.

This was the first time I called an ambulance and the first time I was in the ambulance as a patient. It was quite old and shaky. I held Darling’s hand, which gave me lots of comfort and warmth.

We arrived at A&E of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital at Jurong East. The ambulance cost S$150, cash only. We did not have so much cash. Darling had to go to IMM to withdraw money to pay for it.

While she was away, I tried to go to the toilet in a wheelchair. Although I had no problem navigating, I could not open the door. An old gentleman helped me. After using the toilet, I attempted to open the door from inside but failed. The same gentleman came to help me and pushed me to the waiting area.

After the initial examination by a nurse, Darling tried to push me to a wheelchair spot near the consultation rooms. A gentleman came to help us when he saw we had problems.

After almost two hours of waiting, we entered the consultation room. The doctor asked me the same questions that the nurse asked two hours before, and he said my ankle pain should be due to mild gout. He decided the five steps of treatment: blood test, to check kidney function; painkiller, both injection (Tramadol) and tablets (Suniton); lowering blood pressure; X-ray, to check my ankle joints; gout tablet (Colchicine).

My kidney function was normal. Like a few years back, Losartan worked well on me, lowering my blood pressure significantly. The painkiller injection and tablets  relieved much of the pain, but still I could not walk without assistance. The X-ray showed my ankle joints to be normal.

I requested to buy a pair of crutches. This was the second time I used crutches. The last time I used them, I borrowed from a clinic.

The doctor offered me medical certificate of three days, and prescribed Losartan (for hypertension), Colchicine (for gout), Suniton (for pain).

When we were waiting in front of the pharmacy, I felt a bit feverish. Darling touched my forehead and said it did warm up. It might be a side effect of the drugs. Darling went to look for the doctor but could not find him, but a nurse attended to me. Another nurse checked my body temperature and it was 37.2℃, half degree higher than usual, but it was not a fever.

We collected the medicine, made the payment. A nurse pushed me to the taxi stand. It was almost midnight and the taxi stand was empty. I requested a taxi through ComfortDelGo app and soon we were in a taxi back home.

Kindness

More than often, people shared chicken-soup-for-souls stories with me. One of the themes is it pays to be kind. In some extreme cases, the horrendously obviously made up stories tell how a kind person did small deeds of kindness and eventually the receiving ends of those deeds saved his or her life.

Of course it’s good and noble to be kind. But these stories focus on the benefit of being kind, and try to educate — or rather, entice — readers to be kind. That’s totally wrong: charitable people are kind not because kindness is profitable but because it is the right thing to do.

Another question is, should we save one’s life only because the poor soul had been kind to us? If it were a total stranger who had not done anything nice to us, and we had all the power and ability to save this stranger, shouldn’t we save him or her all the same?

Why should the authors of these stories treat good deeds as some kind of deals and trading? Why should we not be kind for a higher purpose than being helped in return? Are we so shallow-minded that we need such dear incentives to be kind? Why would people be touched and inspired by such nonsense, and pass it onto others still?

My problem is not with kind acts. A kind act, no matter what the actor’s motive is, is a kind act. My problem is with the ways those stories promote kind acts. It’s pure atrocity committed to humanity that kindness becomes a means and not the purpose itself.

2015 Review

I have survived the first year in the new school. There have been a lot of setbacks, mistakes, anguish, anger, stress and annoyance; but at the same time I have also enjoyed good comradeship and friendship with the new colleagues, found my new strength as a lower primary teacher, seen myself as an educator with more confidence. I have been much critical of some leadership issues in the school, as I always am in any bureaucracy; that is in my nature and unlikely will be changed.

I made my first intercontinental trip to London, UK, the No. 1 destination in my list; then I went to Kyoto, Japan, the No. 2 in the list. I enjoyed myself in these two historic cities, while mourning for the ever thinning wallet.

I have also found my true love after 12 years of loneliness. It is an unusual relationship: slow to build up, fast to peak, intense, passionate and yet invisible to many. Now I can’t live without her, nor can I easily bear the seemingly long emptiness if we were to part for more than one day. The mutual acceptance and love make us ever so close together.

Things happened lightning fast in 2015, be it good or bad. It is a difficult year, but it is also surely my best year.

In 2016, I’ll try to work better (not necessarily harder) and survive the second year in the school without much regret. I’ll also propose to my love, and I wish she would accept it.

Wish everything will be fine.

夜琴

钢琴曲悄悄流淌在暗夜的空气里,带着轻轻的忧伤,却不动声色,让人以为那只是一种温存。但是我却在床上坐了起来。那些本该褪色模糊的往事,那些与今日已然全无关联的躁动,那些枕边看不着摸不到却实实在在流过的泪,全部触手可及。

是二十年前吗?我的心也如此不安分地跳动着。分不清恐惧还是焦急,辨不明兴奋或者烦躁,就这么心跳加速,就这么睁着眼睛看时间从鼻尖前的虚空流过。也许是饥饿,也许是咖啡因,也许只是一时一地一人一事,作祟的不知为何,搅动死水的难分因缘。

我似乎忘了自己已非少年。我忘了青涩的抑或华丽的梦想在此刻毫无意义。这一场黑夜仿佛一个阴谋,让时间回拨二十年,让空间瞬移千万里。我躺在那张床上,收音机里传出钢琴曲。窗帘飞动,对面的霓虹灯照进已熄灯的房里,在地砖上映出忽明忽灭的五彩之光。朦胧之间有一刹那的恍惚,又幻化作琴声消失于空气中。

我到底身在何处何时?光阴虚设,重洋乌有,彼时此时,此岸彼岸,风起风去,花开花落,不可细想,难以言喻,何堪思量。正如这夜里的钢琴声,托着我心小小的悸动在房间里弥漫开来,并不曾计较时空与人事。

无泪可流,有心难伤。夜琴虽易醉,独坐到天明。