Updates

I could not find a better title because this entry is going to be quite miscellaneous — chaotic, messy, disorderly, whatever — but, who cares what title I have used? The above title is as good as ‘untitled’ but let’s just move on from here.

It’s been four months since the last entry. Many changes, subtle and minute they might seem, have taken place. The most obvious is my photos. I no longer do daily casual photography with iPhone. I no longer shoot school events with my Canon EOS 7D — in fact, I sold all my DSLR stuff, large or small, within a fortnight. Instead, I use my new Olympus O-MD E-M1 for both purposes. The sensor may be small but the image quality delivered by the superb lenses is impressive. And it is so much more compact than DSLRs of the same level. Surprisingly I started to shoot in manual mode, which I kept avoiding on my DSLR. I also started to pay more attention to aspect ratios, depth of field and compositions. I used to resist electronic viewfinders, but with E-M1, I realised how useful an EVF can be. There are many features that I enjoy on my new toy, but that is not the focus here.

I took part in a political gathering for the first time ever in my life. On 1st October, I went to Hong Lim Park to join ‘Singapore in Solidarity with Hong Kong‘. Thanks to my being outside the Mainland China, I could voice my opinions and take my stand (relatively) freely; thanks to my being a Singapore citizen, it was legal for me to join such gathering at Hong Lim Park. Most of my friends, Chinese or Singaporeans, have been against the student movement. It has been difficult for me to discuss with them on this matter.

I also tried shaving my head for one month. Artificial baldness was in fact my means to disguise natural baldness, as my hair had been increasingly thin since two years ago. Quite a number of friends told me that baldness made me look much older than my already very old looking usual self. So I stopped shaving around 10 days ago. Now my hair is back, as well as that natural baldness.

I purchased a new domain and server, and set up this independent blog (yet again). This is the first entry on the new site, more than one month after it was set up; the older posts were imported from my wordpress.com site, which still exists but will not be updated. In fact I wanted to set up an online shop, but could not make up my mind on what to sell. I also wanted to write on Chinese language education, but my writing have really deteriorated. Maybe this space will eventually become my own cloud storage.

The haze has been harassing Singapore for two months and I do not know when it will leave us. There were some thunderstorms recently (very late compared with ‘normal’ years) and the PSI fluctuated accordingly; but it will stay high unless the origin is under control — which I doubt will be done by the Indonesian authority.

I applied to transfer to another school. To make sure that I would be able to get out of my current school, I changed my address to Bukit Panjang right before the application period began. The outcome will be announced next week, and I wish I can be posted to the only new school in Bukit Panjang. My current school is my first school after graduating from NIE, and more than once I pictured myself growing old with her; I like my colleagues here, and I love my kids even more; it took me three years to click that button. The decision was difficult to make, but once it was made, everything just followed: I found myself a room in Bukit Panjang, I changed my address, I gave much more to my pupils as I would not see them next year, I planned my CCA activities so that the next teacher can carry on next year, and I am now ready for the announcement.

Talking about the reasons to leave my current school, well, they are not complicated. My pedagogies have not been improved on during my stay in this school, while I learned too much about administration and other non-teaching related procedures. I came to the profession with good passion and enthusiasm, but the leadership and management of this school have frozen my passion and dispersed my enthusiasm. I saw flaws in the system but my words were worthless; I sensed the school going to terminate herself but they put their effort in wrong places. I do not want to accuse absolute corruption as I have no proof, but absolute power is visible and is being used inappropriately; without checks and balances, power can only do harm and no good.

Just as the entry did not begin with a proper title, it will not end with a proper conclusion.

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