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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Breaking Out of Sisyphus' Punishment

I received great news today via Facebook messaging from a Mommy. To know more about this child, read...

(1) HERE
(2) and HERE

Anyway, the Facebook exchange below says it all. The white bubbles are the mom's messages. The blue bubbles are mine.

The boy scored 30/40 in 2014 SA2 Primary 5.

32/40 was highest in class.

He had scored below 24/40 in 2013 SA2 Primary 4.

He had improved to 26/40 in May this year (2014). In view of the fact that the schools raise the standards steeply between P4 SA2 and P5 SA2, this child had caught up with and surpassed the jump in standard to be able to pull in a much higher absolute score between P4 and P5.

Readers must note that Dr Pet cannot perform magic. I see the children 1.5 hours a week. If children produce sloppy HW week after week because parents are unable to supervise (i.e., no time or don't think they are able to) and ensure quality of HW, the children do not improve even after 18 months. 

Yes, I did have children like that.

Dr Pet can advise or coach parents what to do. If parents disagree, don't know how or don't have time, I am ineffective. I don't perform magic. I practise research-based strategies that require a tight partnership between parent and myself. At the foundation of this partnership, is trust in my competence and sincerity. If that is not there, I am also ineffective.

I am not able to go to the child's house and ensure that HW is properly done, but I can advise/coach parents how to ensure that. For my approach to work, parents need to be involved in ways guided by me.

These results don't come about because of Dr Pet alone. Half the credit must go to this Mommy. There has been tears and frustration. For her, it must have felt like Sisyphus' punishment. I am so happy for this Mommy because I saw how she suffered. If you had read my previous blogposts on Little T, this Mommy's son is nobody's joke. He is one of the most intelligent boys I know (he is the only one who thinks fast enough to NOT antagonise the gifted kids), and is thus correspondingly naughty.

Congratulations Mommy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Should I Feel Insulted?

At the teochew muay place down the road, I can get lunch for between $2 and $3.50.  It is $3.50 if I order a double portion of braised pork. Their steamed fish head is really good but once you order that, the bill balloons to $12.

I usually go for the $3.50 portion with double portion of braised pork because I need to be on a high protein diet.

For an unfathomable reason, the man serving the food made a remark that sent me to bed after lunch in tears. For the life of me, I cannot understand why any service provider would set out to insult a customer in such a personal way. So, I have decided that he was errr... trying to be friendly?

The fellow told me, "Why you always order double portion meat? 
Eat so much! Do you work or not? 
If you don't have a job, you should not order so much to eat."

That is very insulting, don't you think? 

I Do Work
I mean, I do work. Sort of. I work from home because my health often means that I am not fit to travel about nor even to meet people. I can mark student work in bed (or write curriculum in bed) but imagine facilitating a meeting from my bed. I mean, Steve Jobs did that but that's Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs bends reality. 

Currently, my work allows me to psyche myself up to appear normal on Saturday afternoon when the children come for class. Even then, on one occasion, I almost fainted on my own staircase. So, I need a job where people don't see me often. The strength of my online persona belies the frailty of my physical self.

But the fact still is that I do work. I have never really stopped working. Even as I homeschooled Smelly Boy in primary school, I taught part-time at either this or that university. Today, I make enough money to buy my own dresses, wallets and faux leather handbags without asking my husband to foot the bill. I make enough to pay staff well. Once in a while, I can afford to give money away to causes that I hold dear (like Thai elephants, mongrel dogs and Smelly Boy's school). Occasionally, I even take my husband out to dinner. I also pay for the online fish, meat and vegetables that I order for family meals.

So, it was a small matter to correct the ummm... Odious Male Chauvinist (OMC) serving me, that I do work.

Me: I do work.

OMC: Really? You're bluffing.

Me (interior monologue): What the @#$&@#?!
Me (aloud): No, really. I do work.

OMC: But you don't look like you work... you come here at 11.15am mostly (Good grief! The fella tracks my timing!) and companies don't have that sort of lunch hour.

Me: I have my own business. So, my time is flexible.

Still Insulted
Yet, I was mortally wounded in my heart. The OMC saw value only in my Paid Work. In one sentence, he completely negated the value of the UNPaid Work that I have been performing for 2 decades. Smelly Boy had no tuition. I taught him myself - 4 subjects. Shall we price that at $2000/mth? Crispy roast pork belly and ciabatta bread do not appear on the dining table by magic. How much are chefs paid? I steam clean the airconditioners every week. How much are aircon technicians paid for servicing? How about feasibility studies for investments? How much are analysts paid? 

I should be paid for all the above and more because...

... any stay at home mom reading this can add on to the list of tasks, small and big that are quietly taken care of. I am the Lee family in-house brownie (also called an ùruisg, a fairy creature that offers invisible help around a Scottish manor house). When I am around, milk appears by magic in the fridge. So too do créme brulées. Sometimes, a Baker Talent's butter boom materialises (just like that) in front of Smelly Boy, enveloped in a golden aura. That's me too. I heal wounds with a kiss. I mend broken hearts on my lap. I turn insomnia into sleepiness with just one hug. Dust bunnies flee at the sight of me. Indeed, an entire 3-storey house came into being by a single flourish of my magic wand. No dear... money alone is not enough to build a 3-storey house. Magic is also required.

I have not yet told you how I deal with illnesses like... 
(1) flus
You see, I merely twitch my nose and all these pathogens pack their bags and leave the host body. Sometimes, I give them a baleful stare and that is all it takes. It is magic! It requires no work at all! It requires no specialised knowledge nor skill (apart from knowing how to wave a wand). What do doctors pay themselves? A great deal apparently, if you look at the picture below. Perhaps I should charge $75 for each wave of my wand.

Forgotten and Disrespected
When a salary is banked into a bank account, it is a monthly testimony of what a person is worth. When your work attracts no salary, then you are worth nothing too. Anyway, after crying into my pillow and clawing deep and bloody lacerations on The Husband's exposed flesh, I am over it.

It reflects more on OMC than on me. I am who I am. I am worth more than the money I make. If people don't see that, God does.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Help Your Child Work Independently

“My child can do no work unless I am next to him!”

“Why can’t my child do work properly without me?!”

This realization dawns on many parents after many years of sitting with their little children to get homework done. Then comes the frustration of weaning the children away from parental presence and parental supervision.

So, how does this reliance develop? What can be done to prevent this reliance? These are the questions this article will attempt to answer.

How Does This Reliance Develop?
Psychological Dependence is defined “as an emotional need for a drug or substance that has no underlying physical need. For example, people who stop smoking recover physically in a short time. The emotional need for nicotine, however, is much more difficult to overcome. They continually think they need the nicotine to stay calm even though there is no physical need. The drug for the addict is similar to what a security blanket would be for a child (or some adults).” This definition was taken from HERE.

Of course, a parent is not a drug nor a substance. A parent is more like a security blanket, especially for a child faced with stacks and stacks of unpleasant homework.

The seeds of a dependency are sown in Primary 1. In Primary 1, parents think nothing of sitting next to their children to get homework done. In Primary 1 (or below) parents are there to ensure that the little tots don’t get up and run about. This fulfills a physical need. It also fulfills an emotional need. Just like in nicotine addiction, parental presence fulfills a physical need and an emotional need.

Older children are quite capable of sitting still. They don’t need parents to ensure they physically sit down. However, the emotional need for the parent’s physical presence does not go away. This is like a rehabilitated smoker no longer physically dependent on nicotine, but who still experiences an emotional need to hold a cigarette.

It just feels so right to be holding that cigarette between the lips or fingers. It just feels so right to have Mommy sitting next to me when I do my homework. It feels wrong when Mommy isn’t there. I feel restless and fidgety… like an ex-smoker without a cigarette in hand.

What Can Be Done To Prevent This Reliance?

Do not sit next to your child from Day 1 in Primary 1.

Seat your child face to a wall. Ensure there are no distracting movements to the left and right of the child’s visual field. Ensure that there are no distracting noises. The child is in a sort of bubble of his own.

Sit 3m to 5m BEHIND your child. Make yourself comfortable. Read your iPad. Watch Youtube. Work on your laptop. Cut your carrots. Do your knitting or sewing.

Your child cannot see you. You can see your child. When you do this, you remove yourself from the child’s visual field. Yet, you are still there to ensure that the child does his work diligently. Your child does not have a chance to get used to SEEING you next to him.

This is a precursor to working independently.

For the little ones who cannot focus for long periods, give them short feedback loops: enough work to last 5 minutes. Then, require them to bring it over to show you. Praise them and send them back for the next loop. DO NOT walk over to where they are. They walk over to you. There are 2 reasons for this. Firstly, physical movement (i.e., walking to you) is a welcome relief to a child facing a mound of work. Secondly, you must always stay outside their visual field.

Gradually, as your children grow older and better able to physically sit still, you expand the envelope of time. Give them work that lasts 10 minutes before they come and show you. Lengthen that to 15 minutes… and eventually to an hour. Please note that I did not write “Tell the child to work for 5 minutes or 10 minutes or an hour.” I wrote “Give them work that lasts 10 minutes… 5 minutes… an hour.” See the table below for examples of such work…

5 minutes
Come and show me after every 1 sum.
10 minutes
Come and show me after every 2 sums.
15 minutes
Come and show me after every 3 sums.
20 minutes
Come and show me after every 4 sums.

Be the time your child has been trained to focus for an hour (without you in sight), there are high chances that some time within that hour, the child is too engrossed in his task to feel your presence behind him.

If you move quietly, you might be able to scoot off to the kitchen to get yourself a vodka martini, and then come back. Your child might not even know. If he does know, he is not focusing deeply enough. In that case, give your child a pair of earphones that will play soft ambient music into his ears. This will really ensure that your child has no physical way to detect your presence in the room.

In short, you can detect your child’s presence. Your child has no way to detect your presence, and thus, will never grow reliant on it.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

New Chua Kee Restaurant, Gelang Patah

Best black pepper crab I have ever had... flesh is succulent and sweet... and fills the shell. Very meaty crabs. This restaurant has very good suppliers and a definite core competence in crab selection.

Salted Egg Tofu (the tofu is made in-house)

Lohan Zai

Parrot fish steamed Teochew style

New Chua Kee Restaurant
17 to 19, Jalan Nusaria 4/6, Taman Nusa Tara, 81550 Gelang Patah, Johor

We paid only $11/person. The parrot fish came as a shock. The lady recommended a fish with a Hokkien name. Since I am not exactly very conversant in Hokkien, I just said OK. It was fresh but I don't think I will eat parrot fish again. It is too pretty to be eaten.

The tofu was a treat. I haven't eaten salted egg anything for a long while. Salted egg anything is usually cooked with a crispy coating made of flour, which will give me diarrhoea and sleepiness for about 5 days. This dish has no flour and plenty of salted egg.

The JB food quality and prices are re-making me into a food snob.

The Husband won't eat the fish I steam anymore. In contrast, he wolfs down the steamed fish at New Chua Kee. I think I need to up my fish steaming skills.

Friday, October 24, 2014

French Artisanal Goat Cheese

There is cheese and there is cheese. There are the Big Name cheeses that you find in the supermarkets which people have grown to trust because the quality is standard. These are of course HUGE manufacturing companies that have top class quality control processes. You have your Kiri, your President (the brie, the camembert and the emmental), your La Vache Qui Rit, your Babybel, your Caprice des Dieux and errrr... **shudder** the Kraft.

However, if you ask a real French foodie what the best cheeses are, he is not going to point you to these supermarket brands. He will name you the artisanal cheeses from some small and discreet producer run by people who have handed down and refined their cheese-making skills through the generations.

These are the cheeses "du terroir". It means the are specific to the locality and cannot be bought anywhere else in France. It is a bit like No One Makes Laksa Like Katong Laksa. Or, No One Can Beat the Steamed Pomfret at Ah Orh (Sin Ming). It is the difference between Toast Box laksa and Katong Laksa.

The food snobs will tell you that these are cheeses that taste of the wind, water and soil of a specific locality.

Artisanal cheeses are what get French foodies excited. So, when I saw them at La Petite Boutique, my heart skipped a beat. I know I dress like a slob and drive a beat-up car, but food... oh... whatever goes into my mouth... Let us put it this way huh? If one loved clothes, handbags and cars, there is no limit. You could lose an inheritance that way. Food... there is only so much you can fit into a stomach. Anyway, when I stared at the cheese selection at La Petite Boutique, memories came flooding back of the crémerie near my place where I stayed as a student in France. I spent many happy hours there. The proprietor threw me a challenge one day because I refused to try his blue cheese. He asked me to go in there once a week to buy 1 cheese of his choice and that before the summer arrived, I would fall in love with blue cheese.

I did. Come to think of it, what a good way to get repeat business.

In Singapore, we do not have respect for the quality provided by single proprietors who constrain quantity in order to deliver quality. Just because a service provider or a producer is small, Singaporeans assume that quality is not as good as big chains.

In fact, if you know where to look, the best products and services can often be found in discreet corners where the owner (to maintain quality of service and produce) refuses to expand because he/she considers what he/she is doing a lifelong vocation.

Think Jiro for sushi.

In Singapore, we do not appreciate quality over quantity. People eat in aircon chain restaurants where food is sometimes so poor it is close to inedible. A lot of our food is pre-prepared at centralised factories and assembled on site.

Malaysians have access to fresher and better made food at more interesting prices.

Monday, October 20, 2014

An Okay Mom

It appears that Smelly Boy's friends think I am a Cool Mom. After some probing, it appears that the other boys in Smelly Boy's class are subject to strict controls. I am cool because I am not controlling.

- Handphone controls: They are locked out of the App Store.

- Computer controls: They are not allowed near computers during exams.

- After school controls: Some are not allowed to take part in after school social activities at all. Others need to ask permission.

- Financial controls: Some are given daily cash to spend. Cash that is NOT spent that day, is taken back by the parent. Hence, the child has no discretionary spending, whatsoever.

Handphone Controls
Smelly Boy was not given access to a smart phone in primary school. He was also not allowed ANY computer games in primary school. His brain has never had a chance to develop a childhood gaming addiction. Going into secondary school, Smelly Boy was well aware of the nefarious consequences of gaming. Discreetly, I observed his gaming patterns.

Just when I was beginning to get worried, Smelly Boy lost his Samsung Galaxy smartphone. He now carries a beat-up Nokia phone which receives Whatsapp and can do nothing else. See picture below. I guess God does look out for me and my children. That which I cannot manage, I leave it to God. Somehow, He allowed for someone to steal Smelly Boy's smartphone.

Thank God.

Nobody can game with this phone.

Computer Controls
I assumed that Smelly Boy would need to do projects of all sorts in secondary school. I gave him a Macbook Air. 2 months into Year 1, Smelly Boy cracked the screen. He then had to make do with a very slow netbook (good luck gaming on that neanderthal machine) and an iPad (for word processing and Powerpoint). The family's iPads are all under Petunia's account, and I do not download any games whatsoever.

I don't play them, you see.

Again, it would seem that Providence played a part in keeping Smelly Boy safe. Obviously, God thought it dangerous for Smelly Boy to have easy access to computer games in Year 1 and Year 2.

We will be repairing the cracked screen for his Year 3 but by then, Smelly Boy has had 2 years in secondary school to experience the panoply of exciting school activities (from fund-raising, to cross-country, to techno competitions, to shooting, to football...) that I pretty much know that he will not easily be drawn into a computer game addiction.

Still, I guess I should still be vigilant.

After School Controls
I felt a tinge of guilt when Smelly Boy explained that he often did not ask me for permission to go out  with his friends for movies and meals. Gee... I thought in a small panic to myself... if he had gone and become a drug addict after school, I would not have known till too late.

So, again, I guess I just have to thank God for watching over my Smelly Boy.

Financial Controls
Smelly Boy spent very little money in primary school. He developed the habit of eating his friends' leftovers.

I used to get upset. It isn't as if Petunia cannot afford to feed Smelly Boy. Why did he have to eat his friends' leftovers? In fact, this was something The Daughter did too! She was waitressing at Sque and it disturbed her so greatly that people did not finish their perfectly delicious fries, that she ate them!! She ate the leftovers of perfect strangers!

When she told me, I was very upset indeed! I can feed you! Don't eat other people's leftovers!! That is just so yucky poo!

Anyway, Smelly Boy used to get a real kick out of the amount of money he had saved at the end of every semester. There was really no need to give him money. We would just count the number of schooldays each semester and bank the total into his account.

Once he got into secondary school, Smelly Boy's EXTREME frugality came to the fore. Petunia considers herself frugal. Compared to Smelly Boy, I actually look like a Paris Hilton. Smelly Boy would not let me order iced tea. "Mom! When they add in ice, they charge a lot more. Yet, you get a very diluted drink. They give you less drink and more ice. Don't you see?!" he explained exasperatedly.

I looked stupidly at him and then I made a mental note to myself that Petunia shall always maintain a discretionary spending account no matter how old I become. If I rely on Smelly Boy to buy me drinks in my retirement, I will probably never get to drink teh si siew tai ping again.

Yesterday, I dragged Smelly Boy and The Husband out to a Thai restaurant which charged $30/person. I was very happy after the meal, raving about the very reasonable prices for good Thai food (because Patara Fine Thai Cuisine charges $60/person). The Husband sniggered and said, "My meals usually cost $6." The Husband looked very proud of himself when Smelly Boy fixed us BOTH with a level stare and said "I eat lunch for $2.50 only. I don't believe in paying a cent more. In fact, in school, my lunch costs less than $1.50."

In conclusion, I am not going to push the issue of financial controls because Smelly Boy is more likely to control MY spending than the other way around.

An Okay Mom
I was so thrilled at being described as a Cool Mom that I went on and on and on about this singular honour that Smelly Boy decided to put a stop to my boasting. He said, "Actually, Mom. They did not say 'cool'. They said you're 'okay'. You see, there are okay moms and terrible moms. The terrible ones control everything. You're only an okay mom."

After thinking for a bit, I asked, "Hmmmm... is there anything cooler than an okay mom?"

****Looooooong pause****....  ****Roll eyes****

Then Smelly Boy replied, "No... an okay mom is about the best kinda mom one can have."

Hee! I am still gloating.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Steamed Chinese Pomfret (with butter)

Pomfret laid out on a bed of ginger. Since I don't have ready access to pork lard, I substitute with butter. I am allergic to soy sauce so I put fish sauce.

Steamer: bought from Ikea. Cheap and very practical.

Miam! Miam!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Joys of Internet Shopping

I know I have come to it very late because other ladies are veritable veterans by now, but I have just discovered the joys of internet shopping.

It began when I realised that if I ordered grass-fed beef online, I would pay $20 less per kg than if I bought beef tenderloin at the supermarket. I searched for seafood and almost expired with joy when I found I could buy New Zealand mussels, USA scallops, pomfrets, threadfins and groupers at very reasonable prices. Then I found that I could buy organic chickens online too!

Organic chickens: Kee Song.

Grass-fed beef: QB Foods.

Seafood: Song Fish.

Eating high quality meat uncontaminated by antibiotics has helped me on the road to recovery. Antibiotics in meat increase the levels of oestrogen in my body. My levels of oestrogen made me ill. I had mood swings. My face was so oily that I had to wash it every hour. Oestrogen interfered with my thyroid. I was always tired and no matter how I worked out or how little I ate, I piled on the kilos.

I have lost weight now just by ensuring that I eat as much organic meat as I can. Yes, yes... I know that conventional wisdom dictates that I need to eat more vegetables. However, my thyroid condition needs meat. My largely vegetarian diet in the past made me ill. Unfortunately, the residual antibiotics in most meat products were bad for me too.

So now, I eat organic meat.

It has of course helped that I flee stressors. Anything which looks like stress that I cannot handle, I avoid. I quickly retreat into my cocoon of comfort. It is not my problem. It is not my job. Let someone else bear the load. The poor Husband has been on pretty much the receiving end of my tai-chi. From a wife who did everything and more, I have become a wife who throws some things back at him.

I say "No", and I am getting quite good at saying "No" now.

So this year, 2014, was the year of recovery. I had decided this from 1st January 2014. By and large, I  have delivered on this new year resolution. I have made substantive changes to my lifestyle. I am very careful about what I put into my mouth. I have jettisoned people with a negative outlook... or quarrelsome people... or people who need a lot a lot a lot of emotional support ... or people who insist they cannot do whatever it is that is good for them. You cannot? Not my problem. My health comes first.

I have thus turned my back on work/home tasks that stress me. I have learnt not to push my limits. Let other people be strong because I am not. With all these changes, I am much stronger now than in October 2013. Yay! Last year's October, I had to mark student HW in bed, lying down because I could not get up out of bed.

Then, my cup of joy overflowed. I discovered clothes online!

At first, I was afraid that they would not fit well. I then realised that there were free return policies and the prices were so very good. Dresses that would cost upwards of $120 could be bought for under $50 online. I made 1 or 2 tentative orders and then got myself well and truly HOOKED!

I love Zalora and Ministry of Retail.

2 dresses (that fit well) for under SGD$100. Today, I bought 2 faux leather handbags (a backpack and a shopping bag) for less than SGD$90. Oh joy! Oh joy! 2 large bags for about the same price as this wallet!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Grandpa is Deaf

Our Grandpa is going deaf. At the start, it merely meant raising our voices at Grandpa. Now, it is not enough to raise our voices anymore.

The problem is that Grandpa does not believe he has a hearing problem. He believes that we have a speaking problem. We speak too softly. We did not worry too much because oh well... after a bit of shouting and gesticulating, we usually get our message across.

Lately though, we have all become concerned. Grandpa has become socially isolated. He used to hang out with a group of guys (about 20 years younger than his 80 years). They would go to Johore Bahru together. They would chill out on treks, go pick wild durians at unearthly hours.

These days, Grandpa just wants to hang out at home. He now believes that his friends also have a speaking problem. "They don't talk properly," says Grandpa. "I can't make out what they are saying," he grumbles. Rather than embarrass himself, Grandpa simple stays home.

That is NOT good for Grandpa.

So, The Husband decided to convince Grandpa to go and get his ears checked, so as to get a hearing aid. Grandpa won't hear any of it. Partly, I think Grandpa cannot hear much of what The Husband is trying to say. Partly, I think Grandpa wants to stay hard of hearing so that he can conveniently fail to hear Grandma when she is scolding him. Hence, Grandpa has no intention to get a hearing aid.

I am still watching how the saga will unfold.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Another Adventure

The Whatsapp blinked onto my phone again. This time, it read "We have a 4-day weekend coming up. My friends and I are going hiking. Don't worry Mom. Both of them have completed Officer Cadet School."


The thought that occurred to me was... "They have completed Officer Cadet School. YOU have not." But well... I wisely kept quiet. She was going to do it anyway so why give myself a hard time, eh? She whatsapped photos at every stop to tell me that she was safe. 

My my my... The Daughter is really having fun!

A major highway with NO cars over the holiday period - Yom Kippur.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Beware the Rape Culture of Harvard and Yale

It appears that the following text grabs come from materials used in JC for sex education. These are teens... with hormones... at an age of sexual imprinting and our JCs teach them that a woman says the opposite of what she means?


Look at how ridiculous the translations of female speak are! It appears that women say "I am NOT upset" when we mean "I am upset." I swear to you that when Petunia is upset she will tell you she is upset, in very unambiguous terms.

Right now, I am upset and I DO NOT mean the opposite of that!

Look at this! The boys and men say what they mean and mean what they say? Just 3 weeks ago, a 1.8m tall macho man building contractor said "Later I send you quotation." when he actually meant "Never I send you quotation."

Girls say "No" when we mean "Yes"? We also say "Yes" when we mean "No"? What are we? Too dumb to understand what "Yes" and "No" mean?

I CANNOT believe that these ideas have made it all the way to our society from USA. We see such stereotypes on 9Gag all the time. They're for laughs and I laugh right along. Those are jokes! Some idiot obviously took jokes to mean the real thing!

Women say "No" when we mean "Yes"? 神精病!

I don't know who wrote this ridiculous curriculum about male and female differences. If the author is a gal I wonder what she would feel if she says to her male friend, "NO... I don't want to have sex with you." and the nice gentleman takes it to mean "Yes". If the author is a guy I wonder how he would feel if his daughter/sister/mother says to her male friend "NO... I don't want to have sex with you" and he takes it to mean "Yes".

This kind of stereotypes run riot in the USA. That is why Harvard and Yale have a rape culture. Surely we do not want such a culture in our JCs! I am going to Little Boy's room right this moment to tell him that a woman's "No" means "No". Else, my boy could get a jail term for rape if he thinks a woman's "No" means "Yes"!!

Imagine how interesting it would be when a woman buys a burger at McDonald's.

Server: Would you like a burger?
Woman: No (but she means "Yes")
Server: What would you like?
Woman: A double cheeseburger please.
Server: You would like a double cheeseburger, ma'am?
Woman: No (but she means "Yes")
Server: Oh! So what would you like?
Woman: A double cheeseburger please.
Server: Did you just say you wanted a double cheeseburger?
Woman: No (but she means "Yes")

Aiyoooo... like that ahhhhh... one burger can take 2 weeks to buy! On what planet did the authors of that material grow up? Who in tarnation wrote this sex education handbook? What is MOE doing? And to all of The Daughter's male friends who are reading this... when my daughter says "No", she means "No" and if you insist, her Mom has a pair of garden shears to back her up.


Post-Script 1
Emmmm... it turns out that the course was a Relationship Management course to help boys and girls understand each other.

FotF head of corporate communications Ms Vicky Ho said that the workshop "is designed to be a relationship programme to help young people unravel the world of the opposite sex, uncover the truths of love and dating, and reveal what it takes to have healthy and meaningful relationships." 

Let me put it this way. This is the most stupid excuse I have ever heard. For the majority of the JC students, a male-female relationship will one day (with that special person) lead to sex. A Relationship Management course that teaches that women mean "Yes" when they say "No", covers the lead-up to sex along with other things.

The course deals with truths of love and dating? TRUTHS? TRUTHS? 

The truth is that it SHOULD NOT teach girls it is alright to say "No" but mean "Yes". Boys, if you meet a girl who plays games with you by saying "No" when she means "Yes", drop her like a hot potato, or call her out. It is unethical to play with men/boys like that. Some girls do it. The girls who will make good wives and girlfriends won't.

Post-Script 2
Then there are people who think that Agatha Tan is over reacting because these are jokes. Come on... this was a bona fide course teaching young and inexperienced people who may mistake joke for reality. If you wanna joke, do it at stand-up comedy in Bugis Street (with adults in attendance), not in a course that sells itself as a course to teach youths about gender relationships. MOE paid good money for stand-up comedy in the name of education?

Thank God Agatha Tan has some faculty of critical thinking!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

$30 for 10 Years

$30... It has seen better days and is falling apart from having been stuffed indiscriminately with receipts and cards and more cards and stamps and coins.

I hoped to find another $30 wallet. Fat hope! The best I could do was $89. Since just about every store and boutique has a Loyalty Card programme, I decided to buy a card holder to hold all those cards that contributed to the demise of my old wallet. The sales ladies said that the wallet is made of real leather and therefore, expensive. I bought Little Boy a sheep leather wallet for all of $30 in the Cotswolds, United Kingdom. Things in Singapore are so expensive.

I still feel sore. $89 just for a wallet. Sheesh! I don't really need a real leather wallet. Imitation leather would be fine. I just need the required compartments and all. Unfortunately, when I asked to see imitation leather wallets the sales ladies stepped back and sniffed "We don't sell imitation leather."