When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, July 12, 2003

What's it with girls and toilet shots?

*shakes head*

So this was the previous draft. I was wondering why I had 2 versions of "Little People".
"The Nazgul have done more than land. The HPF video was the lead story on Channel i News tonight." - ICQ SMS received last night.

Student's ticking-off goes from RJC to Net

'Counselling' for teacher whose tirade in class is recorded secretly and posted online; college investigating incident

By Sandra Davie

WHEN a Raffles Junior College teacher hauled up a student and gave him a thorough ticking-off, she did not know that another student was recording it all on video.

(picture) The teacher tears the student's homework, as seen in this video-grab sequence.

He then posted the three-minute video clip on the Internet.

It shows the General Paper teacher telling a male student his homework was 'outdated and irrelevant' and calling him a 'sly, crafty, old rat'.

When he tries to respond, she tells him: 'You are trying to cover up your insolence, your defiance, your laziness, your apathy, your lethargy and your bad attitude.'

She then tears his homework in two.

The boy who captured it all used a personal digital assistant with a built-in-camera. Calling himself 'bw', he put the videoclip on one website, but over the past month, it has been copied onto several others frequented by students.

After The Straits Times called the school, principal Winston Hodge showed the teacher the videoclip. She is not being named here at the school's request.

Mr Hodge said he spoke to the boy with the camera and his parents yesterday. The boy was 'apologetic' and said he regretted his action.

The school was still investigating, Mr Hodge said.

The Internet posting attracted 12 pages of comments on just one website [Ed: Read the SPUG forums for more views on this issue], including some from students criticising the RJC student for recording the incident secretly.

Responding online, he said the teacher should not have 'crucified' the student in front of the class. He said that the boy being scolded was from China and Chinese nationals tended to be weak in General Paper.

He claimed that he went public with his recording to find out what other students thought, not to entertain people or humiliate the teacher.

His principal yesterday appeared to agree with him that the teacher might have gone overboard and said that she had been 'counselled'.

'In the course of a teacher's work, there are times when there is a need to chastise students for tardy work and attitude,' Mr Hodge said.

'I believe this is what happened here, although based on the video, the teacher did lose her temper and went beyond what was necessary.'

RJC students are allowed to use cellphones and palmtops in school, but not in the library, classrooms, laboratories or lecture theatres.

'Responsible use also means requesting permission of the people being photographed or videotaped rather than to do it without them being aware,' said Mr Hodge.

An Education Ministry spokesman confirmed that schools are free to set the rules on the use of cellphones and palmtops by students.

But teachers who were told about the RJC incident told The Straits Times it was time the ministry imposed a ban.

Said an RJC teacher who declined to be named: 'The policy needed a rethink now that electronic devices have advanced to the point that students can intrude into your privacy.

Defending her colleague, she added: 'A teacher has every right to scold a student if he is handing in copied work or sub-standard work.'

Another junior college teacher said: 'Teachers are already under a lot of stress. And now we have students with snooping devices trying to catch them off-guard.'

I suppose it was inevitable, in this age of fast internet transmission, that the press would get wind of this. I didn't expect it to be blown up so greatly, and to make Page 3 news, though. I suppose the New Paper will be doing a story in greater depth soon.

With my shocking, immoral, hippy-libertarian credentials, it will come as no surprise to many that I largely condone, or at least am ambivalent, about this whole matter. If you want to look at it from the "mature" point of view that people love to take, one has to take responsibility for one's actions. If you dare to call a student a "sly, crafty old rat" and tear up his homework in front of a class, you should dare to call him one in front of the whole world. Oddly enough, this taking of responsibility does not seem to apply often when the Powers That Be are concerned.

Granted, teachers do not like scolding students, but sometimes they go overboard. Perhaps this incident might act as a sort of check. Granted, too, that teachers are due their share of privacy. While the video wasn't of her at her cubicle, hard at work over her next nature poem, relaxing at home or even showering (eeks!), this does constitute an invasion of her privacy. At the same time, though, students also have their dignity. Is it not hurtful to be told that you are "trying to cover up your insolence, your defiance, your laziness, your apathy, your lethargy and your bad attitude"? Not knowing the details of the situation, though knowing something of the teacher, I cannot comment, but this is a rebuke of a great magnitude, and is not very professional of an experienced teacher. Further, I am given to believe that this was most assuredly -not- an isolated incident. Also, a classroom is already a semi-private setting. As a poster on the SPUG forum put it:

"if what teachers do in the classroom is "private"... then why bother to come to class at all? the teacher would probably be better off at her grandfather's house, where he/she can do whatever he/she wants in total "privacy". similarly, teachers should not correct students if they see them doing something wrong, as they would be invading the student's "privacy". isn't that lovely."

People are bound to see the posting of this video as a form of revenge taken upon a disliked teacher by a vengeful student. While I have never been under Ho Poh Fun, I get the impression that she is insufferable, and a quick search will reveal that non-professional/academic references to her are invariably distasteful. At least we can take comfort in the fact that there is a tacit admission that Ms Ho might have gone overboard.

As someone else has put it so eloquently in the aforementioned forum, so sparing me the effort of composing a similar paragraph: "having read the article in today's papers about the incident, i can only say that i'm quite disgusted by the slant towards protecting the teacher as i feel that moe and the government should be open, honest and transparent (just like they say in the social studies textbook) about the incident... instead of trying to cover up and throw their weight around trying to cover up things when their dirty laundry gets discovered. i think singaporeans would have a bit more respect for the education system if they at least knew what was really going on behind it (especially with regard to the dirty laundry bit), rather than having all this lovely, utopic information fed to them from little leaflets with the MOE logo. i'm sure that with so many intelligent and mature people in the society, such frank and possibly stark information should not hurt.

the most ridiculous part was the one where a "fellow jc teacher said" that teachers were already under a lot of stress so students should stop secretly recording all these "off-guard" moments to add to their stress. goodness, imagine what school would be like if teachers simply took out their own "stress" (which i can assure you is exponentially less than the stress placed on today's students) on students and simply dismiss these as "off-guard". of course there will be "off-guard" moments; i'm simply saying that we should not close an eye to it and let it pass. if we do, it conversely would mean that students are entitled to rage, storm, tear up their teachers' and classmates' work and probably stomp on their desks while they were at it, just because they were "off-guard" and "under stress" (since teachers are allowed to rage, storm and tear up students' homework when they are "off-guard" and "under stress"). how lovely. i wish the teacher in question a ball of a time "de-stressing" together with her students and i sincerely hopes she is teaching in a jc where the students are all the "ah-beng" kind and will teach a good sharp lesson in professional ethics 101. if we can't weed out this sort of "i'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" kind of thing, students will have to bear the brunt of all this unprofessionalism. and i'm sure that no 17 or 18 year old wants that."

I think PDAs are going to be banned soon. Looks like they didn't learn their lessons from me and my quotes (though a piece of paper would have been just as, if not more effective, though having admittedly less panache) :)

Meanwhile, Mr Qingru had the impression that it was a video of a RJC teacher screwing a girl that was making the rounds. I suppose when he heard me say "RJC teacher" and "screwing a student", he immediately assumed that I was referring to the carnal type of screwing. *sputter* And I was wondering why he was so interested.

Someone asked why it wasn't Yaodong? :) Other comments (highlight to read - if you are easily offended, as I know many of you are, you should skip this portion): "but she's a kind old lady . ive never never seen her this mad", "i hope u had nothing to do with it.." (am I that notorious?), "the teacher deserved it.", "from a relief teacher's point of view...i can see how some teachers can really lose it at times...", "ouch. i think she was very cruel", "man! she did [deserve it]... what a bitch.... now everyone's gonna think rj students are terrorised by teachers like those. she could eat a few for bfast!", "[Me: she has a long track record] maybe that's why she was targeted..hiayh". Others feel she deserved it.

its precisely cos u "know", or rather, think/believe u know... abt the person and circumstances... that you're biased =P u lack distance from the event and the personalities...

he got to play the "heroic vigilant", and is probly piss-proud of his little self now. not to mention blowing it up on the net. if he were a little older n wiser, he could have lodged a private complaint with Mr. Hodge. but no no no, he has to go and make a scene like some toddler in a supermarket on the other hand Ms Ho shouldnt have gotten so full of herself either

Me: if you just complain, maybe they talk to her. or observe her and she puts on an act but they don't know what she does. no proof

well now uy got proof. the real challenge is showing enough maturity to know what to do with the proof and there the student is at fault. cos he went and did something rash that he's now regretting

Me : so he should have showed the proof to the principal?

yup that's what i meant by "launch a complaint" at least try the official channels before acting smart and shaming everybody including himself remotely connected to RJ... many tragedies happen because one "just wants to show off to friends"...

Me: I don't think it was a "show off" kind of thing

hmm... then, a "righteous exposure" kind of thingy?

Me: possibly. more of a "see what ms ho has done now!"

sounds like the pharisees who caught the woman in adultery and brought her to Jesus... i'm not greatly impressed

Me: *shrug* ahh, people have advanced in their stunts since my day *wistful*

ah well but JC students... arent very mature. oh yeah i'm sure they have... the wonders of technology =P in any case, what's doen cannot be undone...

Zhengfei tells me that Weiyi got into MDC. Haha, I didn't know he made it in!
Strange but Clever Advertising...

On the way to Nags Head, North Carolina from Virginia there is a sign for a seafood restaurant that says, "I get my crabs from Dirty Dicks."

On a hospital door to the colonoscopy unit: "To expedite your visit, please back in."

On a plumber's truck: "We repair what your husband fixed."

On the trucks of a plumbing company: "Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."

Pizza shop slogan: "7 days without pizza makes one weak."

Sign over a gynecologist's office: "Dr. Jones, at your cervix."

Another pizza shop slogan: "Buy our pizza. We knead the dough."

At a tire shop: "Invite us to your next blowout."

Door of a plastic surgeon's office: "Hello. Can we pick your nose?"

At a towing company: "We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows."

On a taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff."

In a podiatrist's office: "Time wounds all heels."

At a car dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet -- miss a car payment."

At the electric company: "We would be de-lighted if you pay your bill. However, if you don't, you will be."

In a restaurant window: "Don't stand there and be hungry. Come on in and get fed up."

In the front yard of a funeral home: "Drive carefully. We'll wait."

At a propane filling station: "Tank heaven for little grills."

And don't forget the sign at a radiator shop: "Best place in town to take a leak."

Amputee wannabes

11 more months to ORD!

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Hello Andrew!

Dog Adolf in Nazi salute - A racist who trained his dog Adolf to give the Hitler salute outside a school of Asian and Turkish children is facing six months in jail.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Hi im back in singapore!

Sunday, July 06, 2003

On the hoo-hah surrounding the HPF video:

"You are all playing too much at Deep Throat scenarios."
SOC Remedial Training (RT) has started, and it is weighing heavily on me. The rundown, the terrifying obstacles, the exhaustion, the shouting and more are all getting to me. People keep saying that it's all in the mind, that SOC is all mental, and that one can do anything if one puts one's mind to it. If that is the case, then I think I had better try flying by jumping off the 4th floor, and ascribing my failure to soar aloft to a lack of willpower. People also say that once you have done something, you will be able to do it again. But then, things can never be used indefinitely, as wear and tear will result in them, ultimately giving way one day. The Final Solution is attractive, but why let the slave drivers take from you more than they have to? What's the point of injuring yourself for the SAF, and especially to boost some unimportant numbers which will be reset the next year?

Adding to my worries has been work. Now is a bad time to be the Docu I/C - the recruits report sick in swarms, and further, I have a lot of referrals to book everyday. I've been doing overtime everyday the past week (and on Friday the previous week too), just to keep my backlog of work still-manageable - a task made ever more onerous by the time and energy taken up by concurrent training and remedial training. What's more, I have the feeling that I am less than competent. I think I'm going mad. Maybe I should have been like Johann and gone mad right at the start - during BMT.

With the combination of these 2 major headaches (RT and work), a whole host of problems-normally-minor-but-suddenly-major-due-to-stress and the cancellation of our company's nights off for the week due to dirty weapons, I just broke down. 3 times in the course of the week, I was reduced to a quivering, quavering, whimpering blob, the worst episode being after the SOC RT where I went to hide in a laundrette, and the recruits probably thought that the cries coming from inside were from the ghosts that haunt the place. I don't think I've collapsed so completely in these 19 months, not even in the first days of BMT (where I cried often, but softly and discretely), nor on the day I booked in after Chinese New Year last year, when a certain unfortunate thing happened to me.

I feel slightly better after seeing my MO and Senior Medic, but I don't know if I will fall apart during the next SOC RT. If worse comes to worst, I can always call the much-talked-about-but-never-used SAF hotline, or declare myself psychiatric. Luckily, I will be getting a Little Elf or two (to my Santa) to help me with work (yeh!), so I can concentrate on running and RT (...). Incidentally, Lenny kindly offered to help me do some of my work on one day, seeing how stressed I was. He also commented that I'd become a great deal less cheery this week, so I guess the stress was really taking its toll on me.

In their latest act of gross, flagrant and baffling stupidity, the Powers That Be have confiscated our extra pillows. That would not be so bad, except that they also took my clearly marked non-SAF pillow, which I had brought from home. What happened next defies belief - they threw the extra pillows away. I am really at a loss for words at the sheer mindlessness of it all. Could it be that, in a vindictive rage, they are just trying to spite us all? But then, making our lives more miserable *is* part of their job description.

This week, we marked SAF day with an observance parade. Meanwhile, I was also commemorating this special day, by re-dedicating myself against the SAF and most of what it stands for - slavery, sadism, disregard for the individual, bullying, anger, stupidity, lust, acting, mindlessness and much more. "Give me liberty or give me death" - Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775. Unfortunately, there are fates worse than death for 2 1/2 year soldiers, and I, being the craven that I am, have not courage such as the Jehovah's Witnesses possess to face them. If only I had been born female, I would not have had to betray my principles by accepting my conscription. Some people like to dress National Slavery in the clothes of honour, duty and patriotism ("Doing NS is a duty and an honour"), but just like the Emperor's New Clothes, these are all illusory. If it is really such an honour, why is the alternative prison, and why do so many loathe it? If there is any honour in it at all, it is the honour accorded to the sacrificial victim, who is feted by all, while everyone secretly rejoices that they were not the one chosen to be sacrificed to the god of the volcano.

We now have our very own Medical Centre puppy, adopted by Max from some litter. Maybe it can help us catch the rats :)

It's not fair. Someone is as fat as I, yet he can wear one set of uniform for the entire week, and though there are white streaks of dried sweat on the back by week's end, it does not stink!

The regimentation we are facing is going up by the day, in tandem with that faced by the recruits. I wonder how much more we can take.

It's really quite a pain to book medical appointments for people at Alexandra Hospital. For some reason, AH wants to know the patients' dates of birth and addresses - maybe they send out birthday cards to their patients every year or something.. The other hospitals don't seem to ask for such silly details, only for contact numbers. Or maybe the other hospitals have linked networks to pool patient information.

The HDB has cancelled its annual cleanest estate competition as it realised that residents were not enthusiastic about it, and the competition was really between the cleaners of the estates. This decision is most wise, and I applaud it. By the same token, the SAF's Best Unit Competition should be scrapped too, as its results just depend on how hard each unit's commanders (and S3 department, especially) manage to push their men, and to play with the system (see: 1st Commandos Battalion). If you ask the NSFs, I'm sure that you'll find that more then 95% do not care whether they are the top combat unit or the last combat unit.

[continued below]
[continued from above]

In the midst of my troubles, some people were still trying to convert me:

- "Why don't you pray - you've nothing to lose". Maybe I (and they) should try praying to Amon-Ra instead - the currently worshipped gods are obviously ineffective : just look at what happened to the dreams and prayers for world peace, so we've nothing to lose by praying to Amon-Ra too!
- "You deserve it." I was perplexed by this. Presumably this is what a "loving" god does to people.
- "Who knows, it may turn out to be good.". I should try getting knocked down by a car. In a way, that would turn out to be good as well.

So my conclusion, in the end, was that when people start talking about their gods, it's time to stop listening, for they have run out of ideas on how to help you with your problem.

It seems that whenever Christians are stressed, it is because their god is "testing" them, or "strengthening" them, and it is all part of the "plan". Conveniently, though, when non-believers are similarly stressed, it is because they have "turned away from god" and have "no peace" because they don't "know god". What dishonest logic.

Religious people always complain when their religious beliefs are offended, but how come no one bothers about the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) or non-theists? Bah. Somehow all this brings to mind Chinx's account of how some well-meaning but still evil people gave this guy a christian burial when he died - something tantamount to sacrilege of the dead. Since he doesn't have permalinks, I'll just reproduce most of the post below (^__^ - normal smilies don't fit well in circular brackets):

"My neighbour died recently.

No, this is *not* going to be a depressing piece. Don't run away yet, y'all. However. What follows is also perhaps the most honest and blunt piece I've written for a while. Sensitive folks will want to avoid this.

Yes, my neighbour died recently. How recently? I don't know. I only knew he died when I saw the wake, and his huge photo staring out at me.

Yes yes, we're horrible neighbours. Yes, yes, we're not close to our neighbours at all, unless you count physical distances. Yes yes. That's not the point of this rant. Shush.

So, as I'm writing this, our neighbours have just finished singing a joyous hymn of praise to our dear lored gawd. Now, this is what really gets me going. See, I may not have known my neighbours very well, but I knew one thing for sure about him- he was not a Christian.

This isn't the 1st time I've seen it happen either. About 2 years ago, an uncle of mine died, well before his time. Our family (with the notable exception of cold-hearted bastard Stranger) reeled from the impact, and was sent into deep mourning. He was well-liked by all, and his death certainly came as a shock to us all. He was, however also not a Christian, but his siblings saw fit to bury him with a Christian ceremony.

This isn't something I take lightly. A funeral is a chance to honour the deceased, to remember the great things that he did, to weep at his passing, and to bid him goodbye. It is NOT an occassion to force your religious beliefs upon him.

I mean, my gawd, he had his entire life to decide if he believed in your gawd or not. If he didn't, why make it as though he accepted it with his last passing breath? Why force YOUR beliefs on him now when he can't fight back? You think you're doing him a favour? You think you're helping him see the light as the darkness claims claims his mortal spark? You think you're saving his bloody soul by singing a few paltry songs while his corpse lays stiff and frozen?

Screw you. Screw you for clothing him upon his death in robes he refused to wear in life. Screw you for turning his death into a vehicle for your preaching. Screw you - you don't say goodbye to someone by corrupting his image. You don't force an 80 year olde grandmother who's just outlived her eldest son to wonder why there's a man from the church to speak at his funeral. You don't make her wonder, as she's sitting there wiping her tears, her heart about to give way, what exactly they're saying about her son when she doesn't speak a word of the language you're praising your gawd with.

Screw you."

"We are born this way and they are born that way, but they are like you and me" - PM Goh on gays. I'm quite impressed.

Coca-Cola Light with Lemon is interesting. I think they're trying to beat Pepsi at their own game.


Gabriel has been looking depressed ever since he became the Docu I/C. [Someone: I've been stressed ever since the recruits came in] [Me: That makes it {my depression} worse]

No, don't call me 'Bob'. Later all 10 [new medics] call me Bob, I boo (pronounced as a dialect work) you.
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