Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Home Decor Survivor Update III

I've been really busy with Home Decor Survivor.

We got Mark Lee. We were very disappointed, Coco especially so, to the extent of crying all the way home after the filming, and blaming herself no end that she picked Mark.

William and I comforted her and told her that we could still win. I'll be doing up a 5 ft x 2.5 ft batik painting, and drawing a gigantic daffodil on the bomb shelter as the major projects, and sewing as well as drawing two lotus flowers on brown organza curtains to cover the study and kitchen entrances.

My elder sister and I spent 11 hours on the road to buy most of the essential stuff for the contest yesterday. And on Monday, we filmed from 9 am to 5.30 pm, spending 3 hours at The Life Shop alone.

I'm still at my batik painting. With William's help, I managed to staple the silk cloth on the frame made by my uncle, modified by my father, in the morning. After that, I drew the flower picture on the cloth and went over it again using a silver marker. In the afternoon, I started to paint, after some struggles. I worried that I may not do a good job or mess it up. But I figured I had to do it anyway, so I painted it, starting from the centre of the flower. The flower turned out very nice. I don't have the time to post any pics yet. I'll try to post them up to update my blog when it's all over.

But the batik is yet to be completed. I'm left with the leaves, the background. And I have to remember to keep some portion untouched for the filming, so that they can film me doing the batik.

I'm a little worried - ok, it's 'very' worried - that I can't complete all these in time. I get so exhausted doing them too.

We didn't know that Home Decor Survivor is so tough. If I'd known, I'd probably not have joined the contest.

Honestly, I don't hanker after the furniture Mark chose for us, because basically, they are not practical for us, but I do hope to win because Coco wants so much to win. I would feel so bad to see her disappointed. I'm hoping that with the DIYs that I'm doing, the judges would let us win on the account of my efforts and hard work.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Home Decor Survivor Update II

Home Decor Survivor is coming to my house!!!

One of the coordinators just called me today to inform me that they are coming next Monday and Friday. The theme would be 'spa'.

I am so excited! I called my friends to ask them to pray for me that we would get Bryan Wong for obvious reasons.

In the mean time, I would need to source for an immediate curtain maker who would help sew organza curtains. I won't be able to get ready-made ones as my curtain tracks are the kind with metal hooks.

I hope I won't say the wrong thing on TV. It's really nerve-wrecking!

Thoughts on Blogging

I was on my friend's blog when I saw her latest entry.

She said that there're too many things to consider before she makes her entries because it's getting 'too crowded' on her blog. I'm not sure where she got the idea but she feels that some people are using what she wrote on her blog against her, criticising everything that she blogs about.

This is my ultimate fear, that I'd become unnatural in my entries, or become dishonest with what I really think, how I really feel. It'll be such an irony. You blog because you want others to know how you feel, but you refrain from saying how you really feel because there're others who are reading your blog. This is also one of the reasons I didn't want to start blogging as it defeats the purpose of blogging if you can't blog on your thoughts freely.

I went to a blog after reading an upset thread from a young mother-to-be on Idobaby. A friend, or rather, ex-friend, had loaned some money from her boyfriend and would rather squander what he has on leisures and merry-making than repay them. I was upset when I read his blog. It was full of broken English, and sms language. I find it hilarious (at the same time) that someone with such a level of proficiency in English would actually dare start a blog. I'm not saying that only people with good English can blog, but I thought it would be necessary to have a decent command of the language, whichever language you'd choose. Or at least, be sufficiently grammatical for others to understand. I would be embarrassed to death if I write like that boy. His broken English actually impedes understanding. I had problems comprehending what he meant to say, tried as I might. It was indeed a challenge to read such a blog.

It's interesting though that one actually has the courage to blog for the public to read when his English is so pathetic.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Enrichments - Are they too much?

Time really flies when you are maintaining a blog.

It's been 6 days since my last post. I'd meant to upload a pic of the piano which had arrived last Saturday, but I haven't got round to doing it because I've been busy - I received the piano on Saturday late morning, went out in the afternoon till 11pm for the school's anniversary dinner; went to church and my cousin's wedding on Sunday and only came home at 12.40am; went to piano tutor's place for piano lesson and visited the doc for Coco's asthmatic cough on Monday; and today, I'm back in school for some meeting that never seems to be taking place. And that's why I'm here updating my blog.

It's only been a few days since the piano arrived, but I'm beginning to feel the tension - the monthly instalments I'm going to pay to my sister for the next five months, the need to hound after Coco to do her theory homework and practise on the piano. I'm really worried because she doesn't seem to be very enthusiastic in playing the piano. Perhaps it's the starting stage and she hasn't learnt any song yet. It probably seems boring and monotonous to her that she needs to do the finger drills and trying to familiarise herself with the notes.

I was already asking her which one she would like to give up in the event she needs to give one up: piano or ballet. I foresee that she will not be able to cope with the demands of both, on top of swimming which is supposed to be good for her health, as well as her academics. However, I really would like her to do well in all these, for personal developments.

Deep within my heart, I know that her passion is painting. However, being someone who used to like painting, I refuse to let her learn painting from any tom, dick and harry. The only qualified art school, it seems to me, is NAFA. I find the distance quite out of the way though. But William reminded me that her piano lesson takes place at the other end of the island, which is a huge irony that I'm thinking of not letting her go for the art lesson over proximity reasons.

On her part, Coco would like to join the robotics club in her school. I don't want her to be overloaded with all the enrichment activities that she doesn't even have time for her studies. That would be wrong prioritisation.

I'm worried that I'm imposing my own wish on little Coco. It's always been my wish that my daughter plays piano: my daughter MUST play piano.

But now, as a mother, I want to, and I need to, respect my daughter's wish. The piano is bought, but her wish is more important than mine.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

The last day

Tomorrow is the last day of school year. My last day with my class kids.
It's just about the first time I feel unwilling to part with my students. They have been a lovely bunch, albeit that one or two frustratingly stubbornly lazy kids.

I haven't felt reluctant to step into the class all this time I'm teaching them. I really think that they are a better bunch than when what I had in my previous school. They are definitely smarter. I haven't changed my opinion about their intelligence since May when I first took over the class.

P2 Persistence.

I must remember to bring my camera to take a picture with them as a momento.

Home Decor Survivor Update

Home Decor Survivor called me!!!
They wanted to come and do the filming this coming Monday and Saturday, but William couldn't make it. They said that they will make another arrangement.
I'm quite sure they will take us as one of the contestants. However, like William, I honestly don't think that our chances of winning is high. Primarily because our flat layout is not very ideal. Our study and kitchen entrances are exposed and our study is in such a mess.
William even started to make negative statements and tried to persuade me to withdraw from the contest - he's worried that we might have to incur extra expenditures instead of winning and he doesn't want to appear on TV. My father was with me and he said that we shouldn't withdraw since we've come so far and are picked from more than a hundred interviewees.
He sort of agreed not to withdraw in the end.

Ballet and Piano, finally!

I'm so upset with the ballet schools in Singapore.
After learning ballet for more than 2 years, Coco is still in Pre-Primary Ballet!
Now that Kavanagh Dance School is closing its branch down at our nearby Community Centre, I have to source for another ballet class for her and I just found out that there are actually two different types of syllabi for ballet! And hers is the simpler of the two and so she has to downgrade to Pre-Primary Ballet again. Imagine the shock I got!

I was so worked up I couldn't continue blogging. After I cooled down and thought about why I wanted Coco to learn ballet, I figure that passing exams are not that pertinent as compared to my initial intentions. I had wanted Coco to have confidence, poise and the correct postures through learning ballet, but now, I'm starting to be obsessed with her passing the grading exams, as if it is the more important reason.

I guess I will let Coco try out the ballet class at the next CC. I would want her to enjoy what she does. If it's too stressful for her or proves to be unenjoyable, I'll withdraw her from ballet.

Another 'project' I've undertaken is buying a new piano for Coco. Yamaha U1 to be exact. I've finally made up my mind to get a new piano despite all the hassle I've gone through for a used piano. My elder sister is kind enough to help me pay up for the piano first, afterwhich I will repay her in instalments that stretch to five months. The reason I've decided to get a new piano is really because I'm tired and exasperated over the running-abouts to the second-hand dealers and always getting answers like 'Oh, it's just sold.' 'The new shipment will be here on ... (date)' 'We haven't tuned the pianos up yet.' 'Actually, we don't have the model you want.' I feel that the frustration, unsureness, feeling of uncertainty and anxiety is just not worth it.

My father was totally against the idea. Truth be told, he didn't even agree to me getting a piano, used or new, at all. I talked to him, told him that learning piano requires a piano for daily practice, that a used piano of more than twenty years also costs $4,000. He only softened after I said,'It's all your fault! You didn't allow us to learn piano when we were young. If you did, we would have a piano and I won't have to buy a piano now!':P
Surprisingly, he said,'If you had asked, I would have allowed you to.'
I retorted,'Not a chance! You didn't even send us to Nursery.'
He said,'Nursery is indeed a waste of money.'
I told him that in the event that Coco really does give up learning piano, I would go and learn instead, since learning to play piano has always been my desire. So the piano would not be a waste after all.
From there, he started to soften on his tone. When my sister called regarding buying of piano, he didn't object when I said,'Ah pa said 'ok' already!' :)

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Piano again

I'm starting to wonder if all the trouble for a second-hand piano is worth it. It's caused me alot of stress and trips. If I get a brand new one, I don't have all these worries and anxieties. The only con is the payment. It's really a huge sum of money. I could use that sum of money to go pay my CPF study loan or save up or buy a decent sofa or LCD TV set with a home theatre thrown in.

It's really a lot of considerations.

God, please give me some guidance. Please stop me if buying a brand new one is a bad decision.

Home Decor Survivor

Home Decor Survivor contacted me yesterday afternoon to tell me that they are coming over in the night to take detailed pictures for their reference.

They were two young ladies who briefed us on the procedures should we get selected. It was then that I realised this was only the second round of selection.

I hope we get chosen and I hope we get Bryan Wong. :)

I hate to confess negatively, but honestly, I think we have a relatively low chance in winning because of our flat's layout. On top of that, the study forms part of the living room and it's so messy. Although we have a platform, which another nearby flat also has, I'm very sure theirs is not as rudimentary as ours. Ours can be described as 'rustic' at best, and 'incomplete' at worst. But well, it's better than not having any chance at all.

Health is gold

I'm down with a bad cold plus a bonus sore throat these few days.
I first visited the doctor at Sembawang MRT on Monday when I had a sore throat. To my horror, that quack said that it didn't look very bad and he wondered aloud why I felt painful. He dismissed me after prescribing some ineffective lozenges for me.

In the night, I felt hot from my upper torso onward and cold in my feet. I knew it was running a temperature, followed by a runny nose, cough and phlegm. I felt so miserable I cried (as usual). I rarely fall sick and so it's always a torment to me whenever I am stricken with infirmities.

I took William's leftover medicine from his previous visits to the doctor's. They left me feeling dizzy and weak and still in pain the next day. I had to visit my mother's highly recommended doctor at Woodlands. He spent so long talking to me and diagnosing my sicknesses that my sister couldn't help but popped in to understand why.

He asked me to stop taking the medicines I took and gave me nosedrop, paracetamol, antibiotics and cough mixture. I napped in the afternoon for about an hour and woke up feeling abit better. By the evening, the pain in my throat was quite negligible. Now I'm up and about and feeling good. The pain is almost gone. It really feels great to be healthy and well.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Pianos, pianos, pianos ... haiz

I'm still weighing the pros and cons of getting a used versus new piano.

It's getting to be quite painful.

The boh tak second-hand dealer had warned me about other dealers' buy-back guarantee. I have to agree that he could be right. But I'm not very comfortable in buying a piano from him.

New piano - the main con is the price tag. I have no idea how long this item is going to last in my house. My main worry is after a year, I might need Coco to stop her piano lessons, depending on how she does in Primary 2.
Used piano - the main pro is the price tag. But I get quite hanged up about its various cons: the age of the piano, whether its tone and sound are still alright, whether it will give me problems a few years down the road, whether I would be able to sell it off next time I want to upgrade, whether I would be getting a piece of junk for thousands of dollars.

We went to the free trial piano lesson at the forum-recommended tutor's place in Bedok yesterday. It was very structured, unlike the group lesson Coco has been taking. I understand the lesson objectives and so did Coco. Apparently, Coco herself prefers individual coaching as well. She said the tutor was very patient. The only problem is, the tutor lives at least 1.5 hour away from my place. I'm not sure how this can be worked out. It's times like this that I really wish to have a car.

Stupid systems

I was tempted to get an MC for today. My throat is painful. I would like to see another doctor to ask him about my ear infection as the bo-chap doctor had mentioned that ear infection can be linked to throat infection and I have a history of throat infections and middle throat infections. But I do not want to spend money on a doctor without taking that precious MC. You might ask: then why don't you take the MC then?

Well, our level had mandated to go through the Maths papers today, and tomorrow is the student-ranking-cum-result-slips-printing day. I find it so absurd that these people (whoever they are) do not have common sense after years of experiences in having to reprint result slips after the kids brought home their report books. Don't they realise that kids usually are not able to compute marks properly or spot mistakes in a paper? The report book came back to the school because the parents spotted the mistakes in the results. So why don't they allow us to return the papers for the parents to look through and sign before finalising the results and printing them? It's stupidly absurd. Such inconveniences could have been greatly, dramatically minimised if they would only do it this way, and you'd think it's common sense.

So that explains I'm not willing to take MC for today, plus the fact that I just took an MC the week before last week. I'm not sure whether the school would look at your MC rate to appraise you. These are just a few of the reasons I hate this job.

I've come to appreciate most of the people in this school. I think most of them are nice. However, I still maintain that the systems in this school are flawed, very flawed indeed.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Child and school

A colleague was confiding in me that her daughter came in last in class even though she had over 70 marks for Maths and 80 plus for English.

The poor girl broke down.

I feel really bad for both the girl and the mother. It's not the girl's fault that she's at the bottom of the class. Her results are good. She doesn't deserve to be ranked so low.

I'm not sure what the teacher is thinking, but from what my colleague has told me over all this time, it appears to me that the teacher is quite harsh and very demanding. Instead of being nurturing to the girl, the teacher is constantly complaining to my colleague and often cannot tolerate the girl's antics. If it were me, I believe I would have been equally hostile towards the teacher instead of allowing her to step all over me like she's the more superior teacher.

It's really hard not to wonder if teachers from branded schools are spoilt. They have relatively low threshold of tolerance for active children. I cannot imagine how they would cope if they were posted to a neighbourhood school like mine. My colleague's girl is being referred to an Educational Psychologist under the teacher's recommendation, which I think is utterly crazy! The poor girl had resisted the idea but she had to go because the teacher strongly recommended her to.

I wish I can help the poor girl. I fully understand why my colleague would not transfer the child out of that school despite being treated, with biasness - in my opinion - by the form teacher. It's quite inconceivable though if your child is not in a top school or if you don't have a child. The level of discipline, the demographics, even the worksheets and books are different. And all these play an important part in shaping a child's way of looking at schooling.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Piano versus Studies

I'm still struggling over old versus new piano. Deep within my heart, I would like the new piano. Yet, I'm not sure if it's worth the high price - I'm not even sure how long Coco's interest in piano would last. Even as I type this, I'm starting to be swayed towards the used piano, basically because it's $5,000 cheaper. For someone who's study loan is still outstanding, perhaps I shouldn't be so ambitious. And like what they say, Coco's ears are still untrained. The more important thing is to let her have a piano to practise on. After she's acquired the piano skills, she might become discerning on the kind of sounds she likes, rather than just the brand. $3,600 is a rather comfortable price for me, and I don't have to blow my year-end bonus on top of my monthly pay to get it.

On the other hand, I'm having second thoughts about letting Coco take up piano. She didn't do as well as expected for her English paper. It makes me rethink if I really should plunge ourselves into yet another long term commitment - on top of ballet, and perhaps swimming.

As far as I know, piano requires constant, if not daily practices. And you're just talking about the practical aspect of it. The theory aspect would eat into her studying time as well. Come to think of it, it's quite daunting to imagine the kinda messages regarding priorities I am sending to her.

William was asking me to think about the people who do well in their studies and others who take up piano. I guess he is quite right, that people I know who play piano don't really go very far in their studies. I can't recall anyone who plays piano going to a local university. I'm not saying there isn't any, but I believe such people are quite few and far in between. And it's not hard to understand why. Piano is time-consuming.

I'm exploring another option, that I'll let Coco learn piano till P2 or 3, and put the lessons on hold till she completes her PSLE. Like all other matters, I'll think this over.