Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Warning: You will see ALOT of me in the slideshow below. You have been warned.

To my dear CO students of 08/09, I wish you all the best in your coming O level examinations. Just like how you all led us to a victorious showing at this year's SYF, show us again how you are going to lead yourselves into the next battle that is ahead and emerge as conquerors once again.

Remember: Attitude Matters More Than Talent.

God bless.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hi all. It has been a long while. I hope you are doing fine and God is blessing your life, just like how He is always looking for ways to do so in mine (and yours too).
Over the years, since 2006, I have always been blessed with graduating classes that are unique in their own ways. Each year, through countless prayers since the start of the preparations for the chinese o levels examinations, the Lord has never failed to bless these classes with unimaginable results.
The 2006 cohort set the record for the highest distinction rate ever, until the record was broken in 2008. In 2007, though I took the middle and tail-end classes, both classes came in second amongst their respective cohorts (express and normal academic). 2008 was the first time my secondary 4 class did not do particularly well. However, my secondary 5 class did extremely well and has set the record for the highest distinction rate amongst normal academic classes over the years.
This year, I was also blessed with an amazing class which is very very diligent and willing to put in the hard work and strive for good results. I have never met with a more hardworking class. Not only did they spend many hours poring through the notes the class came up with themselves, they also spent a good amount of time on their own extracting good phrases and words from many different sources. Then they spent yet another huge chunk of time committing them to memory. Such determination is indeed commendable. They are always willing to come for extra lessons and even though they did not start out with good chinese results, they did not give up on themselves and were always willing to give their best shot. It has been a great privilege and pleasure to fight the battle alongside them this year.
As I always tell my students, 'you reap what you sow'. In chinese, it is '一份耕耘,一份收获'. Their hard work really paid off. But what is more amazing is how the Lord really chose to bless us so greatly, far more than what we could ever have thought of or imagined.
Since preparations began end of their secondary 3 year, I have been praying for them. Be it the way I should teach the class, or the questions I should set for their examinations, or the topics that I should spot, or grace from the oral examiners, or favour from the markers, or simply the Lord rewarding them for their hard work, which is in line with the biblical principle of reaping and sowing, the Lord truly answered each of my prayers in His very own special ways:
1. We spotted 2 questions for the oral examinations.
2. Our class took the only day where only 1 class was taking the oral examinations and the question for that day was one of the spot-on ones.
3. Many of them scored a distinction for their oral examinations.
4. We focussed on the analysis of essay questions during the intensive revision period just before the o level examinations and that was crucial in scoring beyond a certain score in paper 1.
5. We moved forward as a united class during the last few days before the battle and the fighting spirit in the class was exhilarating.
6. Save for a C6 and 2 B4, the rest of the class scored at least a B3.
7. Many students who previously were not good in Chinese managed to do a lot better this time. Some even wanted to give up right in the beginning and switch to take syllabus B.
I prayed for 3 things in particular with regards to their results this year:
1. 100% passing rate.
2. Highest distinction rate in their cohort.
3. Highest distinction rate ever, beating the record set in 2008.
The Lord answered all 3! Our entire class passed and the 50% distinction rate was indeed the highest in the cohort (the second highest being around 40%). Though they did not break the previous year's record of close to 70%, their mean subject grade was the best ever since 2005 - 2.20.
What more can I say? I am truly humbled by how the Lord really answered my prayers so beautifully. I thank God for His favour and hands upon this class. It was truly the Lord's hands and what you have just read is nothing short of a miracle. Praise the Lord!
I pray the Lord will continue to bless this class in their remaining subjects and that they will continue to press on in their perseverance and grit and be rewarded with a sweet and bountiful harvest for the hard work, come January 2010.
All glory to God!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Sunday, November 23, 2008

If it is anything to boast of at all, I received my first and second lawyer's letters recently. They look something like this:

Lawyer's letter 1

Advent Law Corporation

[blah blah blah]

We act for ...

We are instructed to inform that ...

Our clients require you to make payment of the said sum ... within five (5) days from date hereof, failing which our clients shall be at liberty to terminate and recall the above facilities (as well as other facilities which you may have with our clients) without further reference to you. Under the contractual Terms and Conditions governing the above facilities, you shall be liable to our clients for all costs and expenses incurred on a full indemnity basis.

Lawyer's letter 2

Yeo-Leong & Peh LLC

[blah blah blah]

We act for ...

We are instructed that ...

FORMAL DEMAND is hereby made ...

TAKE NOTICE that unless the said sum ... is paid to our clients directly within three (3) days from the date hereof, the facility given under the above account shall be withdrawn. We also have strict instructions to commence legal proceedings against you to recover the total outstanding balance ... without further reference to you. In that event, you will also be liable for any interest, charges, fees and legal costs accruing thereon.

Verdict: The 2nd lawyer's letter sounds more serious and threatening. Is it any wonder, then, that things have been looking gloomier than it already is for me..? God save me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Right now, I'm not sure what I'm feeling. I should feel angry but amazingly, I feel rather alright. I should have slammed the phone down in anger having not been able to get through the call after multiple tries, but instead I took it in a rather good stride. I should be extremely upset but I think perhaps to summon up the emotions would have been more tiring/painful than to just let things be, at least for now.

This has been/will be a busy week and the tight schedule will overflow all the way till next thursday and I hope it ends there. Sunday, I went, for the first time, to Boon Lay to do some assurance of salvation materials with new converts who are mostly foreign workers from a nearby site. I wasn't feeling too up to it that day but I went anyway, since I promised to. As usual, God has His special way of perking people up whenever the Word is brought in and His Spirit in around. Indeed, His Word is alive. Yet, with the same mouth that confessed His faithfulness and sovereignty, it also, especially this week, uttered accusations at God, for not answering a prayer as simple as keeping them away. Yesterday, I was left with just a little more than 4 bucks in my bank account and when I wanted to buy food, I realized I couldn't. This might sound a tad too pitiful but when I stared at the ATM screen, I was quite sure I took longer than usual, staring at that meagre amount. But I know God will provide. In a timely manner, today is pay day. However, it must have just taken a flick of God's fingers to keep those people at bay, yet that did not happen time and again. Anger and exasperation crept in, even after I had fully experienced God's provision and faithfulness all these years - He never once failed to be my help in my times of need. So it was a confused mind I had up there these couple of days. As if to remind me my folly and distrust, just this morning, God reminded me that, indeed, I had forgotten what He had done for me in the past and had allowed a huge chasm of doubt to separate Him and I this time round. I felt guilty, yet I still could not dispel the helplessness I felt within.

Back to my week. So Monday morning I brought students down to Dunman High, which is now located far away at Mount Sinai. The reward for the morning was, however, a nice and cosy breakfast at Starbucks, tucked away in idyllic Holland Village on a rainy, misty and perhaps a little blue Monday morning. I enjoyed every bit of it, imbibing my food and beverage slowly and reading my book and Bible. Reality and monotony revisited when I had to go back to school do clock my hours. Then I went for my usual 15km run and end up preparing work for the deadlines littered all over the rest of this week and next.

Tuesday morning I went to school to clock in more hours and work, only to have to bring students down to Dunman High again in the afternoon. I spent the afternoon there preparing the emcee script for Saturday's concert. And mind you, I have 2 emcee-ing jobs to do on Saturday - one for my university friend's wedding and the other is to prepare the student emcees for the concert on Saturday. In fact, I actually have 2 weddings to attend on Saturday, but by the look of it, I don't think I can attend the other one. Had it not been for a helpful colleague, I would have to split myself up between emcee-ing at a wedding and helping out at the rehearsals at Victoria Concert Hall. So I feel its quite a lot of work done here for the concert. Yet just today, I felt like I was suddenly made to buy 80 tickets and before I could say 'What?!', the phone rang again and the voice on the other end already wanted to send the tickets down to me! And all I did was to say I'll try to get more students to buy but I did not say I'll grab all 80! As to how I will deal with this, I shall not write it here, lest the people involved get angry. Anyhow, I was not too pleased tickets were just shoved down my throat like this. The rest of Tuesday night was spent swimming and doing up the scripts. And though I was feeling down already, I met up with my ex-tuition kid and listened to him talk about army woes. I thought to myself 'Woah, I'm up to my neck in sh*t and here I am listening to another's problems.' But thankfully, God used that fellowship to cheer me up a little.

Wednesday morning - showed up in school for a meeting and was arrowed more work. But I'm already feeling the strain from all that's happening at home and having to deal with it incessantly, plus the camp this whole week and concert at the end of the week. But I did not voice out, for I did not want people to think I was shirking my responsibility. But the truth is, I think they do not know I do have legitimate commitments outside school - the camp, that is. Not my personal problems. This line I still know how to draw. So anyway, the rest of today was spent rather fruitfully, thank God. I coughed out some scheme of work for next year. Then I went for my run and had dinner with my brother - a rather sumptuous one in a while. I even bought some tidbits home, thinking I could relax a little tonight and watch some television while chewing on cuttlefish.

Little did I realize that I was to be squatting and cleaning my neighbour's floor because the paint that tainted the ceremaic was meant for my house. Yes, you heard it right - paint on my neighbour's floor. And this was not the first time. Naturally, you could expect them to be angry. But they were very nice and I remember thanking God for such understanding neighbours and the thankful thing is so far, the paint has only been splashed on the doors of neighbours whom we are quite close to, so they offered us their sympathy while trying to hide their anger. As I squatted there scrubbing, turpentine and paint on my hand, my mind went 'What am I doing here..?'. It was a humbling experience, no doubt, to have to be a cleaner and if others scorn you or scold you, you can't retaliate, because they have every right to do so. It kinda hurts until my tears can't come out. And that's not the worse. One night, they came to chain our neighbour's door. We lodged a police complaint but all they could do was to take down our statement and then remind us of a fact we had already knew - pay up.

The biggest concern now is not really the paint or chain or threats. I think I've spoken to enough of those sharks to not fear them. The biggest concern is how my neighbours are suffering the brunt of our misdeeds. Truth be told, some days, I walked out of my door more quickly than usual, hoping not to see any neighbours so I don't have to look them in the eye and yet have no more consolation/compensation for than remorse and sorry. But alas, on Tuesday night and tonight, I had to face them and really, all I could say was 'Sorry' and all they could offer was also 'Why like that..?', short of hurling vulgarities at us.

I just needed to get this off my chest. Now, I need to get the turpentine smell off my hands.

Monday, November 10, 2008

This was the day of many unfortunate events, through which we saw God's hand of provision and protection upon us:

- Burnt muffin which set off the hotel room alarm early in the morning, and I mean really early.

- Towed-away rented car, which left us scampering around to get back the towed car.

- Late arrival for our flight due to waiting for those who went to finally return the rented car. In between, there was yet another frenzy trying to call each other using the IDD card but to no avail. Frenz-o-meter hit a record high.

- A very nice lady taxi driver returned our lost-and-found item. She patiently took a huge detour back to the airport after dropping some of us off and even waited for them there.

- One of our trip-mate lost her luggage at the Queenstown airport. Thankfully, it was retrieved thereafter.

- One of our 2 cars skidded while turning right in the slightly rainy and misty weather, causing the car to stop right in front of some visibly shocked cows, who could only express their fear with their deep, low droans of 'Moo's.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Since my last blog entry, which was in August, many things have happened. I'm just gonna update with pictures here.

On 8th August, 2008, my school had its official opening of the re-furnished campus and my CO students performed. Very well, as usual. Well done, guys.

Then there was the nonsense on the lift doors, my neighbours' walls and my door.

This year, my students also took part in some competitions and they did well. Great job.

Then I went to the Singapore Flyer.

And the Istana.

In between, my grandmother passed away.

I also managed to find some of my cute baby photos.

Ok, enough photos uploaded in one night. Uploading photos is tiring.

Next up, I'll post something about teacher's day, my sec 4E/5N O levels mother tongue results and perhaps grad day as well.

Meanwhile, enjoy.

P/S: Photos courtesy of my humble Sony Ericsson K850i phone.