29 Dec 2010

What's Happened So Far (Part 1)

It's only a few more days to the next year already. Just about 74 more hours to 2011. That thought alone is kinda both exciting and frightening at the same time. On one hand, this means new exciting things coming our way. New experiences, new opportunities, new possessions, new responsibilities etc. On the other hand, it shows just how fast time can pass by, reminding us on the harsh unchanging fact that we cannot move back through time and correct our mistakes. And we also end up being closer to December 2012, which we are as present still unsure of what the heck would happen then.

No matter how fast time goes past, we still manage to remember past achievements and events that happened in the world. Sometimes it helps us to learn lessons from the past to avert disasters in the future. Sometimes certain people and actions help inspire today's generations to follow their dreams, continue mankind's progress, spread the kindness and joy, whatever.

It's a good time now to reflect on what happened in 2010: what we gained and lost, who succeeded and who failed, all the triumphs and disasters. So here's a rough chronological account for 2010: (yes I did use Wikipedia)

26 Dec 2010

Past Entry 3

31st December 2009, 9pm

So, another year is about to end in about 5 days? Time must really REALLY fly at supersonic speed, especially since this was written about a year ago. Maybe this time I'll have plans to go to somewhere more happening like Marina Floating Platform or something much earlier, instead of stuck at home again waiting for the live broadcast of the countdown + fireworks. Though I have a feeling the latter would repeat again.

This is the time when I should be going into a totally new territory called Junior College, but only for 2 years before something worse... :( This past version of myself is about to become Secondary 4, which is probably the pinnacle of secondary school life. The year when students of the same batch are supposed to be "leaders" and "role models" and the usual stuff mentioned by teachers, principals etc. 2010 was supposed to be the last year I make a difference in the secondary school, the last opportunity to cherish secondary school life. Even some students actually miss the horrible moments they experienced as a secondary student.

25 Dec 2010

Christmas Lights

The third new Christmas song is Christmas Lights by Coldplay. This isn't really a stereotypical Christmas song, as there aren't any bells anywhere in the music, and it doesn't preach about the joy of Christmas. It's more like an emotional poem or something.

Lyrics and music video below:


Christmas Light - Coldplay

Christmas night, another fight
Tears we cried a flood
Got all kinds of poison in
Poison in my blood

I took my feet
To Oxford Street
Trying to right a wrong
Just walk away
Those windows say
But I can’t believe she’s gone

When you’re still waiting for the snow to fall
Doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all

Shake Up Christmas

Another Christmas newcomer is this one by Train called Shake Up Christmas. If you think the music sounds a bit familiar, that's because it's used by Coca-Cola as their Christmas song for 2010, so there's their melody somewhere in there. So here you go, another music video and lyrics:


Shake Up Christmas - Train (Lyrics)
Shake up the happiness
Wake up the happiness
Shake up the happiness
It’s Christmas time

There’s a story that I was told
And I wanna tell the world
Before I get to old
and don’t remember it
So let’s December it
And reassemble it oh yeah

Oh Santa!

You should already know about Mariah Carey's Christmas songs a long time ago, especially her classic All I Want For Christmas Is You. Recently she's released a new Christmas album, and included is her new single Oh Santa! So I thought I'll put the link to her music video(for those who aren't viewing this as the original blog post) as well as some lyrics here so you can add this new song to your Christmas repertoire or playlist and sing along.

Wait. This is Mariah Carey. Most of her stuff is very hard to sing for normal humans. Maybe you shouldn't attempt to sing after all. At least know what she's singing. :P


Oh Santa! - Mariah Carey (Lyrics)

Santas gonna come and make him mine this Christmas...
Santa's gonna come and make him mine, mine
(Oh Santa)
Santa's gonna come and make him mine this Christmas
Santa's gonna come and make him mine, mine
(Oh Santa)

X-ray Machines Are Super

Snow is falling,

Sleigh bells are ringing,

Reindeer are flying,

Snowmen are bumping around,

Coloured lights are flashing,

Choirs are singing,

And a jolly big guy in a red suit and wonky hat is invading every residential home.

Which means...

24 Dec 2010

'Tis The Night Before Christmas...

...and I am at home blogging. Only my parents and I are stirring in the house, but not a single mouse. In fact I haven't even encountered any mice anywhere around my house my entire life. We don't have any chimney to hang any non-existent stockings on for a red fat intruder to fill up with.

Nobody's sleeping at all at home. No weird dreams about sugar plums, and we don't wear silly night caps here because it's too darn HOT and HUMID! We don't have a lawn to inspect(our smaller balcony's the closest we have), and I don't see the moon anywhere; it's just a pitch black sky tonight. We won't see some big guy on a levitating sleigh pulled by reindeer at this time. I won't hear him shout at Dasher or Dancer or Prancer or Vixen or Comet or Cupid or Donder or Blitzen. Rudolph... I won't know if he's there or not since he can easily be mistaken for aircraft with his red illuminated nose.

15 Dec 2010

Powered by Boredom

Wow. It suddenly started raining heavily. Which by right is supposed to be usual weather for this time period, but so far the weather's been behaving quite erratically. I don't know if this is due to global warming or some super villain using a mega weather ray to control weather at will.

I had not planned on what to write about for this blog. I just thought that maybe if I just jump into this, I'd come up with something. I don't even have a title at this point. Who knows what I'll write for the rest of this post?

Just writing about what happened in my life recently is not really a good option. I hardly do anything significant during the holidays, because that's what holidays are meant for to me! Apart from receiving my Finale 2011 software a few days ago there's almost nothing else to talk about myself.

8 Dec 2010

Christmas Again

PHEW! I have gone through a LOT of reediting my posts because I just switched to a new template. I thought that it may be time to make this blog less... um... teen-like? And maybe more professional. But after applying the new template a critical piece of HTML code got rendered useless: all my "More >>" links became non-functional, so all the posts burst out into full length!

Luckily Blogger is advanced enough to have their own expandable-post feature; just by using
<!--more-->
I can put in a post break wherever I want! And the good news is that these new links won't pop up unnecessarily like at the My Info page, only where I specify.

Anyway, I'm currently too tired to think of new stuff to write about Christmas, because of all that time rummaging through and fixing all the previous posts. And through that process I found some old posts related to Christmas too. So I thought it would be a good idea to just let you go back through my memories, and maybe relearn some things about Christmas!

17 Nov 2010

Remembering The Past Again

Err.... I just realised that my Past Entry #6 popped up recently. And I screwed up the date. It was supposed to be before the O Level HCL exam, but I think I put it a week too early. Oh well, I can't change anything now...

Which reminds me, I have yet to schedule new Past Entries for the future. I'll probably spam a lot during this holiday period.

You know, I expect some of my classmates to be thinking back on the 2 years we spent as a class, and the 4 years we spent as a secondary student. There are those who say, "Why the hell would I want to remember all those horrible times we spent doing homework, getting scolded by teachers or getting booked by prefects???" I still think everyone has at least one point in time where they enjoyed something in school. It's very rare for the two extremes, one who likes every single second spent in school, the other who hates every second, to exist. The former is likely to be in a world of his/her own, while the latter is probably already transferred to another school.

12 Nov 2010

Past Entry 6

29th August 2010, 9.40 pm

Well it's really been a while since I did a Past Entry, I'm not sure where I should schedule this yet... maybe after finishing this post I'll decide.

Right now I'm diving into the last week of Term 3, and then try to salvage what's left of my 1-week school holiday period, after all my @#*&$^*% projects have eaten into it. And the National Day rally speech is airing on TV, but I usually don't watch Lee Hsien Loong deliver his speech anyway.

I just remembered, so far nobody's ever commented on my past entries. Is it because they think I didn't actually schedule them to be posted in the future? Did they think I'm faking all this stuff? Well, this Past Entry concept was mainly meant for myself, as a unique way of rediscovering myself, or maybe laughing and realising how fate has changed me from the way I was at the time of writing, to the way I will be when I re-read the post.

(Which date should I set this post on? Hmm...)

8 Nov 2010

Stereotyped II

Gosh, three more days to the HCL O Level exams. :(

I've heard a lot of classmates already say things like "how time flies", "I wish I could stay in secondary school forever", "I'll miss the teachers" etc. And now they're scrambling to spend as much time together as possible before the class becomes split up and we all embark on the journey known as Junior College education. Honestly we all should have done all this stuff beforehand instead of creating feelings of remorse and regret, but then we end up wasting away some of our precious time still, probably because we were still young and bashful, not knowing what the future holds.

We students have all certainly learnt many things about the subjects we study, but also about the types of people that we have to interact with, including the teachers around us who are supposedly there to guide us through our learning journey. Some are pleasant, some are harder to get along with. Some are pretty much normal, some are a bit quirky. Don't forget that the teachers are partly responsible for the drama and colour in your life as a student!

31 Oct 2010

Stereotyped

WOW. I have not posted for a few weeks! Must be pretty dusty around here. So to repay, I'm making a super long post!

Then again, very few people actually dedicate themselves to read the latest posts here anyway, so does it matter much?

Well the exams are almost done except for one teeny weeny but very important O LEVEL HIGHER CHINESE EXAM. The last few days have been murder. Nothing except for Chinese lessons. This is why we need variety. Even on the last few days of school we still have to stay back for those lessons!

Anyway it's already near Halloween. And the first day of the Subaru challenge. Kinda sad that for some it's difficult to decide whether to brave the horrendous whether weather and win a car, or to dress up in a freaky/funny/frightening costume(that's three F's in a row) and go to a Halloween party to unwind and scare some people.

Unfortunately, the fact that it's almost Halloween also indicates that it's almost the end of school, and in my case the end of secondary education... I hope. And after many years of education, I've not only learnt so much information related to our academics, but also what kind of people exist around me. I've sorted them into various stereotypes, some which I think you may have experienced too. If you don't think you know a particular person around you that fits a certain stereotype, it might be YOU!

10 Oct 2010

Next Wave

EOY. I hate that acronym.

It can strike fear in many students. Just mentioning it can cause some to have horrible flashbacks of their previous results. Results that are usually disastrous.

Teachers aren't fond of EOYs either. Their tasks start months before with the setting of the questions. During the exams, some of them act as security guards, scouting out for anyone trying to commit the foul act of cheating. After the exam ends, more teachers are gathered to mark hundreds of scripts. Sometimes conflicts happen due to the changing of benchmarks, which can frustrate both teachers and students.

Examine Student A and Student B. Before the exams, Student A has already started revision months ago, creating his own notes which are more effective than the textbooks. He has already tried out various assessment papers from previous years, and even requested for extra tuition, both from the school teachers and the tutors from outside. He is still revising a day before the exam just to be sure, although it is really unnecessary.

Student B has only just started revision two weeks ago. He knows that he isn't really excellent in any of his subjects, but he has procrastinated for so long. Only now has the urgency and severity of the situation hit him. He is desperately flipping through textbooks and past exercises, hoping that he would absorb all that information in such little time. He is begging other classmates for their notes to compensate for his own lack of notes, expecting that their notes would make it much easier for him to relearn everything.

26 Sep 2010

iDunno

Hmm... I'm blogging on a late Sunday night again. Hopefully this doesn't become a pattern... unless it's the school holidays :P

Have you seen the new Twitter layout yet? Personally I find it's kind of better in that you can cram more things in it without leaving the same page, and without too much cluttered text. It's pretty neat. Problem is, with the section full of tweets now aligned further to the left, some people's background images will now become partially covered. That's quite an issue for a significant number of Twitter users. Luckily(or not) mine has just a simple bitmap pattern tiled all over so it doesn't matter if it's blocked out by tweets...

Some things happened in this week... recently I got not one, but TWO iPhone 4s! Well, technically I didn't actually get them, they're for my brother and father. I kind of played around with it to see any differences from the previous version, and I can say that the screen display looks clearer. However, the voice command function is pretty limited and usually inaccurate. There aren't many commands it can accept, and it sometimes interprets what you said wrongly. A few attempts showed the iPhone trying to call the wrong contact several times.

19 Sep 2010

Night

I know a lot of my peeps(that word is so weird to me) have been staying up late at night watching soccer. So does this make me abnormal that I'm not as football crazy as them?

Anyway I thought of just popping in this post since I can't really sleep properly yet. Must have been the Coke I drank earlier. Somehow caffeine's power only kicks in when I try to sleep, otherwise I still feel tired when I'm doing stuff like homework. Or does academic-related stuff already have this sleep-inducing effect? That probably explains a lot of dozed-off students I see in my school. :|

You know, I think we should all make an effort to stay up really really late for one or two nights. Not for the purpose of trying to look like pandas or vampires. Rather, you get to notice things at night which you usually miss when you sleep. Even by just looking outside my window, my HDB area already looks different, even peaceful.

10 Sep 2010

Late Night Bloghopping

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

It's past 1am and I'm bored.

I'm going to snoop around.

Find me some new blogs which I find interesting.

And put some links here.

Let's go

29 Aug 2010

Just Thinking Back

Almost three quarters of 2010 are gone already. There are probably some students out there who must be thinking, OMIGOD I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S ALMOST END OF MY SEC SCH LIFE!!! MUST SPEND TIME WITH CLASSMATES BEFORE IT ENDS! I rather put the EOYs as a priority first before the partying and having fun. Who'd want to spend the December holidays in a bad mood after knowing you were horrible in the exams?

And yet, I can't really imagine myself being part of that graduation party/dinner together with my schoolmates. It might be because most of my class will move on into the JC side together anyway, but I think it's more than that. Somehow I don't really feel I can be as wild/fun-going/crazy as those in the same classroom as me. Most of my class is really united and have forged strong bonds that would be hard to break... and maybe hard to understand.

For some reason, I don't think I'm as able to trust other people as easily as they did.

15 Aug 2010

Let The Games Begin

First I'm sorry that I didn't manage to post in time last week, mainly because of all the mayhem happening due to the epic NDP + YOG combo. We had to go back on Saturday 2 weeks ago for a double celebration of National Day and the Olympic torch arrival. The performance items were so-so in my opinion, but the main thing is that we saw the torch bearer run on the red carpet(yes, really given the red carpet treatment), who passed it to our senior deputy headmaster, who then proceeded to light up the Olympic lantern meant to store the flame temporarily. Then we had simultaneous teacher vs students matches on the field which I wasn't too interested in, while the two mascots Lyo and Merly were wandering around our school taking pictures. Finally the flame left the lantern and 4 RI students participated in the torch relay. So there.

Then on National Day my family and I went to Marina Sands hotel(yes, that super high hotel with the pool on top) so we could get a nice view of the fireworks and fighter jets from the Padang later on. Tips: book your room MUCH earlier because it can get very crowded during major events like this, and order takeaway food to bring to the hotel because the food sold there can be EXPENSIVE. Oh right, the fireworks. Turns out we got more than we expected. Sure the fireworks were really spectacular... a bit too spectacular: we were actually too close to the fireworks, and we were on the 55th floor, about the same height as the fireworks themselves. Result: fireworks that almost explode in your face, and become too big to take photographs of properly. All we got were super bright flashes that looked nothing like the typical fireworks. So there.

1 Aug 2010

Are You Dreaming?

The whole Inception hype is still going around, and I think a lot of people's minds have been blown by the movie. But more people are also becoming more interested in dreams, particularly lucid dreams(dreams in which you are conscious that you are dreaming, while dreaming). They've seen the guys in the movie do it several times with a special machine, but unfortunately we have no such equipment to help us consciously participate in our own dreams! Still, it is possible to initiate lucid dreaming, although it would take a LOT of practice and determination to achieve such a state.

I can say that in almost all your normal dreams, you just simply "go with the flow" of the dream, not realizing that you're actually dreaming, until you wake up. Then you act all surprised/bewildered/angry/frustrated etc. that your dream didn't last longer and you just want to return to that dream, but you can't! So how do we make sure that we know when we're dreaming???

Interestingly, most methods are mainly about putting ideas deep in your head, kind of like performing self-inception! I heard many sources recommend that before sleeping, you have to consciously tell yourself that you WILL have a dream and that you WILL remember that you're dreaming. Sounds silly if you're saying that out loud, but that fixes that idea in your head, so that even if you drift into sleep, that idea may still resurface while you're dreaming. The more you do this, the more likely you'll succeed.

18 Jul 2010

Dream A Little Dream

Tonight I watched Inception, and I say that it is original, thrilling, emotional and ingenious!

ESPECIALLY the originality of the concept of dreams. I can't believe that someone can actually come up with an entire theory of dreams... and dreams within dreams. No wonder a lot of critics are simply astounded by this movie and gave it big ratings! But maybe this dream theory might be too complex for people to understand. So I'll try to explain it without any spoilers.(The explanations start after this paragraph.) But if you want to try to understand it yourself during the movie, STOP READING NOW!!!

12 Jul 2010

Clash of the Animal Prophets

From my friend's status:
Q. Compare the smartness of an octopus versus a parakeet. Explain your answer, giving relevant examples to justify your choice. Your answer will be marked using the LORMS. [20]
Sounds like an interesting challenge. Okay, I usually suck at writing essays. I won't answer in essay form, but I'm still intrigued by this question anyway. Is this even worth 20 marks???

For the clueless, recently two animals have emerged as having the ability to predict the outcome of the matches in the FIFA World Cup this year. Paul(or Paolo as some argue that he was found in Italian waters) is an octopus kept in an aquarium in Germany, and has successfully predicted all the matches that Germany participated in, even those which were lost. Mani is a parakeet kept by an Indian fortune-teller in Serangoon right here in Singapore, who has also displayed a similar uncanny ability. Mani has failed rarely, but at least he isn't completely focused on one country's matches only.

Paul's method of prediction: 2 boxes filled with mussels are placed into the aquarium, each one with a flag of one of the teams in the match. Paul then floats?/swims?/glides? to one of the boxes, and whichever country who's represented on the box would be the winning team. Usually Paul takes about an hour to decide, but recently he took only 3 MINUTES before picking Spain to win in the finals!

Mani's method of prediction: the fortune-teller puts 2 rolled-up pieces of paper with a country's name and flag printed on each one. Then Mani simply picks up one of them with his beak, and whichever one he picked would be the winner. Quite a simple method, but a very expensive one(I think $50 per soccer prediction!). However, Mani picked Netherlands to win the finals, and both animals can't be right at the same time(or maybe it'll end in a tie???), so one of them has to be wrong. I think some people are hoping it's Paul, because that would be more shocking than the other way around...

4 Jul 2010

Post-Exam Depression

I can't say that I was excited or jubilant on the way to school on Monday. It's probably the exact opposite. And it's because of exams!

Not that I'm taking more of them after the June holidays. Okay, maybe I had one short Chinese book test, but that's insignificant. Normally secondary students would have already known their exam results before the holidays started, but for RI it's quite different because we only got them within the first week of school! Almost all the teachers said that they need time to go through all the exam scripts, except for chemistry, for which our scores were already revealed.

Some of us might think it's better to release such results after the holidays because if their results sucked then they wouldn't spend the holidays depressed. But I rather have them revealed before because I don't want to be kept in suspense. I'm not sure which is worse, to spend your holidays feeling sad or anxious?

27 Jun 2010

Last Day

Whoops! Sorry for not posting for a loooooooong time. I was too busy enjoying myself during the holidays, especially since it's *only* one month of freedom. It's rare that I am actually preoccupied with getting myself NOT preoccupied with work. Hope that didn't sound too confusing to you.

I have limited time on my hands. Perhaps I'll add another post to fill in extra details somewhere in the following week.

So far in the holiday I've gone to the Pixar exhibition at the Science Centre, watched the Fan Yang Gazillion Bubble Show(amidst screaming kids), done my school homework(whatever's the most urgent), and laze around. :P

That's about it I guess minus the details.

I'll add on to this post later. Bye... :(

8 Jun 2010

Approaching the Games

Sorry for not posting for more than a week. Too preoccupied trying to squeeze all the fun out of the limited free time out of my pseudo-holidays. Right now I'm just blogging + watching the series finale of FlashForward, while there is a cool rain outside my window. I've been wondering why the guys in the show call it a FlashForward instead of a "vision"? Is it just an excuse to keep repeating the show title???

The Youth Olympic Games are approaching, which means a lot of training. And a lot of worldwide recognition too, but that's not the main thing. I think my school might end up being used for a few events too, but I'm not sure what. I guess we can treat this like a sports exchange, since everybody would get to know the standard of athletes outside their country. I suspect that China would be sweeping a LOT of medals, but who knows what would happen? Unlike FlashForward...

Have you heard the Youth Olympic Games theme song yet? It's been broadcast so many times on Channel 5, you might get the tune in your head. So I looked up the lyrics for the fun of it, see if there's any weird thing about it:

1 Jun 2010

Past Entry 5

3rd April 2010

Well! June is here already! That means that I've already gone through the first ordeal known as the mid-year exams. Unfortunately that also means I have even less time to prepare for the end-of-year exams. And I have absolutely know idea how I have done at this point, since I can't see into the future at this point of time too.

Even though the first thing that comes to mind at the word "June" is "holidays", I know that it will be accompanied by the word "homework". Seriously, is there like a level of activity which the school must maintain in students in Singapore??? It's not like we self-destruct or disintegrate if we're given too little work. Rather, I think that happens when teachers do the exact opposite.

Anyway, the more important word here is still "holidays". This is a really good opportunity to relax and charge up before the final leg of the marathon known as secondary education. Maybe I'll go to the Sentosa IR and visit Universal Studios, but so will hundreds -- even thousands of people will be there too, hogging all the attractions! Another alternative is the Pixar exhibition at the Singapore Science Centre, which is at its only stop in South-east Asia, so I'll need to catch it fast!

30 May 2010

(Pseudo)Holidays

I prefer to call them by that because it gives you an incomplete sense of freedom. Although it temporarily allows us to enjoy lesson-free periods, the holiday homework and CCAs and holiday remedial lessons keep us deeply rooted to the schools. It's basically extending the leash of the dogs, but they're still attached to the leash. Not that I'm saying that schools treat us like dogs, though.

Sooooooooo, I have Chinese + English work. Even though it's just two subjects(I think it's only these two, can someone clarify???), there's still a lot of work for each of the subjects. Chinese homework consists of a big compilation of newspaper article reviews, and preparation for a book test. Except that this "book" is a Chinese student magazine with tons of articles inside, and I have to go through ALL of them because I don't know which ones the questions will target! There are probably more than 20-30 articles in there if I'm not wrong...

English is not really better off; besides the showcase portfolio(mentioned a few posts back I think), there's the reading assignment again. This time, instead of individual work, the format becomes something like a book club discussion. We all read up on a book, and then each person discusses on different aspects of the book. The problem is, there are only individual marks given, which depend ENTIRELY on the content you have to discuss, and what you're given to discuss might be based on your luck...

23 May 2010

R.I.P

IN MEMORY OF DR. GOH KENG SWEE

This afternoon, the 23rd of May 2010, Dr. Goh Keng Swee's funeral was broadcast live in Singapore. Many people, including Members of Parliament, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew attended the funeral.

Even though Dr. Goh's an alumnus of ACS, and I'm from RI, he's still a founding father of Singapore, who has in numerous ways contributed to her development into what she has become today. Hence, even RI students should pay their respects to him, and recognise his efforts.

From Wikipedia:

21 May 2010

Past Entry 4

13th March 2010


I nearly forgot about the Past Entries!!! I suddenly remembered when Past Entry 2 suddenly showed up today... :P

It's the start of the March holidays. At least it's good that there's a break, but it's more like a tiny crack. One week is not my idea of "sufficient time to rest", especially when I'm Secondary 4 now and preparing for the final league of my secondary education.

The holiday homework also eats up quite some time into the holiday period too! I have homework assigned from at least 3 subjects(didn't bother to count). And I still have to go back to school anyway for guitar practice. The guitar ensemble's preparing for a competition, and I think we're entering the open category. Frankly I don't know if we're prepared enough. Individually the members may play well, but they may not be able to cooperate together as an ensemble of nearly 50.

17 May 2010

The Good & the Bad

Whew! Quite a relief that my mid-year tests are over! The pressure was insane, and the examination venue was freaking cold! I wouldn't be surprised if a penguin was spotted in there making itself comfortable. Nevertheless I managed to do my (supposed) best. And over the course of the next few days the horrifying truth will be revealed...

...but I still have one LAST test for the first semester, and that's the MEP group performance. It really feels like the last troublesome barrier I have to jump over, while everybody is still in euphoria over the fact that they managed to conquer the exams. It's seems unfair to me, but then again I'm the one who wanted to join the MEP in the first place, so I'll make do with that. But come on, why have the practical test IMMEDIATELY after the exam week?!? After a runner has just completed a marathon, do you ask him to join a sprinting competition after that? Even then, the runner would have already warmed up quite a lot, but in my case I had ABSOLUTELY NO TIME to practise with my partner at all in the last few weeks! I'm sure a lot of people would have gone rusty without that much practice.

However, it's definitely too late to do anything about it, especially since the practical's tomorrow T.T That's why I took the last few days to quickly catch up and smoothen out as many kinks as possible. It's really like praying for a miracle to happen, and I don't think the teachers realise that at all. Or maybe they do, but then they think we might be able to sacrifice our precious revision time for our music, which in our situation is basically a bad move. I just wish they moved the practical to next week, and prevent us from being heavily handicapped because of our tests...

9 May 2010

Invasion of the Exams

My first exams are tomorrow. In fact, less than 12 hours from now. Even if I survive, I think I'll suffer heavy damage...

The last 3 years were easier to deal with, simply because the mid-year exams didn't exist in our school at that time! All we had were small common tests that contributed to our grades, slowly leading up to the year-end exams. And now? These common tests no longer had such value, and instead shifted towards the mid-year exams because "according to the school population, many complained about having too many tests". However many students, including myself, beg to differ, because we never even had such complains in the first place, and in fact we rather have the small tests than mid-year exams because it gives us more chances to bring up our grades! D:

Nothing that we can do about it now anyway. Just which kind of students did the school actually survey??? Definitely not my classmates...

The subjects I'm tested tomorrow are Higher Chinese and Social Studies. I suppose they could be considered as my "nightmare" subjects, but then again I'm worried about ALL of them anyway. For some reason there are always those particular questions that I answer wrongly, and later realise what the correct answer is after I've finished the test. Or even worse, I realise it when I have less than a minute left, and I desperately try to correct my mistake, but then the teacher says "TIME'S UP! PUT DOWN YOUR PENS!" in the middle of writing and then I become frustrated because I know I've already lost precious marks. Like when you suddenly know which wire to cut, but then the timer of the bomb is at 0:02, except in the exam I don't get blasted into tiny bits.

3 May 2010

HAWT

Oh god. The weather here is insane! I think a lot of people are all complaining about the heat wave, even those outside of Singapore. The plants are withering, people are sweating, water is evaporating... Everyone here is probably wishing for some rain, or at least more clouds to block out the sun.

The heat is surely making it harder for students to concentrate. In school, those who don't have the luxury of air-con classrooms are already having trouble paying attention to the teacher, and the teachers would probably be feeling to uncomfortable, thus affecting the lessons in general. Outside school, the heat becomes too unbearable for us to do revision, so some of us would flee towards the nearest library or café. The scorching heat also adds torture to those who drive cars; cars which happen to be parked in places without any shelter will instantly turn into a sauna room! Passengers will become victims of burnt bums, and the driver gets additional burns on hands(from touching the steering wheel).

I thought this series of heat waves was already done a month ago, but it seems like it hasn't finished. I suppose the earlier prediction of this horrible weather ending in June is becoming more likely. As if it wasn't bad enough, tonight the movie Sunshine is showing! >:( Just seeing the blazing sun close up makes one person feel hot again!

25 Apr 2010

I (?) School

School can really be the source of most of my problems. For example they have strict rules on hair, like no hair touching the ears/collar, no hair covering the eyes etc. And that's why I just had a haircut just now. I'd rather have my hair cut late in the night than have it cut by the barber and end up a few dollars poorer, and walking away with a stupid haircut that will surely damage any person's self-esteem. I've seen several victims before, other than newly enlisted NS men.

Another problem is the exams. Although it is the most standard method of seeing how much a person has learnt, it is also a very pressurizing one that causes unwanted stress before, during AND after the exams! There have been a portion of students that have freaked out because they still don't remember how to differentiate a certain expression, or how to test for reducing sugars in a sample, or what factors are important for a society to progress and become a civil society, or what's the difference between a tombolo and a spit...

Then comes other things like projects and competitions that come and fill in the gaps in your life that are not already occupied by the exams. Because they think that the education system wouldn't be complete without it. Normally packages are better the more stuff there is in it, but it's the opposite in this case. Even the new show Singapore Talking is going to touch on the question of whether we are over-stretching our children here. I wonder if there will actually be secondary students who will call in and voice their (obvious) opinions?

18 Apr 2010

Title of the blog post.

Optional greeting. Brief summary of what recently happened in my life, usually school.

Complaint about schoolwork/being bored/life in general.

Introduction to some topic that may or may not be relevant to earlier content.

1st possible place to indicate boredom, therefore a need to discuss such a topic.

More elaborate content on brought-up topic, perhaps citing some sources if necessary.

Interruption of content at "More" link. (Only can be seen on the blog site itself)

10 Apr 2010

Bohemian Rhapsody

Just yesterday morning, a school choir from I-forgot-the-place-but-it-has-St-Andrew's-in-it came to our school to perform a few songs in our atrium. The one that has a very tall ceiling. The one that disperses sound until its quality gets reduced significantly. The one that allows other sounds from outside(e.g. students playing, laughing) to leak in and further ruin the performance. Nevertheless, it was still a great performance. They even proved their flexibility by singing songs from different genres and styles, like Christian songs, old pop songs, barbershop etc.

One thing that was quite unique was their rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody. They stuck as close as possible to the original, and the piano part was played out exactly. Then I wondered, how did such a song really get so famous? I suspect that the accompanying music just sounded nice and memorable, because the lyrics are very odd! Not that they completely don't make sense, but the lyrics are more abstract than those in most songs.

Bohemian Rhapsody was performed by Queen and written by band member Freddie Mercury, for their album A Night at the Opera, which is probably why there is an operatic segment in the song. Like the title suggests, the song's structure follows more closely to a rhapsody, so it has no chorus or recapitulation of any kind. It managed to stay at the top of the UK Singles Chart for 9 weeks, and again for another 5 weeks, right after Mercury's death! By the way, the operatic segment is made of only the band members' vocals, layered numerous times to create the choir effect. (Yes, the high part is sung by another band member, Roger Taylor!) At that time they could mix only 24 tracks at a time(I think), so no wonder it took 3 weeks to complete just that part!

28 Mar 2010

A Small Blackout

Yesterday, several countries around the world all participated in Earth Hour, by turning off their lights at 8.30pm local time for one hour. The Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, Changi Airport in Singapore... but not everybody was into it, at least for Singapore.

It seems that although some places in the city did participate, it wasn't so happening in the heartland areas. I saw a news report showing that most Singaporeans don't seem to be in the act yet. They took photographs of one housing flat area, once during Earth Hour, and once in the same time span, but on the next night. There wasn't much difference at all: there were still about the same number of rooms lighted up!

The main reason why they didn't participate could most likely be unwillingness; they either don't want to spend their time at home in darkness, or don't think that turning the lights off for one hour would make that much of a difference. Some of them don't even know that Earth Hour exists in the first place! It's not entirely because they don't bother to find out about it; a portion of the residents who live in the flats may not be fluent in English, so they may not understand what Earth Hour is about in the first place...

21 Mar 2010

Fun's Over... for now

Bleargh. One week's up. Doesn't seem capable enough of giving anybody "a good break" that lets us "recharge and prepare for the next term". I bet most guys in my school don't even have the energy to last through the week!

Right now there's this TV magic program Keith Barry: The Escape - Live. Don't think I'll have time to watch the whole show(or write a proper post) though. Most parents think that letting their child sleep earlier will make them wake up earlier and become less tired in school the next day, especially right after a holiday. For me it is kind of the reverse: when I sleep later I tend to get that effect! This can work even on weekends, although my parents usually think I'm just sleeping all the way till 10 or 11am, but actually I just went back to sleep again after waking up at 7!

(Speaking of magic, I wish my problems will disappear like magic too...)

One thing that usually happens right after the holidays is that I have a nagging feeling that I forgot something, but I just don't know what until the teacher or a classmate brings it up. Strangely it doesn't matter how much time the teachers leave for us to do the homework, I'll always miss something. I wonder if other students suffer from this too?

12 Mar 2010

Past Entry 2

12 Dec 2009, around 11pm

Well at least this entry is a bit further ahead into the future than my first one.

On this day, I'm watching Miss World 2009 live tonight. One important point: Miss World is different from Miss Universe, which means this has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH RIS LOW. Anyway, this pageant is held in Johannesburg, and the intro was quite energetic. Hmm, I'm not sure what Miss Singapore World's national costume's like, if there's any.

Hang on, now there's this event called Dances of the World; it DOES show off all the national costumes! And it looks pretty lively too! However, I have absolutely no idea what Miss Singapore World would dance or wear now, but I don't think everybody might dance anyway. Miss Japan looks like the most delicate dance, with one of the biggest dresses worn. Others' dances were quite lively! At least this made the national costume showcase livelier...

7 Mar 2010

Holidays?

One more week to the March holidays. Time isn't really on my side, is it?

Although I do find that the holidays give me some time to rest, I think schools are just too worried that we'll completely forget what we've learnt in school. It's even more ridiculous for the March holidays when it's only a week long! Typically, teachers will pile on extra holiday homework for students, who then have to deal with going back to school for CCA.

This isn't really a school holiday period: it's just a week without lessons!

I'm not saying that the holidays are so packed up by school stuff that I don't have time to do leisurely things, but perhaps the schools should loosen up a bit. It's near impossible that all the students get their memories of whatever they learnt in school completely wiped out of their heads. One exception would be when a super villain uses an amnesia-inducing weapon on all the schools and cause Singapore's education system to suffer. (DO NOT USE THIS IDEA!)

Unfortunately against most students' wishes, we can't extend the holiday periods. We're actually lucky having these four holiday periods, which is usually more than in other countries that only get summer and winter breaks. We're lucky to get a chance to rest every three months or so, while they have to endure for about 6 months...?

21 Feb 2010

"Tweet This!"

Yay! I added a "Tweet This" link to the end of my blog posts. Not sure if it works though, need someone to test it out. I can't do it because it'll look silly if I tweet that I'm reading my own blog posts... :S

I'll make this short. I wanted to post this yesterday, but I was too busy helping out my brother in composing music. And this is another song, but I won't say for which event yet. I'll just say the organizer of this competition is quite well known to Singapore.

And speaking of Twitter earlier, I've gotten a boost in Twitter activity. I seem to be tweeting more often and following more people now, compared to before the CNY break. Probably because I finally had the time to do so.

13 Feb 2010

Year of the Tiger... and the Day of Romance

It's really quite rare that these two holidays can actually coincide; it has only happened about 3 times since 1900, and probably won't happen again for a few decades! There's been quite a dilemma about which should be celebrated here in Singapore. The Chinese people have been wondering about whether to spend time with their partners or with their families, whether love and romance is more important than family bonding etc. There's little in common between these two events: besides the plentiful use of red, there is also the dinner(family reunion or date), and the loss of money(given away or spent)!

Other than that, they are very VERY different. The receiving party in V-Day is usually the girl, whereas for CNY both give and receive. On V-Day items given include chocolates, flowers, bracelets etc, while CNY usually just involves oranges and red packets. V-Day celebrations are usually most evident at night with all the romantic dinner dates, while the CNY festive mood is present before and after dark. This is why the Chinese usually have to pick just one to go along with, since each event has totally contrasting demands from the person!

6 Feb 2010

Break This Code!

uxq eai hiaswlrj wvttfdc oi 
wqmvxl rdiy esykhtqjt fhzq hhi 
soerbcn sxfeyby ugd ziypu tnbbz 
ol mm nmcsq


Don't understand the gibberish above? That's what this whole post is about, fortunately. You'll find out what it means later.

Ciphers have been used for many years already, even by Julius Caesar. He used a very simple method that most of us probably know already, which is named after him: the Caesar cipher/shift. You take your normal alphabet, and simply shift it a few letters to get your cipher! For example:

Plain:  ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Cipher: EFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCD

In this case, HEAD in plain text would translate to LIEH in cipher text. Pretty simple! Similarly, the cipher text FVMRK QSVI EQQS would mean BRING MORE AMMO. (If I didn't make any mistakes)

However, most people wouldn't be stupid enough to neatly space out all the words; they can lump in into one lump like FVMRKQSVIEQQS(and you're supposed to be smart enough to figure out what BRINGMOREAMMO means), or even worse, create fixed letter "blocks"(like 3-letter groups): FVM RKQ SVI EQQ S, and this can add a challenge to whoever's trying to decode the intercepted message.

There's a variation to this cipher: you decide on a keyword(s) to use, e.g. SINGAPOREAN. That would be used for the first few letters of the cipher alphabet, but removing redundant letters like the second A and N. So you have this:

24 Jan 2010

A Simple Experiment

I'm not sure if you've heard of this before, but I've definitely already told some people about this incident that happened about 2 years ago. Maybe one and a half, but I'm positive that I was in secondary 2.

It was supposed to be Maths next, but our maths teacher was late. My class of 31 guys was chattering away about who-knows-what and wandering around the classroom.

Now I have known that some students in this school like to just join other people in whatever they're doing. And in most cases it tends to be unnecessary/pointless things they're doing. For example, when some guy suddenly shouts BOOMZ, others who know him might join in the BOOMZ parade, and maybe utter things like "bigini", "leopard preens", "loud and rad", "something that shouts ME" etc. Or if someone suddenly coughs loudly, others around him might start imitating his cough until a teacher yells everybody to shut up.

So I wondered if my class will also do the same thing.

16 Jan 2010

Achievement (Un)Locked?

I thought that now that I don't have to do any Research Education project this year, the other projects should be easier. Nope.

Now I have this epic task of making a showcase portfolio, where everything I have done in my 4 years of secondary school will be relieved and presented in its glory...? What have I done that is so fantastic and marvelous? I can only think of two, and the rest is pretty dull and ordinary. Oh right, not only do I have to compile all my so-called "achievements"(well some are good achievements), I also need to reflect on them. Why did I do this at that time? What could I have done better? What did I learn from this? Who did I do this with and why? What leadership skills did I practise? How could I apply what I had learnt from this? Questions, questions, questions!!!

And I think there's also oral defense involved, which means even more questions that are either annoying, confusing, or possibly unanswerable because it happened 3 years ago and you completely forgot what happened then! Really, my secondary 1 year is a complete blur to me now; I only remember certain instances from the orientation camp and other miscellaneous things. Secondary 2 isn't much clearer, maybe except for the last few days where everybody had nothing to do since exams were over and lessons were converted into leisure time.

9 Jan 2010

First Week

Wow. I didn't expect so much to suddenly come at me in school, especially for the first week. I thought it would be more relaxed because of the first lessons with your new teachers, and the mandatory explanation of the 2010 syllabus. Speaking of which, the school stopped with the practice of small common tests that contribute to your grades, and instead revert back to old-fashioned mid-year + end-of-year exams. While this dramatically reduces the number of important tests, this also adds pressure on the importance of these major exams; we don't have any other tests to boost our score if we screw up... :(

The first day, which unfortunately happened to fall on a Monday(insert Garfield reference), was quite short. No lesson at all, just so-called "teacher-student interaction" for one and a half hours. Of course most of that time was spent on the "student" part. And then all the sec 4s went for the Castles Can Fly thing, meant to foster interaction and stronger bondage between batch-mates, and further emphasize the importance of teamwork. Why are we doing this when we've done 3 other orientation programmes for the last 3 years? Maybe one is not enough, but four might be too much.

What is this Castles Can Fly is all about? The whole batch is split into 3 major "tribes" named after the 3 main colours of the school(wanna guess?). The scenario is that we are the only ones left on Earth in the year 2040 and we are supposed to build our own future schools, based on what our tribes focus on. Two questions come to my mind: Why are we building schools at the age of 45 or 46?!? And if we students are the only survivors, is there any point of surviving further since there's no way to... ahem... repopulate?

1 Jan 2010

TWENTY TEN

3....

2....

1...





HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


H
A
P
P
Y

N
E
W

Y
E
A
R
!
!
!