Saturday, 2 November 2013

CELTA: Journal 4 - Damage Report

So remember how I posted how I was doing oh-kay at the mid-point of my CELTA course? Well, apparently that was my peak. I'm hitting my downward spiral now, and trying to maneuver myself out of it without creating any damage.

1. I'm concerned about sneaking in my work during my day-job working hours.
Before that I was totally oblivious and did whatever I could to make sure I finished my work ahead, as long as I didn't interfere with my work in the office. In the past week, I was making a conscious effort to only work on my course stuff during lunch hour and after work. I'll admit it's better for my focus. But that meant that I need to practice more discipline when I need to finish my work at home.

2. I'm seriously lacking sleep.
The lack of sleep has finally taken a toll on me. So much that even on nights where I make it a point to switch off and sleep before 12am, I still feel so deprived. It's interfered with my short-term memory and focus. Sometimes it screws with my mood too, and my face >_< Not pretty sight indeed. I've decided to take every Friday off for the next 2 weeks so that I can complete my assignment and lesson plans on time.

3. Immune system is taking a hit!
My body has been having allergic reactions and a myriad of other conditions. The only reason it hasn't entirely shut down on me is because I make an effort to feed my body with lots of supplements and make sure I eat... and I've been eating a lot.

4. Gaining weight!!!
I feel like a blob. I know beneath my blubber is my body screaming to get back in shape and in good health. But the best I can do for it now is to make sure it has enough nourishment. I'm so sorry blubber... we'll need to hang in there for another 2 weeks before I send you away.

5. I do everything but work - sometimes.
When I get going... boy do I get going. But when I choose not to, like now :D I take forever to get to it. And I don't just get sidetracked by Facebook or my beautiful bed. I'd start mending stuff, doing arts and craft, reading; basically anything but my assignment, because I'm feeling stuck :( Oh well...

There's a lot more shit happening, but I guess I'm ready to get back to my assignment and hopefully finish it today. Have a great weekend people :P

Sunday, 27 October 2013

CELTA: Journal 3

Yea... So I thought I could blog periodically about my course, but it turns out to be almost impossible since I'm rushing to complete lesson plans and assignments half the time. Even more so this week, because my wonderful trainer left it till Wednesday to give us the lesson he'd like us to teach this weekend. So I had 2 days to come up with the first draft. Ran it by him on Saturday, and then update it accordingly so that I could teach it on Sunday.

It's all gone pretty well up till now. I've been getting a "To Standard" for every one of my lesson. I wished that I'd worked harder with the 3rd or 4th one and had gotten an "Above Standard". Well, I'm Asian. I like to feel I'm way better than most people, most of the time :D Haha! I passed my resubmission for Assignment 2, and I still don't know what I'm getting for Assignment 1, but I'm happy things are going well.

I survived my first lesson with the grumpiest trainer today; let's call him Grumpy Cat. I was actually very apprehensive this morning, and I was pretty stressed the day before. I think I had sort of a nightmare. But I guess I showed that I could handle a lesson. One of the students told me that she liked my style a lot. She felt that I spoke clearly, and I put up the vocab and etc. clearly on the board and it has helped her. I'm so happy for the positive feedback. Although the students' feedback doesn't matter to the trainers or the assessor who will come from Cambridge, but having heard positive comments from the students since I started teaching has been wonderful. The student today even asked me if I had taught previously ^__________^ Yes... this calls for a really big smile.

I almost went crazy on Thursday though. I had been spending the entire day slogging at work, then rushing to do the lesson plan for the weekend after office hours. Then I got the email from Grumpy Cat accusing me for leaving work till last minute when I was preempting him that I might hand in my resubmission late. Turns out he totally forgot he'd already marked my first submission, and I was so angry that he was accusing me for being a last minute worker when I handed in my assignment 6 days before it was even due. Yea... you'd explode too if you were me. So I sent him a very polite rant... as polite as I could muster, and he replied saying that it sounds like I'm under a lot of pressure, and that I could have an extension. He realised his boo-boo yesterday, but never apologised. Oh well...

I forgot to take a photo of it, but I was at a stationery shop and chanced upon these self-inking stamps that reminded me of Grumpy Cat; it was an angry face! Haha! How apt! To be fair, I bought 2, one for the nice trainer, and another one for Grumpy Cat. Dunno if he's touched, but I think by now he's very accustomed to being viewed as the critical, heartless one. But he made a fair point today during our feedback session. He said that if we were prepared to take his advise, we would expect to get better and learn more. Well, I agree. So yea... gotta listen to him from now on. He's like the Simon Cowell of CELTA. Hahaha!

So I have another lesson to finish planning and an assignment to draft up by Wednesday. Meanwhile trying to make time to have a life and catch up on sleep. Plus I haven't been exercising for weeks. Definitely gained a lot of weight. My body is screaming for me to cut the carbs, but it's the only way I can comfort myself. Other than receiving hugs and cuddles and kisses. Haha! So... 3 more weeks. I think I'll survive, but only if I don't kill myself first.

I don't think I'll be able to blog about each lesson anymore, maybe at the end of the course when I have time :D Fingers crossed!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

CELTA: Journal 2

Lesson 4: Wednesday, 7pm.

Was early. Managed to reach super early and had my mixed rice dinner. Spent the session studying phonetics and discussing the upcoming Teaching Practice (TP).

The kiasu me had submitted my lesson plan earlier that day, and I received my feedback the same day. I managed to jumble up everything. Bah... observing the lesson on video and reading the teacher's lesson plan confused me. Anyway, I corrected it the next day and got a pretty clean assessment back from the trainer. All good to go. Now for the unobserved lesson on Saturday.

Lesson 5: Saturday, 9am.

I totally dragged myself out of bed this morning. Was so sad when I realised Old Chang Kee wasn't open yet :( Had to buy a peanut pancake from Mr Bean, and on the way to class, a stupid BMW drove past and splashed me. Grrr! Luckily it wasn't like a big splash. But it wet the bag of my pancake. Had to rinse it before I dared to eat it. So far no food poisoning. So I guess I cleaned it up properly.

Oh man... I was so unprepared for today's class. I had no lesson plan, no script... just some examples Jill had shown us about eliciting questions to work with. I was so stiff and it was quite awkward being the first teacher of the day. Most of the students were nice, except this Korean fella whom I assume is in his early thirties. He was trying to be smart the whole lesson. My female classmate and I tried not to laugh when he was trying to be funny, since we didn't want to encourage him.

All in all, the students had a pretty okay understanding of the English Language. Most of them lacked speaking practice, and were there for this very reason. Some were very shy, and simply needed more opportunity and encouragement.

We managed to get the Korean guy 'upgraded' to the Intermediate class. So we don't have to deal with him for the next 3 lessons. But we'll be seeing him again when we switch from teaching Elementary to Intermediate. 2 more weeks... I think I will like teaching this group. 4 of them are from China and 1 from Japan. Lovely students :)

The biggest bomb dropped on me was that I would have to teach 2 days in a row next weekend. This means that I have to prepare 2 lesson plans this week. Awesome... since I had to finish a report at work on Monday. I hope I can cope.... *faints*

So here I am now, about to review my script for my first proper lesson tomorrow. And I need to get cracking on my next 2 lesson plans. Whoop dee doo... don't forget, my assignment is also due next weekend. OMG... wish me luck! :P

Btw, today we learned how to teach grammar, which I will have to put into practice next weekend. Oh my brain... it felt burnt today. I just took a nap earlier, and I hope I can finish all the shit I need to do tonight. My running may have to take a backseat for the next month. Bummer...

Monday, 30 September 2013

CELTA: Journal 1

I’ve been meaning to blog about my CELTA experience as often as I can, but I realized that I probably won’t have enough time to do it every week with all the assignments that are going to be due soon.

I just finished reading a CELTA student’s blog. She’s a mother and was not working full time, but opted to take the 8 weeks course instead of the 4 weeks course. Apparently, that was a better call, and I am happy that I am able to take the 8 weeks course. However she mentioned that her peers who worked full time struggled more; they started to neglect their work.

All I can say is that, I am glad my job is not too heavy and stressful at the moment. I will have 2 weeks out of the next 8 weeks where I have deadlines due at work, but I will do my best to not let my CELTA interfere with the deadlines and vice versa. But I would have to admit that I have been using some work time to organize my CELTA stuff, but that’s because I don’t have all that much to do sometimes, and it’s such a waste of time to sit around and twiddle my thumbs.

Anyway, let’s describe my lessons so far. I will try to update these ‘journal’ entries when I have more time to insert in the key takeaways and summarise my learning journey better.

Lesson 1: Wednesday, 7pm.
I rushed from office to school at Sim Lim Square; managed to get there by 6:45pm and scoffed down my dinner. I was the first one to arrive. Everyone else arrived near to 7pm, and one arrived after 7pm. I was either right on time, or late for the consecutive lessons, and I feel bad because I didn’t want the trainers to think that I was always tardy, but I guess I’ve proven on the first day that I was capable of being on time. I shouldn’t be so hard on myself when I couldn’t make it on time :P

The first trainer we met was Bernard. I was a bit worried that I’d gotten off on the wrong foot with him the first day: I was trying to copy the schedule he wrote down on the board using my phone, and he thought I was texting (>_<) But I guess we’re all good now, especially after our 2nd class together on Sunday.

The first session was mainly about the structure of the course, the grading and the general expectations. Bernard tried to help us set expectations when he talked about the grading standard for the course. Upon completing CELTA, we would be graded (in descending order) Pass A, Pass B, Pass and Fail. The worldwide statistics by far are as follows (approximately):

Pass A – 5%
Pass B – 10%
Pass – 80%
Fail – 5%

He pretty much told us to not worry too much about failing, but at the same time, not to put too much expectation on ourselves by aiming for Pass A. It is perfectly normal to get a Pass, as seen from the statistics. I guess he is all too familiar with the way our Asian minds work. Haha! “I must be the best!” In a way, I agree with what he is doing, because I know fully well that if I set too high an expectation on myself, I may end up doing the exact opposite. But if I were to take it calmly and just try to do my best at each juncture, I suppose I may do better than I expect myself to. However, after reading that student’s blog and seeing that she got a Pass B, I am thinking… I bloody-hell want a Pass A! LOL!

Then we will have Teaching Practices (TPs), where we will have the opportunity to teach real students (Elementary and Intermediate levels). Yes… real people shall become our guinea pigs. Basically, these students get to sign on for free lessons. They pay a deposit of $200, which is refundable if they meet the minimum attendance criteria. We will be observed and assessed, according to the criteria that will be communicated to us on a weekly basis, and for each TP, we will be graded: Above Standard, To Standard or Below Standard.

My goal would be to always be above standard. But what would mean that I had to prep myself well for each lesson, which includes a near flawless lesson plan, and awesome classroom management. According to Bernard, that could include even scripting the instructions that I would give the students.

In the first lesson, we went through the topics on learning styles, what affects and motivates learners. We talked more about the course structure and expectations.

Lesson 2: Saturday, 10am
We met Jill, the 2nd trainer, and we started to go more into the technical stuff like planning a lesson, and grammar. Yes… this is the part that scares me the most. While most of us, whose first language (L1) is English, have no problem using proper English on a day to day basis, we aren’t really sure about the different grammar rules that exist. So you can be assured that it was a painful process for me, and will probably continue to be for the next few weeks.

I’ve found a site that lists out the tenses. I think that in the coming 8 weeks, I have a lot of brushing up to do, on top of getting my lesson plans and assignments done.

On Saturday, we learned a lot about the Receptive Skills, reading and listening, the different levels of reading and listening, and how we were going to be training our students to be proficient in them. It became clear to me that teaching wasn’t all about guiding the students through reading a passage, or helping them do the exercises. It’s more about knowing how to prepare them for the tasks so that they can better attempt them, and even have more confidence to attempt them on their own. Eventually, we had to also work on a Productive Skill such as writing and speaking, to put into action what was learned during the reading and listening. Don’t forget the endless drilling we will also need to do to help them remember vocabulary and grammar rules.

Lesson 3: Sunday, 10am
Finally on Sunday, we explored, in detail with Bernard, how to plan a lesson, and all the dos and don’ts when conducting a lesson. We had the opportunity to watch a lesson on DVD and to dissect that same lesson to learn the tips and tricks of a good lesson, and methods of a good teacher.

We went into the technicalities of classroom management, how important it is to monitor students constantly to see if they are following, giving short, clear instructions but maintaining a friendly and respectful tone, and knowing how to manage time so that the lessons don’t overrun or end too early.

Knowing and setting aims are also important so that we ensure the lesson fulfills the learning purpose required. This is something I will really need to think about when preparing my lesson plan. I feel that there is so much consideration required just to prepare a lesson. Teaching is definitely not just about pointing, miming, lecturing and telling students to hand in homework.

This coming Saturday, we will have an unobserved TP, which means the trainer would not be watching and assessing us. It’s an opportunity for us to get to know our students and also conduct a dry run with a short lesson we have been asked to prepare. There are some teaching methods that I have been considering; I suppose this would be a good time to try them out?

On Sunday, we will have our first assessed TP. I’m done creating my material for the students. Just some minor tweaking to go and it’s good enough for submission. The concern now is the lesson plan. I have an idea of what I will be doing. Completing the material has helped form in my mind how I would go about conducting the class. Now I will have to sit myself down and complete that lesson plan.

As you can see… almost everything about this course is very practical and hands on. This makes me believe that I will be truly qualified to teach when I complete this course. On top of that, we’re assessed all the time and receive feedback on strengths, weaknesses and what we need improve on after every assessment. This means I will always know my level of progress and what I need to do to fix my mistakes.

I’m a bit worried that I will procrastinate. That’s what I did over the weekend, knowing I had no time to chill the evening away. But I am also fully aware that if I push myself too hard, I might break and go into my ‘escapism’ mode again. In any case, I just need to bite the bullet and be disciplined about this. From today onwards, I need to spend my evenings trying to complete my work ahead of schedule, rather than trying to complete on time. While it’s tempting to get cracking on things while I’m at work, I should reserve doing my coursework in the office only for those items where I need the resources in the office.

So 2 things on my list now to complete ASAP:

1.      Lesson Plan for TP1
2.      Assignment 1

Wish me luck…

Thursday, 12 September 2013


So today, I was asking a friend regarding the certificates I would need to be able to teach English in Seoul; mainly to seem credible and qualified. She said TESOL, and I was like… what about TEFL? So I started searching around on the Internet, and I found that what I really needed was a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults). So after more digging around, I found the school in Singapore which offered this course.

I checked that this school was recognized by Cambridge. The British Council is also offering this certification, but they don’t provide a part time schedule. So I’m stuck with this school.

Well… I was supposed to shower once I got home, have dinner and start working on that ‘pre-interview task’ that the school gave me. But I got carried away calculating how I was gonna pay for this, and dinner was ready. So here I am, bloated after dinner, writing this while I wait for my food to digest a little before I jumped into the shower. Ok… TMI.

So, I have pretty much completed the pre-interview task. I dunno why they call it a task when it’s obviously a test :P I think I lost a chunk of my brain pondering the answers to this... Will I survive the entire course >_<

The main reason I am blogging is because I am still questioning myself. I am about spend $5,176 on this certification, with no guarantee if it’s going to be my magic ticket to teaching  English while I travel to different Asian countries. I’ve pretty much figured out how to pay for it, so the next step is how I am going to survive the next 8 weeks.

I have one weekday class, and on weekends, I will be attending class at 10am to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays. So this means no sleeping in on weekends, no late nights, and no trips for the next 8 weeks starting 25 Sep. But I figured this would be a good time since I didn’t have plans to go anywhere anyway.

And because this is also going to create a sizable debt, this also means no shopping for the entire year :( Oh well... at least I am putting my money to good use.

So I’m just gonna review my work tomorrow before I send it out, because my brain is too taxed to be checking my work anymore tonight, and I believe the guy wants the interview to be completed chop-chop by Tuesday. So… wish me luck! Zzzzzzzz…

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Let Go And Free Fall

I spent the afternoon nursing a scar that I had received not too long ago. The funny thing is… it’s a bloody scar. Scars shouldn't hurt anymore. I knew it was ridiculous, and yet I continued, for a few hours. I asked ridiculous questions, said stupid things, and ultimately brought myself down to a state of depression. It wasn’t until I spoke to my friend, crying as I typed out how I felt, and I received his advice, that I finally calmed down, and ultimately pulled myself together so that I could go take a shower and try to finish off my Sunday in a more humane manner.

I heard the same advice from someone else earlier today. But I guess my friend just did a more effective job since he knew me well enough.

“I’m going to keep chasing everyone away, aren’t I?” I asked.

“Yes,” was his reply.

Ultimately, these were the few words that woke me up.

Let go and free fall.

I had been so obsessed with the destination. Granted I had been hurt along the way; once, twice, thrice. But they are not reasons to shy away from feeling and living. Continuing to obsess over my scars and trying to use them as a means to justify my irrational fears is just going to waste my life away.

So I’m going reboot myself, and start again from the point where the possibility of happiness and the capacity to love had been endless. I’m going to take that advice and just let go of everything, and fall. And if doesn’t matter how far or how hard this fall is going to be, because I am going to enjoy the exhilaration that comes with it. That’s how I want to live from now on.

My friend also quoted Jim Morrison as his parting words for the day:

People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

What Do I Write?

I just felt like writing. I hope this is a sign that my ‘juices’ are coming back, cos my brain has been feeling like dried oatmeal for awhile now. Honestly I have nothing in particular that I wanted to write about. But I just felt compelled by an invisible force to open up MS Word and start typing. So here I am, with BNR in my ears to keep my brain oiled :P

Maybe I should write about BNR first. So I picked up BNR a few weeks ago. Honestly I know close to nothing about them, but I think their R&B sounds are AWESOME. Let me dig up some info since I started talking about them. No Wiki, but I managed to find a profile on MWave (

So BNR is an acronym for Brand New Radio. And they’re a 2-member band. Not particularly good-looking. So you can say that I am really just in for the music ;) I started getting into them when I heard 아무 말도 없었다 (Did Not Say Anything). Then when I heard their collaboration with Sanchez from Phantom, 흔들었어 (Shaken), I was very hooked. So now I have 2 of their mini albums on repeat on my iPod :D Their instrumentals are just awesome, and invoke so much emotion in me.

Music plays a very big part in building up the right mood for me to write. I have written chapters just listening to Hans Zimmerman’s soundtrack for The Holiday. But sometimes, it can be hard to concentrate and produce certain thoughts when I have music in my ears. I guess that’s when I have writer’s block and nothing I can do to free my brain.

I hate how I feel inspired to write a story, and after 2-3 paragraphs, I find I can’t continue. Maybe it’s because to be able to continue, I would have to immerse myself into the story, and really explore how it will progress. I haven’t done that in a long time. Back then, I was living the stories. When it was a sad chapter, I’d be sad. When it was a troubling chapter, I’d be so troubled and stressed. I contemplate if it’s actually safe to let myself ‘get into character’ like that when I still need to keep my brain for my day job. I remember those days when I’d much rather write my fiction than to do the work I’m given in the office. It’s dangerous.

So yea… I don’t know what I wanna write about. I thought I would just blog about general stuff and silly things that happen to me, but they just don’t seem as interesting as fiction. Haha! I need to sit me down and really figure out what I wanna do :P

Monday, 29 July 2013


I think the hardest thing for a person to deal with is to admit their mistakes. Not small stuff like being late, a typo or even offending someone; because these are quite obvious mistakes. I’m referring to making wrong choices, and feeling like you have to trudge on forward and live with them because you are either too ashamed to admit you made a mistake, or you feel too guilty to the parties involved that you feel the only way is to continue and make the best of things.

For the longest time, this is what I did with most of my decisions that turned out to be mistakes. I always wanted to prove to others, and myself, that I wasn’t wrong and things would work out fine. But after a few really big ones, I’m beginning to learn that when you make a mistake, you cut your losses and move on. Some people may accuse me of being hasty or ruthless, but when you’ve suffered long enough by trying to live with a mistake, you will know that you are much better off moving on.

I’m not running away from my problems. I’m just removing myself from a situation where I know isn’t going to turn out well, instead of allowing myself to continue to be mired by a situation which will eventually consume me.

In reference to my recent situation; there were good moments, and there were moments that I was unsure, and then there were moments that screamed “Bad!”. I guess I was very overwhelmed and confused, but eventually it was the fact that I didn’t feel comfortable that prompted me to want out. I know that I cannot be blameless for what happened. So I’m going to graciously admit that I had definitely rushed into things this time, and I know it was wrong. I’m sorry things had to turn out like this, but I do believe that it’s for the best.

The fact that I had even started to feel some old bouts of depression wafting back into my life, I refuse to allow more of it to come back and take root. Hence, I am going to move ahead of it, and stop it. I definitely am not ecstatic now. In fact I am sad that things have turned out this way. But for me, there is no other way. This is not the first time, and it should be the last; I am doing this because I want to love myself more.

Friday, 19 July 2013

White Tigers In Captivity Are A Product of Inbreeding

I read this article few weeks back: White Tigers: Conserving A Lie.
Reading it inspired me to write a short feature on my workplace blog. Decided to post it here so that I can share the story with more people :)

It's a little late to know the truth, but nevertheless, it is an important truth we all need to know and hopefully do something about.

White tigers are not a specific breed of tigers, but a product of a genetic anomaly called 'leucism', which prevents the pigment from coloring the skin and the fur. This causes a tiger to lose its natural camouflage abilities, which is why white tiger cubs rarely survive till adulthood in the wild. On top of that, the white tigers are also plagued with a host of health problems which includes scoliosis of the spine, cleft palates, and more often than not, their optical nerves are wired to the wrong side of the brain, causing them to be crosseyed or in some cases, their eyes would even be bulging out of their heads. Many are also either stillborn or do not survive infancy.

I obtained the chronology of the white Bengal tiger from Big Cat Rescue’s site.

A white tiger was displayed at Exeter Change.

White tiger cub captured by Maharajah Gulab Singh of Rewa. Upon its death it was gifted to King George V as a sign of India’s loyalty to the crown.

25th May 1951:
A forest laborer reported sighting a white tiger cub.

26th May 1951:
The cub’s mother and two of its three siblings were shot and killed.

27th May 1951:
Maharaja Martand Singh captured Mohan.

30th May 1951:
The cub escapes and a large party goes out to recapture it.

26th February 1952:
A normal colored tigress named Begum is captured.

10th April 1955:
Begum produced a litter of a male and two female cubs. All were orange, as were all the cubs in her subsequent two litters.

December 1957:
Mohan was mated with Radha, his four-year-old daughter from the second litter with Begum.

20th October 1958:
Radha produced an all-white litter of a male and three female cubs. They were christened Raja, Rani, Sukeshi and Mohini. Subsequently:The male and one female (Raja and Rani) were gifted to the National Zoological Gardens in New Delhi.Mohini was transported to Washington D.C.Sukeshi was kept for mating with Mohan and remained with him until he was withdrawn from breeding. She was then housed with her son in hopes they would breed but he showed no interest in mating with her and after six years without success she too was transferred to the National Zoological Gardens in New Delhi where she died on the 2nd February 1975.

May 1964:
Raja and Rani were mated. Rani gave birth to two white cubs, a male and a female. She mauled both and the female died. The male, ‘Tippu’ lost his tail and was hand-raised with great difficulty.

August 1965:
Two white cubs born to Rani. Both die due to neglect.

19th December 1965:
Three white cubs are born to Rani. They were left in her care for just over a month, at which point she lost interest and they were hand-raised. The female dies at the age of 17-months and one male dies on the 17th April 1967 during shipping to the United States.Breeding of Rani continued and she produced a total of 20 white cubs.

19th December 1969:
Mohan died aged 19 years 7 months. All captive white tigers descend from Mohan, which explains why they are so genetically inbred.

As you can see, Mohan is the ancestor and origin of all white tigers in captivity. Many zoos keep, breed and display white tigers for the sake of drawing crowds. Some even market it as a conservation effort, which is far from the truth because the species only exists due to a genetic anomaly. White tigers can never be released into the wild because they will not be able to survive without their camouflage abilities. And what about those cubs that were born the 'wrong colour' i.e. orange with black stripes; they are usually discarded and suffer from the same genetic defects too.

Being curious, because I did remember seeing white tigers at the Singapore Zoo long ago, I checked out their website. The white tiger exhibit is featured on their website. While they did mention Mohan, there is no further mention on the issue of inbreeding of white tigers, and I am not sure how the standpoint from which the zoo is exhibiting these tigers. Perhaps it’s time I visited the zoo again, or has someone been there recently and can provide feedback? 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Moving Forward

Hello, hello~

I know I have not been writing for some time; a long, long time. It’s not that I have been feeling uninspired, but each time I have an idea, it only lasts for a few paragraphs. I am rarely able to follow through. What’s going on? In fact, I don’t even know how to continue writing this. Haha!

If you know me personally, or have been reading, you would’ve noticed that I ended a relationship awhile back. I never really wrote about the exact situation. Sometimes I feel like I am actually embarrassed about my past, and unable to relive any painful memories because they may have the ability to depress me all over again. Each time I go through a bad relationship, I have been tempted to write about it, to recount the entire process, but I always chickened out. They just seemed too personal and painful to recount in detail.

Today… I just have this urge to mention my past a little, and write about something new that has happened to me. This is as honest as I can get… so bear with me, eh? :D

I never knew what I was searching for. Of course I have expectations, but I realized that they were all superficial and only dealt with the surface level of a human being. People have always asked me what would my ideal man be like, and I have so far only been able to provide characteristics such as tall, athletic, stable, manly… I found a person like that awhile back. When I first met him, he had given me the impression that he was looking for commitment. In a way, he mentioned that he was looking for commitment. I took that as an indication that I could commit fully too, and even when there were signs that he didn’t seem all that ready to commit, I brushed them aside and continued investing myself into the relationship.

When I meet someone, my original ideals tend to become secondary. Sure I still know what I want, but I guess I magnify the little good, and try to ignore anything bad about this person. Why? Because I want so much for things to work out; who doesn’t? Time after time, I do this, and it wasn’t till the last relationship ended that I realized what I had been doing to myself.

There is nothing wrong in wanting to find ‘the one’, but sacrificing your identity and sanity in order to preserve something that probably did not exist is just plain stupidity. That’s what I did for at least 4 months out of the entire 6 months. I took everything that came my way; instructions, expectations, criticisms, and once in awhile, even insults. No, I was not abused, but in a way, I was not treated in the way I needed to be treated. I now marveled how I managed to stick with someone who couldn’t even tell me that he loved me.

While those 3 words could be overrated and misused, they mean a lot to me when a person takes time to say them. Everyone can agree that talk is cheap. But in any case, words will always be appreciated, and words will always provide comfort when you are feeling fearful, unsure and insecure. I had been unsure and insecure for 6 months, and I decided enough was enough. I am glad I had the courage to let go, and I thank the person who helped find my trigger point.

After it all ended, I just felt that the world had become a place where everyone was selfish, egotistical and no one actually honored their promises and commitments anymore. I spent a few months trying to ‘come to terms’ with the ‘state of the world’. But in this time, I realized that I had something really valuable in my life; friends. My friends were all there for me when I needed to talk and needed companionship. I don't have that many close friends, but I am glad those I have kept close to my side and close to my heart, they have always been wonderful to me. I hope that when they need me someday, I can be there for them too...

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

I can count on me

People tend to be able to relate when someone rich and famous says, “It’s lonely at the top.” Yet, when someone who seems sociable claims that they don’t have many friends, no one really believes them. The fact is that most people will be a friend to you… when it’s fun, when it suits them most; but what happens when things aren’t that pleasant. Are they going to stick around for you?

I guess the even more disappointing truth is that all the time you spend, trying to build a ‘support network’ may end up a big flop, because some of these people never intended to be a part of it to begin with. For that reason, I am starting to believe that you can never go wrong when you stick with a few good friends as opposed to having a friend for this activity, a group for that activity, and the list goes one. Have a few good friends you can really have conversations with, and if you need to pursue and activity you really like, do it alone… with strangers.

The whole point here is to never start counting on people to always do something with you. At some point, we are bound to be disappointed. Even I can’t count on me, and if I don’t become a permanent fixture to anyone, I won’t have to disappoint them eventually

Friday, 21 June 2013

Zuckerberg’s Top 10 Trends in Silicone Valley

by Kerry Williams

Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, Randi Zuckerberg, is in town and it turns out she is quite accomplished in her own right. Before joining Facebook as their CMO she graduated from Harvard and gained experience working at Ogilvy & Mather in New York.

She tells stories about her time at Facebook that correlate closely with the Facebook movie: that it all started with a bunch of guys in a house working on their passion and of all night ‘hackathons’ where staff were challenged to build something new in 24 hours. She recounts her experiences witnessing global events unfold on Facebook newsfeeds - countless global elections, 2 Olympic Games and many disaster relief efforts - and lists receiving a call from the White House during a US Presidential Election as the highlight of her career so far.

These experiences have led her to distill a list of the ‘Top 10 Trends in Silicone Valley Today’. What do you think?

1. Luxury on Demand
Every day consumers want little pieces of luxury in their lives and they’re willing to splurge to pay for them. – Premier designer dress rental – Everyone’s Private Driver – Private air travel for everyone

2. Mobile Everywhere
From mobile payments to home security systems and baby monitors, we’re all acutely aware of this trend. Randi Zuckerberg’s advice: focus on one mobile use case and make it awesome. – mobile payments – baby monitor – best times to run and pee during a movie

3. Rise of the Entre-Employee
Big companies are starting entrepreneurial tracks inside their organizations to hold-on to their best talent.

4. Big Data
The whole point of big data is extreme personalization. The more data there is in the system about you the better the personalization becomes.


Yelp – Social GPS

5. The cloud has replaced our memory
We panic about losing our phones not because we can’t communicate but because it means we’ve lost our memories. – Remember Everything

6. Cars are the new mobiles
Developers are now focusing their attention on cars. Next generation cars will have native apps built in for things like shopping and the weather and it won’t be long before we all have self-driving cars.

7. Gamification of everything
Game mechanics are being applied to everything to make life fun and increase adoption.

Snooze App – donate money every time you hit the snooze button

Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale – scale that tweets your weight - social running app – zombies chase you while you run

8. Everyone can have a second job
The collaborative economy is here - if you have a job you need done you can outsource it. – car sharing - personal assistant – crowd sourced new product development – arts and craft market place – crowd sourced design

9. Brands are now media companies
Today, companies not only have to create new products but they also have to entertain customers.

Red Bull astronaut

Oreo 2013 Super Bowl

Diane Von Furstenburg + Google Glass runway show

10. It’s time for a digital detox
People crave a chance to be unplugged. 70% of Americans don’t go to sleep without checking their email and it’s now become socially acceptable not to give someone your full attention and use your phone whilst talking with them. New products are being developed to allow people to ‘unplug’ from it all. – the app to stop distracted driving

Full Contact – a company paying employees a $7500 bonus if they disconnect their work email whilst on holiday

Kerry Williams is a native Australian and is currently an Associate Director with a leading telecommunications company in Singapore.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Does having the last word matter?

I had the last word. Pretty much… but my last words weren’t exactly what I felt.

I guess this is the price you pay when you choose to be amicable about things. People would probably tell me that it’s not worth it. This person isn’t worth my time, my anger, the trouble to speak to him. But I just feel that I have kept everything inside for all this time.

I can’t say he didn’t suffer in any way. But at the end of the day, I don’t know how he feels about it all, and I can only examine and deal with my own feelings. At first it was just disappointment, sadness, regret… but now, it’s changing into anger.

I don’t identify with the all’s fair in love and war thing. Yes, I have received forgiveness for hurting people before, and the person said the same to me; there is not right and wrong in a relationship. But if you ask me, I would say that despite this ‘doctrine’, there are just some things you don’t do to people if you want to be viewed a normal human being.

At this point, I just want to sit him down, and rant, and tell him how I felt deceived, how I felt hurt, how I felt used, how I was not appreciated, how he could’ve been more honest in the beginning and how he can’t keep treating people this way. I know he may not care for what I have to say, and obviously it’s not going to change him, but I do want to get it out of my system. Why? Because I have never once confronted him about anything… not with anger.

I’ve always wonder if it really is a virtue that I never throw tantrums, or it’s just stupid of me for never expressing myself when I needed to. Each time I felt angry, I would end up talking around in circles because I didn’t how to express my thoughts. Full-blown anger would rile him, emotional blabber annoys him, and while I know the best way is to stay calm, be rational and give good examples to illustrate things, it’s so difficult when you feel upset. The biggest problem is when he starts responding, and I lose my train of thought, and get swayed by his opinion. Sometimes I even get intimidated, God knows why…

I’m rambling now. I can feel my emotions welling up and I’m starting to lose my train of thought, but somehow writing always seems more effective for me; at least when I get lost, I can compose myself and try again. I am well aware that this post is pointless, other than helping me air my thoughts… so… yea. I just want to yell at him now, because I never did.

I wish I were a cold, hard bitch sometimes. It might have either made me more resilient, or at least I would not take shit from anyone. But I guess one can never eliminate their true nature. The fact is I will always be a softie, and I just need to learn to put on some armor. Anger is how I protect myself from feeling sad and forlorn, so I guess my defense mechanism is kicking in now.

I honestly hope I never have to write a post like this ever again... It's not productive at all :P

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Where is the love?

There is so much going on in the world today. Whenever we go on the internet, be it on Facebook, Twitter or simply a news site like Yahoo!... we’re be hard-pressed not to find something outrageous or scandalous to read about.

I’ve been living a partial hermit life as of late. I find myself often bothered and sometimes saddened by the things people would post on Facebook, or be harassed by dozens of game requests. I find it meaningless to continue reading about the troubles in the world and to even discuss it with the people around me. It’s not because I have no will to stay abreast with current issues, but it’s simply because the world feels so forlorn and disappointing these day.

So where do I spend my time now? When I go online, I visit the websites of my favourite Christian ministries such as Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer. When I am not online, I read numerous self-help books and also attempt to study the bible. If the question has popped up in your head, then my answer is, “Yes, I have accepted Christ as my savior.”

Years ago, I would never have understood the devotion of my devout Christian friends. But I can see now that in a world full of violence, hatred and hurting people, it seems having faith is the only way we can stay sane. Morality and integrity has deteriorated to such a low point. People have come to only believe we should ‘trust in ourselves’, ‘be confident in ourselves’ and ‘look out for ourselves’. You see the pattern? The majority of society has become entirely interested only in self-preservation. Black Eyed Peas released a popular song some years ago, entitled ‘Where is the love?’. I ask the same question:

Where has love gone to? What is love to people these days?

Even I, myself, had practiced selfish love for the longest time. I was mainly interested in how people viewed me, and what they did to show me they loved me or approved of me. But being Christian has taught me something new: Love starts from within us. There is no conspiracy in the bible’s teaching that we have been called to love people. I found that when we started to love people, mainly by being nice, putting others first and making the effort to reach out to help people who need us, we soon forget about our personal issues. And when we forget about ourselves, that is when selfless love comes about, and we eventually become happier and more contented people because we’ve forgotten about what we wanted and stopped fixating on the ‘problem’ in our lives.

These days, I like to believe I have zero problems. If I had any, I believed that I just needed to act in faith, and let God take care of the rest. There is so much relief in knowing that I don’t have to spend my entire day pondering on something and worrying about something that I can’t change with my own strength. Most of the time, we really do need to ‘ride it out’ or let things run their course, rather than immediately act on it. The only situations that require immediate actions are life & death situations. If it’s nothing of the sort, we can probably wait on it after we have done what rightfully needs to be done.

I find myself slowly growing into a more joyful, positive and strong person as of late. I still battle with my insecurities, fears and other issues from time to time, but it is getting easier with each battle won. I am looking forward to being a more complete person, and one who is steadfast in my faith, able to always love and give to others.

I am not here to preach that Christianity is the best religion in the whole wide world, because it is still a world of free will, but we must always remember with free will comes responsibility for the things you do unto others. I will leave you with a very good answer to the question, “What is the best religion?”, and it was the Dalai Lama who provided this wonderful answer…

“The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. It is the one that makes you a better person.”

The Dalai Lama also imparted this very important teaching:

Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words.
Take care of your Words because they will become Actions.
Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits.
Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character.
Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny,
and your Destiny will be your Life

I leave you with the link to the dialogue between His Holiness and theologian Leonardo Boff. I hope you have also learned something today, like I did :)

Let bygones be bygones

I learned a very important lesson today. One that I have heard of and received throughout the years, but did not truly commit to it. 

Let bygones be bygones.

I used to dwell so much on past things, and when I found out something that I didn't know had happened, I still got agitated and felt that I had to deal with and confront the matter. The point I totally missed was that it had happened. Nothing I do or say now can change it, and most of the time, doing or saying something about it won't even help the future.

One of my ex-bosses used to say, "The past has no future." I am beginning to believe in that doctrine. The past says nothing about our future and determines nothing about our future, unless we let it

It doesn't matter if you've failed in the past; you may have stumbled and fallen yesterday, last week or years ago, but you living in this time and day just means you have another opportunity to keep going and head towards the success and happiness you want.

It doesn't matter if someone has wronged you; whether they lied to you, betrayed you, hurt you or tried to destroy you. It has passed, and if you can forgive the person, you are already on your way to healing from the incident and progressing in life. Perhaps you may not forget, but forgiving removes the thorn from your flesh, and allows you to heal from the wound. The scar may always be there, but it only serves as a reminder, it can never hurt you again. 

It is also very important to not start assuming that you may screw up again, or that anyone else in the world can hurt you again, because then you'd be hanging on to the pain and you won't be moving on in life. Treat every bad incident as a one-off. Tell yourself that every day is an opportunity for something great to happen. You may encounter days when you fall back into grief or even anger in remembrance of the incident, but don't worry about that. Hit that 'reboot' button, and start over. If you can keep going long enough, soon it will become a habit, it will be natural for you to expect goodness in your life and there will be no room in your thoughts or life for the bad, the sad or anything negative.

If you're hanging on to something today, be it hurt, discontent or anger, forgive or let go of it. Tell yourself life if worth more than being miserable each day. Life is about enjoying the journey, and finishing knowing you made the most of every situation and appreciated every person who was in it.

So I say to you today, my friend, let bygones be bygones. Every day is a brand new and exciting day! :)

Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Honeymoon's Over?

At some point in time, all romantic relationships wind down a little, and it signifies what people call the end of the ‘honeymoon period’. The undying urge to see each other, be with each other and talk for hours has diminished. And both parties are supposed to take comfort in knowing that while all things are reduced, it does not signify a deterioration of the relationship.

But sometimes, we have an issue of onlookers and some people with ‘well-intentions’ offering you feedback. Feedback like, “Oh, the first 6 months are supposed to be the sweetest.” Or even, “You boyfriend should do this for you still. It’s too soon to wanna stop.” While they were indeed sincerely giving well-meant opinions based on their experiences, we gotta remember the key word will always be “their experiences”. When these words stir up insecurities within you, you have got to remember that, it’s all about their experiences, and nothing to do with what you are experiencing.

Each relationship has a different speed of development, whether it is due to the characters of the couple, or circumstances. Hence, never judge this relationship in relation to other relationships. Sit down and think about the way your relationship had developed, and remind yourself of all the milestones you have achieved together so far. But in any case, the best thing you can do is to discuss it.

Sometimes, this happens when either party has become burnt out, and needs to reduce efforts. Sometimes it happens because either party has gotten comfortable enough to not require so much contact to feel involved in the relationship. Whatever the reason is, it will be good to discuss the situation and assure the more active party that the relationship is not deteriorating. While contact may have been reduced, it doesn’t mean they are not being thought of or cared about. Try to come to a middle ground or even discuss how the active party can be helped to be transitioned into a ‘slow-down’ state. Once this effort is made, the situation will have a chance of calming down and the relationship can proceed in peace.

To assume, is one of human’s most common mistakes. When you assume the other person understands, or even they know you still care for or love them, it’s creating opportunity for misunderstanding to occur. I'd like to call it, 'assumption begets assumption'. If you assume they know you care, they may assume you don't really care. So some things do need to be said. For the sake of clarity and making sure all bases are covered, you need to be vocal about it so that the other party will have no chance to feel insecure by a sudden or even gradual change in your attitude.

While each person is ultimately responsible for handling their own insecurities, we should still do our best to help the person we love or care for to feel better so that they can be encouraged to overcome it. This is by no means coddling the person. Encouragement is the best thing you can give anyone feeling negative. They are seeds to help a person start growing positive thoughts.

Open, honest and willing communication can solve a lot of problems. So if we take the time to air our feelings in an honest and caring manner, we would eventually come to understand each other better, and allow the relationship to grow :)

Monday, 18 March 2013

Slow in the Mornings

I’ve had this problem for years, and I’ve always concluded that I wasn’t a ‘morning person’. But there was one thing I have begun to notice in recent times. The earlier I got up, the easier it was to just ‘get up and go’. The longer I lay there on the bed, snoozing, or the later the hour I had to actually wake up, it gets harder to actually open my eyes and get off my comfy bed.

I don’t know if you have the same symptoms. Heavy head, aching body or perhaps some regular ailment you’ve always had; in my case, acid reflux. These things give us reasons, or perhaps if you want to be a little more forthright, excuses to just lie back, and keep snoozing. Another 5 minutes, another 10 minutes, another 15 minutes, and you realise you’re late :) I’ve always envied people who could just sit up and get off the bed the moment their alarm clock sounded, but I realised, it wasn’t that these people didn’t feel tired or aching, they’ve just made it a good habit to ‘get up and go’.

Yes… it’s a habit; one that we all need to form in slow succession. It doesn’t come naturally like breathing or needing a drink of water. We need to actually train ourselves to stop being… lazy. Haha! So what have I been doing to cure myself of this?

First thing I needed to resolve was my acid reflux problem. Somehow, this problem requires a mind over matter approach, and also some actions. Every night, I tell myself that I don’t have a problem, and I’m going to wake up feeling good. After 2-3 nights, lo and behold, it seemed to have worked. Second thing was actually a tip from my colleague… coffee in the morning is too acidic for my stomach. To be honest, I have been too addicted to coffee to stop having coffee with my breakfast, but after being reminded by my colleague, I decided it’s time to take better care of myself. I can still have coffee, just not in the mornings. So guess what? Acid reflux is now pretty much gone. So what is it that I have learnt? My problem was a result of a habit that I had refused to eliminate. Now that the habit was gone, the problem was diminishing. One down!

Alright! Next comes the problem with aching body or heavy head, probably from restless sleep or perhaps a strenuous workout from the day before? The second would be a pretty valid reason, but the first one, well, is an excuse. Yes, I will call it as it is now, even if I do experience it myself. It’s an excuse. I have learned that the moment you roll off that bed and get moving, the heavy head is going to lighten, and all those aches will eventually be forgotten.

One way I tried to motivate myself was:
‘If I woke up earlier, I could get ready leisurely.’

I don’t even have to look at the clock and just went about my routine and I would walk out of my home on time, unhurried, and not forget anything. So these days, I allow myself a small snooze still, but I would wake up, stick my mobile phone in the handbag (so I wouldn’t forget it when I left home), and start to get ready, without bothering to watch the time. Because I knew that if I had woken up on time, I would have ample time to get ready at a comfortable pace :) This has resulted in a very enjoyable process of getting ready for work.

Of course, if you want to work further backwards, you’d also have to make sure you go to bed on time and etc. But that’s another habit we shall examine at a later time.

Learning to be a ‘morning person’ is pretty much like making the effort to start working out for the first time or making the effort to learn a new skill. The first step matters a lot and every day after, you try again and again until you finally get comfortable with it. And when you do, you will find yourself bounding onto your feet in the mornings, even on a weekend! :P Yep... it will affect you so profoundly that you would even lose the urge to sleep in on weekends. Haha!

So, the truth is, we could really all not be a ‘morning person’, but we can all definitely learn to begin our day with more commitment and less laziness. In his article, The First 10 Minutes, Dr. Paul Osteen said that behavioural scientists have discovered that the first ten minutes of each day can set the course of your entire day. So, will you commit yourself to having a good start each morning so that you can start expecting an awesome day ahead? I’ve begun to see the benefits of it, and I am sure you will too! ^_^