Thursday, September 29, 2011

Exam fever

Yes, those dreaded exams are in full swing already.

It's most stressful when you have no control over the out-come. And what have I been doing to de-stress? Baking and pounding the pavements. :D

I am counting down to when it ends ... on 5 Oct. And by 7 Oct, I will be able to breathe better, coz it will be two down and just P1 to go!!

And since tomorrow is friday, and the day of the math paper, I thought that I should share a math riddle with you all.

Q: What do you get if you add two apples, three apples and four oranges?

. scroll down for answer

A: A math problem!

Have a great weekend ahead.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

F1 fever

F1 is in town, and the roads around the circuit are chock-a-block! Road closures, jams, detours, crowds! That basically sums it up.

We were given free tickets to the event and as a treat for the children, we brought them on Friday for the practice sessions. The security was tight. The atmosphere was carnival like. The food they served were quite scrumptious. . The noise from the racing cars was deafening, even with year plugs on. The speed at which they went was truly amazing. It was so fast, I could hardly tell who drove by. Then again, it could have been me, coz when the practice runs were over, my son could tell me which driver wore what coloured helmet. I didn't quite believe him at first, but when we got home and watched the repeat telecasts, I found that he was correct!

Now, having watched the real thing, they are hooked! I guess the ambience and actually seeing it live made the difference. Unfortunately, due to the exams this week, we decided not to bring the children to the actual race :( despite having the tickets.

We have promised them that we will bring them next year instead ... if we are again given free tickets, coz having to fork out that kind of money just to watch them whizz by at those speeds just doesnt make sense!

Will post some of the photos I took later on when I download them, so keep a look out for those pics.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

You can never prepare for EVERYTHING!

As many of you may know by now, the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) are just a week away. And the people on this little red dot are very kiasu (scared to lose) and kiasi (afraid to die).

Last year, my daughter's orthodontist was sharing with me the things he and his wife (both are dentists) did for their son who was doing his PSLE then. They forbade their son from playing with friends, and pumped him with vitamins in order that their son could stay healthy and not fall ill, in the run up to the exams as well as during the exams. My first reaction was: why didnt I think of that when my oldest was doing her PSLE? And of course, I kept that in mind for my son.

Well, this year is my son's turn to do those dreaded exams. So we have been reminding him to eat healthily and drink plenty of fluids so as not to fall ill. Then we heard about how a child in his school broke an arm playing football. So we forbade him to play football too, for fear of accidents that would render him injured.

Recently, a fellow Mum told me about how her daughter's calculator got stolen a week before the prelims, and that the school bookshop was out-of-stock for the approved calculator. Being kiasu parents, we hunted down the calculator and bought him an extra one, just-in-case his runs out of batteries, or gets stolen nearer the exams and we are not able to get the same one due to it being out-of-stock.

Then I sat on my spectacles last week, and it dawned on me that my clumsy son could possibly do the same.His spectacles had been returned to be fixed 3 times already and the optician did remind me that if it happened again, it may not be fixable! So we went and got him a spare pair of spectacles. Of course, we have also bought extra pens, pencils, sharpeners,erasers all in preparation for the big day. I think we have got all corners covered!

And then I heard about how his classmate got his toe stung by a bee in school!! How did that happen? That was my first reaction. Wasn't he wearing his shoes in school? Yes, he was. Then how could his toe get stung? Well, my son said. He was running when his shoe came off. And his foot landed on a bee on the ground and he got stung!!

Talk about luck! So now we are making sure my son wears shoes that will not fall off!!

So at the end of the day it's :
If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. You just cant cover all the bases!! We can only do so much. Lord, thy will be done.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Return on Investment

What Does Return On Investment - (ROI) Mean?
It is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. To calculate ROI, the benefit (return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment; the result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio. Source:

Investopedia explains Return On Investment - ROI
Keep in mind that the calculation for return on investment and, therefore the definition, can be modified to suit the situation -it all depends on what you include as returns and costs. The definition of the term in the broadest sense just attempts to measure the profitability of an investment and, as such, there is no one "right" calculation.

Well, I have not had much luck in my investment ventures. Shares which I bought way back in 1999, before the crash, are still below cost. That's how bad I am at investing.

Well, taking a looking at my other investments (not of the equity nature), I was feeling that I didnt do very well too. You see, both my older two children are chess players, and we have "invested" quite a lot in them and their training. A couple of years back when my daughter was in P6, we tried to get her into a top secondary school based on her CCA of chess. At that time, she was in the top 3 for her age group. However, only 1 all girls school was taking in girls for DSA (Direct schools admission) for chess. Naturally we expected her to be able to get into that school under the scheme. Unfortunately she (and the top national player) were both not taken into the school under that scheme. In fact, 2 other girls, who were much lower ranked got in. We were really disillusioned, as it showed that achievements did not play a part in the selection exercise, but rather what connections you had.

This year, as you know, I am again faced with the same situation, of trying to get my son into a secondary school. We were using the same method of applying based on his chess achievements. My son is also ranked amongst the top 3 for his age group. Luckily for us, we thought, there are 3 boys schools taking in boys under the DSA scheme for chess. Naturally we applied for all 3. Within 2 weeks of the close date for applications, we received rejection letters from 2 of the schools. The first thought that came to my mind was: why are they even claiming to take in students under the scheme if they are not even considering the top 3 in the age group for that particular sport?? It just didnt make sense.

As far I know, for sports like swimming and athletics, those that who well in the National schools championships have a relatively easy task of getting into the top schools, especially if you are in the top 3 for your age-group! So, obviously I think, these schools are really not serious about wanting to take in the top players for my children's sport.

Was it another bad investment decision that we made? Secretly I was quite happy, that D has decided not to pursue chess. It is not a cheap sport, as getting good trainers are not easy. We have to rely on foreign grand/international masters training our children, and that doesnt come cheap.

Well, you would be glad to know, that the 3rd school finally came back and offered my son a place. Our investment has taken a huge load off our shoulders for the coming exams. We are finally seeing some returns. Praise and thank God for that!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Of Kambing Soup, Indian rojak, and Indian Mee siam

There have been posts recently by ieat on his FB page calling for suggestions on places to go for good soup kambing and indian mee siam, and his recent article on it.

These brought back memories for me. Please bear with me as I walk down memory lane ...

I remember as a kid, eating kambing soup at a push-cart stall just outside the Chinese Swimming club on Amber Road. It was a weekly affair, after a swim at the club with my dad, we will stop by the stall on our way home. From what I can remember, it was delicious! In fact, any meal in addition to our 3 main meals were always great, coz we werent blessed with abundant good food then, and anything extra was always welcome.

I also remember eating the Indian rojak, mee siam and kambing soup at Waterloo Street, just across from the old SJI field. I remember the indian rojak was really good and there were many stalls that we could choose from. Nowadays good Indian rojak stalls are so difficult to come by over here. I remember eating at the row of road-side stalls, and watching people kicking their footballs whilst we waited for and indulged the food.

There was also the hawker stalls at the then Prince Edward Road, and Orchard Road car park that only came out at nights. From these two places, I distinctively remember the murtabaks that we ate. Murtabaks are like roti pratas (indian breads), except that they are bigger and had eggs, mutton and onions in them. Mine was always a special order ... no onions please.

All these meals were always with my dad coz I guess it's because my mum doesnt eat beef and mutton. I remember an incident once when we were out for one of these meals and my uncle joined us. My uncle was ordering a cup of tea from the Indian stall, and he didnt want it too strong. So, he thought it was best to speak Malay to the indian man. He told the man "teh tak mau keras", thinking that he told the man he wanted his tea not too thick.

Guess what? The man served him his tea in a condense milk can with a string attached, having heard him say "tea tak mau glass"!! And the tea was strong!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Parenting a teen

That's one of the toughest job.

They tend to be quiet and moody, not wanting to share with you coz in their eyes you are old and just do not understand.

And I really do not understand.

When I tell them to do something, they tend to forget.

If I remind, I am nagging.

If I don't, it's my fault coz I didn't remind them to do it.

If I raise my voice to call out to them (coz they are upstairs and I am downstairs), I am shouting at them and they don't like it.

And if you have well developed lungs like yours truly, God help you, coz then you will be accused of shouting at them ALL THE TIME!

If I don't shout they will say they didnt hear me.

When I tell them to suggest a place for lunch, they would rather not.

But if I decide and they do not like my suggestion, they show me their face.

If you think it's tough being a teen, you are so wrong.

It's tougher being a parent ... of a teen.

And if you read this post hoping for some tips on how to parent a teen, I am sorry you came to the wrong place coz I really don't know how to. I just hope I get thru this phase without any scars to show for it. Wish me luck! I will be parenting at least one teen for the next 12 years.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

First Lady?

The talk around here for the past 2 weeks has, of course, been about the Presidential Elections (PE).

There was a point when friends couldnt decide who to vote for between 2 candidates that they decided they had to take a look at the photos of the first-lady-to-be to help make their decision.You see, over here, the photos of the President and the First Lady are hung in all schools, and government offices. And these friends decided, the First Lady had to be pleasant looking or they would be tortured having to see their faces everyday for the next 6 years. Of course, the choice was made based on the husbands capabilities as President, with the wife's face being the factor that tilted their choice.

As you all know, Dr Tony Tan was elected president on 27 August 2011 and his wife, with that doting patient grandmotherly look may have helped him get that 0.34% more vote compared to his nearest rival. Congrats to Dr Tony Tan!!

Just yesterday (the first school day after the elections), the talk amongst the parents and gradnparents was still on the PE. This lady, an acquaintance, came up to me and said: IF Tan Jee Say can be president, so can your husband. He also manages millions of dollars!! And I think your husband will garner more than the 25% of votes coz he is less confrontational, more diplomatic, and seems a much nicer guy than Jee Say!!

WOW! That comment hit me. Never thought of that! Yes, he manages millions of $$, but only as an employee, yes, he is absolutely not confrontational, yes, he is very diplomatic! (must have been learnt from his years of working for the government), and yes, he is a nice guy - if not why would I have married him!! So he qualifies to run!! Double WOW!! Four million smackeroos a year ... I could do A LOT of SHOPPING and TRAVELLING with that money!! TRIPLE WOW!!

BUT unfortunately he doesnt have any political aspirations, so I can totally forget about getting a make-over, coz I will never be judged for my potential as a first lady : P

Must say I am glad he doesnt have any political aspirations, coz dont think we like to be under public scrutiny at all. We rather be private citizens ABC and XYZ.