Creepy Crawlies

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Remember not too long ago, I did a post on my beautiful Pussy Willows? Everyone who came to my house were simply amazed at how it has bloomed. Leaves and all, but now, it seems to be infested with CATERPILLARS!

See what I mean!!! Ewwww! it's amazing how these things grow! In case u r still in planet X, these r not caterpillars, they are my willows!

On a happier note, Godma called to say I should cook mee sua with two eggs for myself (or buy, coz she knows how busy I am) in celebration of my birthday....So I postponed this morning's lesson and whipped up a simple yet delicious meal!

That's me, lookin damn round, clad in my VJ PE!

This is extremely delicious! Everyone should try! It's essentially Mayo Prawns, but the batter is made using egg yolk and flour. Deep fry the prawn and stir fry it with the sauce thereafter. For the Mayo sauce, add a little chilli sauce and salt to it and Viola! Scrumptious.

That's my bowl of special Mee Sua. Sweetie helped me to cook the Mee Sua while I cooked the soup stock and two perfect hard boil eggs!

The secret to cooking the perfect hard boil eggs is to put it in a pot, cover with water which is approximately 1.5inches high(okok, i dont measure, basically just ensure the eggs are covered). Bring to a boil for approximately 18 mins, switch burner off and let egg simmer in the pot for a minute or so. Then scoop it out and place them in ice cold water. This will help in de-shelling and preventing little pot holes!

PS: I'm actually having mixed feelings today. Good fren's operation went well and she's recuperating well from the op -- Happy!

Frustrated -- Re-scheduled my lessons just to accommodate this child but end of the day, parent tells me she STILL prefers to have it on Monday when I specifically "hinted" it's ridiculous for mi to travel from Simei to XX and to arrive at only 830pm! But she doesnt mind. However, with such a change, some other students will have to suffer. Thankfully, I have some really accommodating and cooperative students. Sometimes it's not the students, it's the parents! Soooo irritating when they go "ohh my kid have to rest for an hour after they come child needs to eat his dinner at 7pm...or my kid have to sleep at 9pm"! Give me a break....seriously last time when my teacher tells mommy what time she's coming, mommy will just oblige no matter how late it is. And if i have not eaten, mommy will dish it out n i'll eat and study at the same time. Nowadays, kids are simply PAMPERED to the max! URGH! INFURIATING!!!!!!

HAPPY again -- gonna turn XX soon! OMG OMG OMG! Someone famous said we should all learn to embrace the aging process, so I'm enjoying every moment! :-)

Operation Curry A Success!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday morning and I had to get up way early (ok, it was 930am..high time I got up, but still, it's SUNDAY) to do my marketing. Fortunately, this isn't a weekly thing! I don't understand how can our moms or grannies wake up at 4am, do chores and go to the market and still be so conscious by midday! If it's me, I'll simply doze off in the middle of my chores!

Anyway, feast your eyes on some pictures. Invited friends over for a curry feast again! Cost me quite a bit though:
  • Chicken -- $22.80 (it was for a medium chix and 6 drums...uncle even threw in 4 feet!)
  • Vege -- $14 (the aunty was super grouchy. When another old lady didn't want to buy her veg and got some other stuff instead, the aunty scolded her saying that she didn't know how to appreciate her veg. . “这个不美,设么才美?你们这些人哪!不知道怎么想。” She kept repeating the same shit for 6 times whilst i was standing there)
  • Canned Fat Pork -- $9.90
  • Shallots, Garlic etc -- $6
  • Curry powder -- $3 (the aunty was very nice to throw in some curry leaves and lemongrass for me....but she must have earned heaps from me)
  • Prawns -- $9 (huge! but there were only 10 pcs! Meaning to say each is close to $1! woooo....decided to keep this for myself instead of cooking for the army)'s what the hype was all about:

Look at the amount of oil I had to scoop up from the curry! Ah Pek wasn't too happy that I was scooping up his treasures!

The 红烧肉(fatty meat) Bee Hoon, prepared by the two Janices. Liyun and I were struggling to stir the Bee hoon, but turned out great. Everybody loves it!

In case the curry wasn't a success, I've prepared braised mushrooms and vegetables which can't go wrong! ohh n of coz, sweetie wanted soup, thus I prepared Lotus Soup. Stupid Lotus cost me $7 ok!!! But heng it was the right kind. Experience tells me that for the soup to be successful, the lotus is very important. Choose those which are fat and round....n upon skinning the root, if the flesh is a little reddish, those are the best! Confrim sweet, as oppose to those pale white ones often sold in Cold Storage. So I guess my $7 is well spent! :-)

Huge pot of curry! A total of one medium chix, 6 drums and 4 feet are used!
Was afraid the curry wouldn't turn out nice...Today's crowd's critical. With Gwakie (my ever supportive supportor), Elf and Fatty sitting on the panel, I can't afford to make any mistakes else the bullets from their mouth will shoot out.

Fatty sat down the moment the gals were helping to set the table.
Fatty: Janice
Me: What?
Fatty: I'm going to sit down and eat.
Me: need to tell me la
Fatty: Janice
Me: What? (irritated and worried he'd be complaining about the food)
Fatty: Very good

Everybody's happy. YEAH!

After dinner, everyone's back to their favourite pastime -- Cards.

Hello Kitty Wonderland!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Have you ever been to Hello Kitty's house? I just went to one! It's 3rd storey bungalow is literally filled and decorated with Hello Kitty collectibles! The guest rooms are all filled with Hello Kitties...the toilet's shower head is also of hello Kitty!! EVEn the shampoos are Hello Kitty brand (yes, you didn't know they had it right?) n that big ass hello kitty you will see in the following pic, it's as huge as a 10 yr old boy!!! If you can see, there's even a living room with a hello kitty sofa, fridge, computer and floor to ceiling cabinets filled with Hello KITTY! When i saw them, i simply kept going OMG OMG!!! The 4 rooms which are filled with the kitties are as big as my house!!! OMG OMG!

Be a passionate teacher!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Read this article in the Straits Times and it got me thinking again. Is teaching a dumping ground when graduates or working adults can seek the pay they want in the society? I'm particularly disturbed when I know that MOE is embarking on a huge recruitment drive. In the midst of the recession, casting the nets this wide may have detrimental effects. As it is, there are a group of teachers who are teaching not for passion but for other reasons, namely -- money and freedom (in the past). Read up the news on (education section) and it's not hard to find articles regarding teachers being demoralising and uninspiring. True, we've often read about great teachers getting awards for their motivating ways, but I believe this is just a small percentage. Majority of them are complaining and with the workload that there is in school right now, it's no wonder, they vent their anger one the young ones at times! This is a reason why I don't wish to be a school teacher.

However, each time a friend decides on a career change and plan to take the teaching route, it gets me thinking. Recently a friend, who used to be in the financial sector, tendered his resignation and plans to teach. He isn't exactly someone whom I deem as teaching material to be honest. Not because he is stupid, but it's the mentality. I've always portrayed him as someone who has a passion for other fields. Well, let's hope he doesn't regret and does a spanking good job at teaching. Coz seriously, we do not need another sicko teacher to demoralise our children!

Read about the article below:
Throw the hiring net wide

By Sandra Davie, Senior Writer

IS THE Education Ministry's latest teacher hiring spree a good or bad thing?

In Parliament last week, several backbenchers voiced concern over MOE's plan to recruit a record number of 3,000 teachers in this recessionary year.

They were worried that the surge of retrenched people who sign up for teaching as a last resort may not make committed teachers.

In November and December alone, MOE received some 3,000 applications. If this surge continues, MOE will no doubt have its pick from a very large pool of applicants.

In response, Education Minister Ng Eng Hen has given the assurance that MOE will not compromise its standards and will pick only those with the passion, aptitude and commitment to teaching.

Going by the latest research on teacher recruitment and selection, a large pool of applicants to choose from is exactly what is needed.

Experts say, even with the best interview techniques and pre-selection criteria, it is near impossible at the point of hiring to foretell who would make a good teacher. Some have found that you have to try out four candidates just to get one good teacher.

Your best bet is: Throw the net wide and hope to reel in a few good ones.

The latest educational research to understand what constitutes good, effective teaching, how such teachers are made and how to get more of them has shown that good teachers make the most marked difference to a student's performance.

Stanford University's Professor Eric Hanushek, who does economic analyses of educational policies, found that students under a very bad teacher learn, on average, half a year's worth of material in one school year. However, those taught by a very good teacher learn a year-and- a-half's worth of material.

The difference is staggering, amounting to a year's worth of learning in a single year.

His studies also showed that good teachers make more of a difference than a reduction of class size. Research showed that the average class size had to be cut almost in half to get the same boost you would get if you switched from an average to a good teacher.

Going by these findings, it is apparent that nothing matters more than hunting down those with the potential to be great teachers. But here's the rub: How do you do that when the traits of great teachers are so intangible and indefinable?

More than a few researchers have tried to answer this question by shadowing and taping hundreds of good teachers in action in classrooms in an attempt to narrow down some generic great traits.

But most, like Professor Robert Pianta of the University of Virginia, have only succeeded in describing what happens in a classroom with a great teacher.

For starters, the children interact with one another and the teacher in a positive manner. The teacher moves around the room, monitoring activities and offering support where needed.

She challenges them to use reasoning and problem-solving skills. She also uses a variety of formats to keep children interested and also gives expanded, detailed feedback beyond a right or wrong check mark on a test.

Such findings suggest that what is required is not necessarily book smarts.

Yet when reforming education systems, one oft-heard suggestion is to push for more highly qualified teachers. MOE, for example, recently said that new hires for teaching, including those for primary schools, will need to have a degree.

But the findings of another group of researchers - Harvard economist Thomas J. Kane, Dartmouth economist Douglas Staiger, and Center For American Progress' policy analyst Robert Gordon - debunk this completely.

When investigating whether it helps to have a teacher who has earned a teaching certification or a master's degree, they concluded neither makes a difference in the classroom.

More crucial to effective teaching, American education researcher Jacob Kounin found out, were special qualities such as 'withitness', which he defines as knowing what is going on at all times in one's classroom.

Great teachers, he concluded, also have multitasking ability, called 'overlapping', which allows them to deal with two or more events going on in the classroom at the same time. They are also able to engage the whole class and 'maintain group focus'.

But how can you tell if someone has these requisite qualities until they stand up in front of a classroom of 40 children?

The point is: You can't.

Hence, casting the net wide is key. Experts suggest opening teaching to anyone who shows a keen interest and meets the basic qualifications. Then put applicants through a apprenticeship system with rigorous evaluation.

In this respect, MOE is on the right track with its contract teaching scheme where some are put through a three-to- 12-month teaching stint in schools before they enter teacher training.

According to MOE, one in seven who are put through such trials is found unsuitable and gets sifted out.

Bold educational reformers such as Ms Michelle Rhee, the chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools in the United States, have suggested going further.

She has put forward a controversial plan where teachers already in service can opt to go on a one-year probation, where they are evaluated rigorously, including how much their students' performance improves by the end of the year.

Those who don't make the cut have to leave, while those who prove their worth are paid six-figure salaries.

MOE has already raised the salaries of teachers and instituted a performance- based pay system for teachers since 2001. But going by the salary levels quoted - $58,000 annually for an average performer who has been teaching for three years and $65,000 for a top performer - the differentiation is just not sharp enough.

To keep talented teachers, whom studies show are all important, MOE should go further and pay them a premium, in the six-figure range.

After all, it is common practice in all other professions to pay top dollar to top performers to retain them.

So why not in education where what's at stake is the future of Singapore and its children."

Very heavy heart

It started off as a great morning. I thought it'd be a relaxing day since it's Friday! Last night, I had a good talk with my sweetie, who is finally opening up and becoming more ambitious. This morning, i was greeted by two traumatizing news:
1) Friend A is filing for a divorce (i'm teaching her kid!)

Relationship is a funny thing. You spend half your life understanding the other party and then spend the next few years flaunting your vulnerabilities and flaws, only to realise you can't stand that person or perhaps to be betrayed by that person. He is everything to you when you are sooo swooned over him, but once it's over, you have to banish every single thing to the back of the cupboard. Even to remain as friends is painful. (that's why I make sure it's a clean cut for all, except one) Friendship has to be worked on because at times, the hurt and pain has a strange way of creeping back into your life.

Wonder if there's really true love?

2) Friend B (a close fren) has breast cancer n is going for an op next wk. She refuses to tell frens as she feels it's nothing to announce. but i feel super duper upset now. i really wanna be with hug her. SHe' been there for me when i was in my lows. But i know, she's a very strong woman who will brace through it. My fren, I will pray for u!

The heart's very heavy now...i dont know what else to say.

News Flash & Hot Gossips

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It was a humid afternoon (and still is!). The scorching sun rays were beating mercilessly on the ground. Amazing orange hue coloured the skies as the sun set in the west. The clouds covered the majestic sun that was retreating to welcome the velvety night. Stars glistened in the reddish evening sky.....OK STOP IT JAnice! enough creative writing!

After a night of fun, I woke up officially at 1145pm. SHIOK! Was however awoken by sweetie's mobile at 830am! Who in the world wakes up at 830am and calls each other?!..gosh! Then next, there was a ear-piercing bawl from god-knows who's kid! It was really irritating. Next came the honks from Mr Garung Guni...wah's Sunday people! Give me a break!

Anyway, after breakfast, the usual friends came over to my house to while their time away. I took the opportunity to catch up with my GK. read so many articles, I felt extremely knowledgeable!

What's wrong with students these days? First I read of a 13 yr old boy being a father in London!, (apparently before him, there was another 12 yr old father....n when interviewsed, the stupid 13-yr old does not even know the meaning of financially capable! But yet, he was capable of impregnating a 15-yr old ger who was on the pills! wah lau! What's happening! Can't these people treasure their virginity a little more?), now I read of teacher-students relationships! This has been a hot topic in recent years...n today, i see it on Sunday times as well as New Paper....I guess, it's getting more rampant. Why am I not surprised? I was counsellor to a 16yr old girl who had a 24 yr old bf!!! Sigh...Nothing against BGRs, but children, get your priorities straight. Ensure that you have a bright future first, don't be blinded by love coz not all love is true!

This is soooo true in the case of Jamie Yeo and Glenn Ong who has announced their divorce after 4 yrs of marriage? Sad, coz i realli like Jamie. According to the article, they've drifted apart. Perhaps they are both career minded....In life we must strike a balance. It's tough. even for my case, A healthy relationship takes two to clap. Ohhh did i mention, I bought the latest issue of Simply Her and there's this article about a couple who met at the age of 15 and have been together ever since. They've pak-tor for 10yrs, got hitched and now at 35, they've got two kids!....Sounds very fairy tale isn't it? But on first look, i thought they did an article on me!hahaha...Dejavu....minus the kids at this moment. :-)

Next article which caught my attention was this mother who gave birth to 8 kids.thru artificial insemination of coz...She already has 6 kids at home and is on welfare and has loads of debts. There's big debate on whether she's a good mom. I think she's just insane...not thinking before giving birth! How in the world are the kids gonna grow up happy without money!?..they are sooo gonna suffer! I heard on dramas that it takes 4 mil to raise a kid in HK and 1mil in SG.....guess that's why Singaporeans are cutting back on kids despite the baby bonus given by the government....they are simply not enticing enough!

Have you found your Valentine?

How was your Vday folks? Vday has received so much hype that I think most people don't know the true meaning of it (i don't!haha)...Anyway, the eve of Vday was spoilt by a little quarrel between me and sweetie which once again displayed the differences in character. No wonder they say opposite attracts! This attraction can be fatal! Long story short, the air has been cleared (as usual) but the heart still wonders.

Sweetie was nice enough to book the entired 5-star restuarant (located @ in a cosy corner of Kembangan *Wink*)

The Setup was perfect. candlelight dinner. Main course were Miso Cod and Fresh Medium done Rib eye Steak....with butter mushrooms as sides. YUM!

Ohhhh did i mention? He bought me flowers too! Yah right! It's just the leftovers from CNY la! The pussy willows in case you were wondering!
(PS: Remember I blogged about my willows blooming n that it's supposedly to bring me luck in 4D? Well, guess what? The number which I bought for 2 wks opened yesterday, BUT I DIN FREAKING BUY!!!!!!!!it's my bday with sweetie's bday! but oh well, wat's yours will be yours)

This crab chowder was made by me. Not bad, but needs a bit more sweetness and seafood flavour in it. :-)definitely better than Campbell!

Behind the scenes....

Little neck clams! My all time favourite! Nicely simmered in Vongole sauce. Sweetie did the cooking whilst I gave the instructions. I was still cooling down from the little tiff, so this was what he did to compensate. :-)

Sweetie enjoying his salad...I hate raw stuff (except fruits) so he had them all -- Half naked!haha.

After dinner @ the 5-star restauarant, it was time for some chilling at the movies. Private room no less! With an ice-cold beer to top it all off!

The movies were a bore. Nothing much but Bourne Identity on CH5!'s Vday for crying out loud! Shouldn't they be screening more romantic shows?grrrr....So off we went to a nice french pub at Bt Pasoh to chill with some frens.

Us -- Looking so different!

The Singles, The Dating and Morgan Freeman!

Going GAGA over French version of "David Beckham"

Stupid asshole is either drunk, inconsiderate or has to go back to driving school! Look at how he parked!? That could have been my lot! Bcoz of him, i had to park way far from my blk! Damn. I placed a little "note" that says "Give me a chance to park..b considerate or go back to driving school"...sweetie was trying to stop me, but I DONT CARE!

My new neighbours?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My neighbourhood is probably one of the best in Singapore. With only 16 blks of HDBs, and a whole lot of landed properties, the tranquility sets in the moment you step into this district. For all u know, there may be an enbloc in future!!! woohooo!!! Anyway, it's great to know that frens are thinking of getting a unit in this area. Yeah! That means more people to join the clan!

Alert! Wife abuser on the loose!

You thought they look innocent right?

Deep down, they are angels...real nice frens. hope they find their dreamhouse (at my neighbourhood no less) amidst this horrible overpriced market, soon!

After years of courtship, this happy couple is finally tying the knot!..So happy for em!