Life long sharing . . .

Archive for January 2013


Was marking Ying’s Chinese comprehension exercise. Couldn’t help burst into laughter when looking at her answer for question No.3.

It’s a poem, describing how a mother share an umbrella with her daughter (the author) in the rain.


The umbrella is above my head,

The rain drops fall on my mother’s body.


Question 3. The mother used the umbrella to give shelter to the author, but she didn’t take shelter under the umbrella, letting the raindrops fall on her body, this is because the mother _________________.

A. love the author

B. like to get wet under the rain

C. didn’t bring umbrella


And Ying said, the mother likes to get wet under the rain.



This is the 改正错字 book for Std 2 that I let Ling use, the same series as recommended in my post: 改正错字 last year.


On top of the exercises as in book 1 (section 1: choose the correct word to fill in the blank, section 2: identify and correct the wrong word 改正错字), for Std 2, I found a pleasant surprise. They added a new section, section 3:vocabulary practices for those words that look similar or sound similar.

IMHO, this is very helpful.



Now a bit regretted not buying two copies. (another one for Ying’s turn). Will check it out at Popular this weekend. Hopefully still have stock. Bought them two years back.

[Update: please click to download: Chinese2_1.pdfChinese2_2.pdfChinese2_3.pdf ]

Some part of his booklife, Peter Buffet told story about his father Warren Buffett, and the below story is kind of become the thing that will always show up in my mind whenever his father’s name is mentioned. A man I salute (together with Bill and Melinda Gates) of their 大爱spirit.

On a trip to China with Bill and Melinda Gates, my father was struck by the untold thousands of people working in factories and fields – people who, because of the particular system they had been born into, would remain in those humble roles for their entire working lives. How many potential entrepreneurs,  inventors, and innovators might be buried in those ranks ? Or, as my father put it, “How many Bill Gateses might be laboring on that hillside? “

And also something to learn from this great man on parenting,

One of my father’s often-quoted tenets is that a parent, if he has the means to do so, should give his children “enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing.”

After finish reading the book “Life Is What You Make It”, life

I salute Peter Buffett’s mother even more.

My mother, who was never shy about letting people know where she stand, had a bumper sticker on her car that said NICE PEOPLE COME IN ALL COLORS. 

Far from dividing people, my mother believed, religion should make people allies in their shared quest for meaning and transcendence.

Of all the ways in which my mother impressed upon me the value of education, maybe the most profound is this: She taught me that everyone had a story worth listening to. This is another way of saying that everyone has something to teach.

In my mother’s generous view, if anybody deserved good fortune, then everybody did. And since, in real life, the good luck obviously wasn’t shared out equally, then maybe this whole notion of “deserving” was fundamentally flawed.

My mother had a saying – practically a mantra – that sums this up. She used to tell me that I could be whatever I wanted to be, but not do whatever I wanted to do. In other words, my aspirations could be boundless, but my behavior was subject to right and fitting limits.

Ling’s school is implementing single session now.


In brief: Std 1 – 3, 3 days study from 7.30am to 3pm.

Std 4&5, 4 days study from 7.30am to 4pm.

And Std 6, study 5 days from 7.30am to 4pm PLUS Saturday morning half day !!

After experienced it for two weeks, I must admit, I made a mistake. Single session like above is a no-no for my girls. In fact, I want to tell everyone loud loud that it’s not fit for anyone.

How can we ask children in lower primary to study more than 8 hours a day, with a 30 minutes lunch break ? Even an adult are shielded by labour law to work 8 hours a day, and most of us has a minimum of an hour lunch break. Some more under the hot afternoon sun, plus all the constraints like no talking in class, must pay full attention, sitting still… etc.  A parent said, we adult can’t even sitting still in an aircon room for 8 hours, how can we ask a child to do that in a hot classroom.

And my girls couldn’t finish their lunch, (actually most kids are like them) They are in such a rush, rush to find a seat (the canteen is very crowded), rush to grab their food, and rush to go toilet before the class starts again…  all must be completed within 30 minutes.

Heartache now…

Some said, they will get adjusted and get used to it later. No, the thing is, why we want them to live like that? It’s very not healthy. Lunch is an important meal. All this rushing, and skipping proper lunch, are very NO GOOD for health. Why we want to create a system like that ?  It’s so wrong.

Ya, I know, if the Headmaster read my blog, he will said happily, “If you don’t like the school, we are glad to help to transfer your children out.”

… what should I do now…


Once I was very down, with all pessimistic thoughts in my mind, and my dear sister came to tell me this story. I wish I can re-tell the story as good as my sister. She is a good story teller.

Ajahn Brahm who admired Ajahn Chah very much and came all the way to Thailand hoping to learn from Ajahn Chah. He followed the rest of the monks travelling deep into the rural area where Ajahn Chah was staying and giving his teaching. On one occasion, he was hospitalized with typhus fever. He was so ill that he couldn’t even walk without support.

In his dire condition, he heard that his most admire teacher Ajahn Chah was coming to visit him. Ajahn Brahm was so thrilled and thought that his teacher was coming to comfort him and give him moral support.

But contrary, when Ajahn Chah visited him in hospital and saw his condition, Ajahn Chah famously said, “You’ll either get better or you die.” and left.

Hearing this,  Ajahn Brahm was able to let go of the body (放下)and enter samadhi. And he recovered.

p.s. dedicating this to CP as well.

I came across this in Peter Buffett’s book: “Life is what you make it” and would like to dedicate this to all good teachers especially my father.

Taylor Mali, a poet and teacher who has taken it as his mission to enlarge upon the dignity of teaching. ….

In a dinner party attended by members of various proffesions, inevitably, at some point the conversation turns to earnings, and an attorney in the gathering asks the teacher what he makes.  Mali brilliantly turns the question upside down, as this excerpt will attest (The entire poem can be found at

     You want to know what I make?
     I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could …
     I make parents see their children for who they are and what they can be…
     I make kids wonder,
     I make them question.
     I make them criticise.
     I make them apologize and mean it.
     I make them write, write, write.
     And then I make them read.
     You want to know what I make?
     I make a goddamn difference! What about you?

After publishing about Malaysia in PISA (where we get No. 3  counting backward among 74 countries), last year TIMSS** result is also very ‘heartbreaking’. My next generation will be worse than me… alamak…

(** The TIMSS is the first global assessment of mathematics and science to provide data about trends over time, measuring achievement in these subjects every four years at the fourth and eighth grades since 1995.)

Malaysia’s world ranking in mathematics and science standards had both dropped during the 2003-2011 period, with the former slipping from 10th to 26th place, while the latter dove from 20th to 32nd place out of 64 country.

64 per cent and 66 per cent of Malaysia’s secondary students who had participated in the TIMSS study scored “Low” and “Below Low” in mathematics and science respectively.

This is a view of how we are doing for Maths since 1999:


And this is for Science, see how steep we go south:


How about other countries? Who are the top?


  • Students from East Asian countries outperformed students around the world in mathematics, science and reading at both the fourth and eighth grades
  • In mathematics at the fourth grade, Singapore, Korea, and Hong Kong were top performers, followed by Chinese Taipei and Japan
  • In mathematics at the eighth grade, Korea, Singapore, and Chinese Taipei led the world in achievement, followed by Hong Kong and Japan
  • substantial gap in achievement between these five East Asian countries and the next highest performing countries, including the Russian Federation, Israel, Finland, the United States, and England. For example, the gap in average achievement between Korea and England is more than 100 points. 
  • Korea and Singapore were the top performers in fourth-grade science, followed by Finland, Japan, the Russian Federation, Chinese Taipei and the United States. 
  • Singapore was the highest achiever in science at the eighth grade, followed byChinese Taipei, Korea and Japan. 
  • The top-performing countries in fourth grade reading were Hong Kong, the Russian Federation, Finland and Singapore. Chinese Taipei also had higher achievement than the majority of other participants. 

(** The PIRLS represents the “gold standard” internationally for reading comprehension at the fourth grade, measuring trends every five years since 2001.)

I like the comment I read from this blogger:

“Alamak this is so boring lah.  

Tops in reading :  Singapore, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei. 
Tops in mathematics :  Singapore, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Japan
Tops in science :  Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Korea and Japan”

You can find out more details of Malaysia in TIMSS from 1999-2007 here:

And the latest TIMSS 2011 result here:

Recently facing some issues with my girls’ school, mainly on how the Headmaster run the school. I heard from the senior parents, when issues are raised, the Headmaster will ‘threaten’ by saying “If you don’t like the school, we are pleased to help you transfer to other school.”

I would like to dedicate the below which I read from Peter Buffett’s book: “Life Is What You Make It” (yes, Warren Buffett’s son) to the Headmaster.


“When we do something for pay, whether it’s writing a story or digging a ditch, we need to please the person paying us, but that doesn’t make the work any less our own.

The paradox is that, the finished product, whatever it happens to be, belongs to us as much as to the buyer. We’ve put our own stamp on it; we’ve brought our uniqueness to it. Because it’s part of what we’ve done, it has become a part, as well, of who we are.”

May be the Headmaster thinks the buyer for his service is the MoE who pay him, but I must say, it’s the children and parents of the school who will get the finished product. And sad to say, there is so little value you have stamp on yourself, based on what you have done, as an education worker.

Posted on: January 16, 2013

Would like to share this story I read from the book “Control Your Temper” 《脾气没了,福气来了》。

Control Your Temper

Ya, something I need to work on, very big room for me to improve in this area.


One time, New York Telecom company sent a technician to investigate a dispute at a client’s place. The client was  very frustrated. and threw the temper to the technician upon his arrival.

Normally people couldn’t stand and argue back. But this technician just keep quiet and listen to the client, until he finished voicing out all his discontent. Then only he added his comment.

After the technician finished his explanation gently, the client gave a pat to the technician and said, “Young man, what you said is not wrong, just that I don’t like that bastard company.”

“Thank you. But if you don’t mention that you are fully satisfied with your phone, I cannot leave.” said the technician politely.

“Ok,” answered the client, “I promise you, I won’t write complaint letter to your company again, is that alright?” 

After that, the client never complaints. But what the technician learn is “When a person is angry, on fire, let him express and throw out /release his anger, don’t try to intervene, else it will be a never ending story.”

There are times in life,  we just have to be patient and have to tolerate a bit, when we want to get our things done, or want the person to listen to us.


January 2013

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