Monday, June 11, 2012

Day 1 of Summer Hols 2012

Brian left early morning for Day 1 of Habitat 4 Humanity, this time in Ayutthaya.  Sean and I had breakfast with Eddie before he went to work and then we pretty much lazed about till it was time to head out to the airport to pick Porpor up.

Sean is re-reading the Alex Rider series.  I tried getting him to read a DK book on History but he claimed it was boring.  When we got back from the airport and grocery-shopping, he played around with some strings and popsicle sticks, read some more, and then I saw an article about clouds and imagination so I called out to him to play a cloud-watching game with me.

I got to the balcony first and started looking up at the clouds. Before he even got near to the balcony, he jumped back and gasped, "I see a bird with a really long beak but its body is only a cone and the back of its head has a hole in it and there's smoke coming out of the hole."

I look up and see nothing.

He continues, "I see a fish with one eye and it's frowning."


"There's another fish with a big nose and it's looking at its nose."


"I can see a woman's head and the hair is really long and the head doesn't have any body."


"I can see a giant silkworm floating in the sky and it's curling up."

The entire time, I see nothing.  Sigh...

Brian got home earlier than expected, had dinner and went to bed early, tired from a day of drilling and hammering (which he said he wasn't very good at).  I managed to have a little chat with him before he snoozed off.  Then Sean practised some violin, and read some more.

And that's how Day 1 went.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Last day of school

Yesterday was the last day of school :( and Sean brought home a card from his teacher with this sweet note written behind it.


This morning Sean insulted me.

We were in bed playing an iPad game with he turned to me and said, "Maybe you should read more..."

I turned to him with a raised eyebrow, "Why?"

Sean: Cos whenever I tell you something, you always say 'Oh I didn't know that...".

Me: I know things that you don't!

Sean: Such as?

Me: Mmmmm, such as, how to bake a cake! You don't know how to bake a cake, do you?

Sean: I mean academic things!

Me: Wehhhhhh (pretending to bawl), you're saying a 10 year old knows more things than I do!!!

Sean: I'm 9.

Me: Wehhhhhh......

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Who are the Most Successful People?

Sean brought home an "Op-Ed" piece he did in school. The topic was his choice, his points are simplistic and I believe were pieced together from Brian's retelling in a nutshell of what he learnt about Mary & Elizabeth in Grade 9 World Civ. But the conclusion is apt for leaders to think about eh? Open-mindedness and tolerance; if everyone could practise these, the world would be a much better place. I told Brian he should now tell Sean about the Enlightenment thinkers he recently learnt about like Hobbes, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Locke, etc whose thoughts on government systems were so different from those already in place at the time and were such a revolution in political thinking. I believe learning about historical figures like these teach our kids to question status quos and not just accept everything we're told as fact, and that's always a good thing. Right? haha.

Who are the Most Successful People?: Sean (Grade 4)

Who are the most successful people? Smart people? Imaginative people? Courageous people? Personally, I think that the most successful people are people who can tolerate others' beliefs. Another way of saying it is that you need to be open-minded to be successful. There are many examples of this, like ones from the past.

In medieval England, there were two sisters (who were princesses) and two religions. The sisters were called Mary and Elizabeth. The religions were Catholics and Protestants, and the religions were against each other. Mary was the older one. Her father, King Henry VII died, so Mary took over the throne. Mary was a Catholic. Not just a Catholic though, she was a Catholic who couldn't tolerate Protestants. Since she couldn't tolerate them, she tried to burn all the Protestants. However, she failed. Politically, she was unsuccessful. After a few years of ruling, she died.

After that, England needed a new ruler. So they chose Queen Elizabeth, Mary's sister. Elizabeth was different from Mary. Firstly, she was a Protestant. Secondly, she could tolerate the Catholics, and she didn't burn them. Queen Elizabeth stayed on the throne for 45 successful years.

Now, if you had a ruler who wasn't open-minded and couldn't tolerate you, they would treat you unfairly, because they can't tolerate you. No one wants to be treated unfairly, right? So you get your rights back by rebelling. That makes that ruler politically unsuccessful. However, if you had a ruler who was open-minded and could tolerate you, they wouldn't treat you unfairly, which means you would have your rights. If you have your rights, there is no need to rebel. Therefore, you don't rebel. That obviously makes that ruler politically successful.

So what do you think? How did Mary behave? Was she successful? How did Elizabeth behave? Was she successful? Think about these questions. I am not saying that open-mindedness is all you need to be successful, though it's an important start. Maybe you should think about that. Finally, remember what Dr Seuss said, "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."

Monday, June 04, 2012

Rare gathering in Bangkok

Photo: Authentic tapas party, great afternoon with wonderful food n company.
While I really love living in Bangkok, I have to say we actually gather less with other families here than in other postings.  In Frankfurt, the Singaporean/Malaysian community was small, there were more SQ colleagues and there wasn't much else to do except gather together and share meals.  We would meet up lots for meals or have cookouts at one another's houses.  Lots of fun and memories.  In London, there were also many families to hang out with, be it for mahjong or for meals.  Eddie also had a wonderful boss whose home was always a welcoming gathering place for mahjong, food and karaoke.  In Moscow, we didn't have many friends with kids, but they were all still good fun and gregarious folks to hang out with.  Restaurant fare wasn't enticing so we'd take turns hosting one another with all kinds of Malaysian/Singapore food which we missed a lot.

In Bangkok, I'm not sure why, but we don't socialise much as a family with other families.  I think it gets too easy to just hang out with certain groups of people and then not see them for months cos there isn't that need to forge close-knitted friendships.  Kind of sad really.  There is however 3 other couples whom we do hang out with occassionally (well, more than with any other families), but they're some years younger than us, with kids Sean's age and younger.  Brian is very left out when we have these gatherings.  It's always fun though when we do meet up.  Yesterday was one such gathering hosted by one couple Daphne and Ekk at their beautiful place in Sathorn.

These two lovebirds had gone on a 16-day Spanish tour (sans kids) and returned with lots of Spanish goodies.  They decided to hold a tapas party yesterday, complete with Sangria.  There was so much food considering the kids (except Brian) weren't partaking in the tapas and the food was delicious.

I love Spanish food and we had actually gone on a holiday to Barcelona earlier this year.  I might share our pictures here one of these days as our experience might prove useful to those planning a trip to that beautiful city.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to more tapas this week as the ladies plan to meet up again to finish up the rest of Daphne's and Ekk's Spanish loot.

Oh, Sean had a whale of a time and got all sweaty playing nerf guns with the other kids and 2 of the dads.  Brian brought his French book to study (exams are here) but he ended up sleeping, tipsy from having one glass of Sangria.  I later saw that mild drinking can be good for stimulating intellectual capacity so I'm expecting him to slay the papers he's doing today and tomorrow!