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03/01 Direct Link
This is a big day at our school because we're celebrating the day someone founded the school. Because we have such a loaded calendar the whole year round, we are also awarding the academic performance prizes to the top students. The ceremony would be followed by a reception. The school Annual committee had also chosen this day for the faculty photo shoot. So, an otherwise short day would now be extended by another two hours!
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had an activity scheduled after the photo shoot.
I can't wait for this day to end.
03/02 Direct Link
I'm really glad I didn't have to attend the big dinner last night. I really don't like the job taking so much of my time outside of classes. We are not executives who have to dine and wine with clients. We are just teachers. Our students are not our clients. I managed to go to bed before 11 last evening. Of course, it would be another hour before I finally fell asleep, but being able to hit the sack before midnight is a luxury I cherish. It means I wake up this morning refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
03/03 Direct Link
If not for technology, our memories remain inside our heads, and when we die, they go with us. With time, even those who share them with us will die, and eventually there will be nothing left of them. But unlike other species, human beings have a way of transferring memories. In the beginning, we transfer our memories with spoken language, then written word, and now we digitise both our words and our images so that our memories can now be stored and put on display whenever we want. The moments in our lives will live on long after we're gone.
03/04 Direct Link
My friend is attending night class to draw cartoons. Today she shared what she was taught about drawing with pastels. You don't put the crayon to the paper directly. You roll up some tissue paper into a small, tight ball and rub the pastel on it. Then you rub that on to your picture. So that's how it's done! I've tried pastel but couldn't get it smoothly on to the paper. This evening, I tried it on a sketch I drew of myself, and was very pleased with the result. It's useful to attend classes. You might just learn something.
03/05 Direct Link
What am I often unhappy about? In the past, I was mostly unhappy about difficult people that I have to live with or work with. As I grow older, I became more tolerant, more patient, towards people who make my life difficult. Then I learn to forgive them, and if I can't, I ignore them, or distance myself from them. Now, I'm less judgmental about people as I realize I've my faults too. I'm sure some people find me difficult too. So, there really isn't very much to be unhappy about. Sometimes it helps to examine ourselves when we're unhappy.
03/06 Direct Link
You know you have grown old when you don't feel it's important to have things your way. I used to be like, "see wrong and try to right it", but not anymore. The system will always have flaws, and even if changes are made, with time, entropy sets in, and there will be chaos. As times change, the system would need to change too. So, it's really not important to insist on making things right. Long after I'm gone, the school will remain, would have gone through changes, and would still have areas that needed fixing. So, take it easy.
03/07 Direct Link
I have been on this medication for an autoimmune condition that manifested itself in dry skin, dry eyes and occasional rashes. The blood test shows I have high ESR.

Put simply, the medication is supposed to relieve the dryness and prevent the rashes (vasculitis). But I'm not disturbed by the dryness. It's not severe enough to prevent me from living a normal life. What bothers me is that the ESR has not gone down after more than three years on the medication.

So why should I continue the medication with blindness as a potential side effect?
03/08 Direct Link
The dear girl wants to borrow a data logger from the Lab to measure soil moisture for her fieldwork report although there are other ways to do it.

As I'm not a Biology teacher, I explain, I'll need to get a request form from the lab, she gets her father's signature, I take it to the Dean of Biology for endorsement, if I can find him, and then go and sign out the thingy for her.

"Great! Let's go now!" she says.

She just didn't get it! And I don't mean the data logger!
03/09 Direct Link
The unchangeability of equatorial weather does something to people who live there all their lives: it makes one day the same as another. We know the temperature will hover around 32 to 34, with the occasional showers. Expect thunderstorm in the late afternoon. Sometimes I wonder why they even bother with the weather forecast. Even climate change didn't bring much change to our weather. There was an unusually long dry spell of about fifty days in February and March last year, but after that, things return to normal. I guess I shouldn't complain. Predictability is manageability. The familiar offers security.
03/10 Direct Link
I don't want to be a copycat, or model myself after anyone. I don't want mentors. Life is a journey. What I become at the end of the journey is the result of a series of events, and the decisions and choices I make at each point in my life. Because no one else has lived my life in exactly the same circumstances that I have found myself, and with exactly the same people whom I live my life with, therefore no one else can tell me how to live my life. Am I right? Close enough, I should think.
03/11 Direct Link
It's going to be a tough day, so I tell me myself that not all that is taking place is important. I prioritise.

There is the Track and Field Meet this afternoon after classes. My priority this morning are my classes.

I've registered all the teams for the meet. If some students say they can't run, I won't worry about it. There's nothing I can do. My teams may not win the races, but it's alright.

I shall not stress myself worrying about things which are not important, or which are beyond my control.
03/12 Direct Link
We talk to start conversations and talk to continue conversations. It's as if we relate by having things to say, and if we don't talk, we seem cold and disinterested. I dread conversations, especially casual conversations among friends. It's not that I don't like my friends. I just don't want to say things I would regret.

I regret embellishing the truth to make it more interesting. I regret saying unkind things about others. I'm not comfortable divulging personal matters. I don't like complaining about work or talking about students. I don't talk politics. I would rather not talk.
03/13 Direct Link
This is the part I don't like about travelling: waking up at an unearthly hour to catch the early morning flight. I was only able to hit the sack near midnight and even then, sleep did not find me until much later. I got up more than three times to use the restroom.

But I did have a brief dream, so I must have fallen asleep before the alarm went off at 4.00 a.m. The cab we booked the night before arrived promptly at 4.40 and we got to the airport by 5.30a.m..
03/14 Direct Link
The fields looked like they were covered with grass but our guide told us they're actually growing garlic! We stopped at this farm where a friendly old gentleman allowed us to look at his fields. He proudly showed us his plot of strawberries. When we left, he even gave us a bag of freshly picked strawberries for our journey. There were so many farmers planting garlic that they staggered their crops so that there would not be an oversupply which would drive down the price. It's good to know that people in this community actually work together for the common good.
03/15 Direct Link
I'm now at this resort at alltitude 1,200m. This is somewhere in Asia, but for a while back there on the road here, the rolling hills with a patchwork of newly ploughed fields of red and brown and yellow made me feel like I was in Australia. The sky with long wispy clouds also remind me of the long white clouds of NZ.

Even the resort look European. But I'm not in the West or the South. I am somewhere in Asia, watching history being made. Myanmar has a new president. The Lady is now firmly in power.
03/16 Direct Link
I'm quite proud of myself today I walked 13.02 km along a hilly trek through fields of cabbages, cauliflower, oranges, dragonfruit, onions, garlic and rice. There were all kinds of fruit trees. On the higher slopes, we walked through tea plantations. I had dreaded this part of the trip because I couldn't see myself completing a four hour trek on hilly terrain. I'm thankful that it wasn't a scorching day, and in parts where the shadow of the hills fell, it was even quite chilly. I slipped and fell a couple of times, but I think I did good.
03/17 Direct Link
Read what the Chinese are saying about the presidential elections in the US: it's a joke. They held it up as an example of why they say the masses cannot choose a country's leaders. "Chaunpu" is an extremist, a racist and he makes the campaign "carnivalesque, buffoonist" and even vulgar. It is shocking, they say, that the presidential race has sunk to this level of "vulgarity". I am not about to comment on these comments or the campaign circus. But is it not plain to see that the candidate "Chaunpu" cannot lead the most powerful democracy of the free world?
03/18 Direct Link
I have been away for six days, and it's good to be home. The floor is a little dusty, but otherwise everything seems the same. There is no indication that we had been away except for the dried up plant outside the gate. It would spring to life again once the air con is on and the water from the condenser unit above drip into the soil in the pot. My son had dropped in to feed the fish and take the papers in. Everything else is the way we left them six days ago. It's good to be home.
03/19 Direct Link
I have been away for a week. Just got back yesterday. Everything seems the same. The food in the fridge is as I have left it. The weather is still as hot. Our neighbors don't even know we have been away - which is good, really. What do I expect? It's only been a week! I still miss home when I am away on a trip. It's not just the family. It's the things I am familiar with. And here we are thinking of retiring abroad in a couple of years! How will I cope with this disconnect from things familiar?
03/20 Direct Link
Today is Sunday, Palm Sunday. We had a guest preacher this morning, and he was a breath of fresh air. We can do with guest preachers once in a while. He gave some new insights into the story in Luke 19. Yes, the people spread palm leaves, so it's Palm Sunday. But they also spread their garments on the ground, so why not Garments Sunday? The King rode a colt, or a donkey, so why not Donkey Sunday? He wasn't making fun of the story. He made his point. He had a very serious message, and I understood him completely.
03/21 Direct Link
My tongue hurts. My upper palette hurts. My gums hurt. My throat feels dry. I had thought I had made it back from my holiday abroad without falling sick, but I think the post-holiday health problems are just now kicking in. I'm thankful there's nothing else. I hope. It must be the food. Too much fried and spicy food. The Thai food I had for dinner the day I got back must have exacerbated the problem. I had fried fish cake and fried chicken in mango sauce and very spicy tom yum soup. That must have done me in.
03/22 Direct Link
Most of the chores they throw me at work are actually quite easily done. Still, it bothers me when the bosses ask for things that aren't really necessary. They are micro-managing. I don't like being micro-managed. It shows they don't treat us as professionals.
It bothers me because we are spending many needless hours producing reports, documents, forms that take time away from preparing lessons, grading assignments and family and friends. If we are not professionals, then what are we? I feel like a slave, obeying the masters, and having no say in how this place is run.
03/23 Direct Link
There were attacks in Brussels - at the airport and at the train station - and they were all over the news- CNN, BBC, RT, CNA... Brussels shut down all public transport. Why do people do these things? Is there a point to all these madness? There was a train accident back home yesterday. Two maintenance workers were killed while working on the tracks. There was nothing in our local news channels. I only found out this morning at breakfast. My friends said it was all over social media. It's comforting to know it's not so easy to blackout news these days.
03/24 Direct Link
She was only there because a friend from out of town wanted to see the casino. But she hit the jackpot - almost half a million - and became the envy of town. At first, the casino refused to pay her the winnings, saying the machine malfunctioned! She lodged a complaint with the authorities and won. She then gave it all away to charity! Her friends and relatives were angry with her for helping strangers instead of people she knew. She said, they wanted her money to settle credit card bills and start businesses! I say, well done, lady! Good on you!
03/25 Direct Link
We thought we knew a lot of the universe, but with each new discovery, we find our old beliefs and assumptions challenged, and we wonder how much of the rest of the stuff think we know are actually true. For instance, we thought Pluto was a cold and featureless planet and unable to support life. Then, one of our unmanned spacecraft got to the planet after a long journey and sent back pictures of what look like mountains, suggesting there are tectonic forces, and the planet is not featureless! This week pictures of one of Saturn's moons also showed mountains!
03/26 Direct Link
Yesterday was Good Friday and tomorrow is Easter Sunday. I haven't exactly squandered the long weekend. Yesterday, I caught up with my Coursera assignment, and prepared a quiz for my Environment class. I sent my grand-daughter and her mother to her maternal grandparents' home for the weekend. I had dinner at my husband's parents' place. This morning, I went to the hospital for a blood test, borrowed books at the Library and when I got home, I washed my track shoes. I didn't save the world, or help the poor, but this will do for now, don't you think?
03/27 Direct Link
The afternoon gets very hot these days. They say it's the El Nino, or global warming, or both. But as far as I know, it has always been so hot. It gets hotter towards the middle and third quarter of the year. Having said that, it would be only about 3 degrees hotter, about 38 deg C at its worse. What makes it bearable is the rain. We have about 260 days of rain a year, and that helps. However, if it doesn't rain, the heat will be unbearable. Like these days. It hasn't rained much for a week already.
03/28 Direct Link
I don't believe that time travel is ever going to be possible. Because the past isn't there anymore. There's no past to get back to. The memories exist in your mind, and even then, the way you remember the past will also change with time. Those footprints in the sands of time will eventually be washed away as the tide comes in. I also do not believe that traveling to the future is ever going to be possible, because the future does not exist. So, what we have is really just the present, here and now. Live without regrets. Now.
03/29 Direct Link
What is emotional maturity? Well, for one thing, the temperament of an emotionally mature person should be adjusted to be patient with even incendiary views, to respond calmly and respectfully, and not interrupt. But everyday, we see more and more examples of emotional immaturity even in public figures. We don't have to look far. The current presidential campaign in the US has plenty of examples of people not waiting for others to finish, not being calm and respectful in their responses, and interrupting at public debates and talk shows. They even slander one and another and call one another liars.
03/30 Direct Link
The first presenter read a short story from a book. We were all ears when she started. There must be a point somewhere, and we were prepared to hear her out, but as she went on and on, chapter by chapter, as though reading to a class of elementary school kids, she lost us. By chapter three, we lost interest. By chapter four, we lost our patience and by chapter five, we were on our digital gadgets. She should have paraphrased and summarized the story and get to the point. After all, we're all trained teachers. We get it already!
03/31 Direct Link
I sat down at my usual table in the staff corner with my lunch. I had planned on a quick bite and then off to class to get ready for the next lesson. First came Bob (not his real name). He was happy to see me, and sat down to keep me company. It might stretch my break a little longer than I had planned, but it's nice to have some company. Next came John (not his real name), and it gets a little tense. They are only nodding acquaintances. Conversation is cordial and danced around safe territory, I think.