26.5.05

Of students

I.

In the ongoing erosion of any credibility I may still have as a teacher, the class that got to play Pictionary on Wednesday did one better and got to do absolutely nothing during today's lesson.

Admittedly, it's a little hard to do anything when only one-third of the class shows up in the first place.

This is the class that was a little obsessed last week with trying to find out what secondary school I'm from. I wouldn't tell them, of course. Previous students managed to unearth the highlights of my secondary school career and find my website (including wedding pictures!) in those days before I kept a real blog, without any help from me. We'll see if the current crop can do just as well.

I will, as always, maintain my policy of neither confirming nor denying any details of my life that aren't explicitly described on my blog.

II.

"Are you Singaporean?"

What a question to get in the middle of class. I was so stunned that I immediately wondered out loud, "Do I sound that awful, like I'm not?"

Okay, so I'd just been asking if the students watch the annual National Day Parade and how it's really fun to mock watch, especially if some poor military sap executes the wrong 21-gun salute (if you believe my guy friends, it happened at one parade circa the turn of this century). And I constantly mock my country and its people, because that's what you do when you love someone, you give them a hard time (it goes all the way back to when a boy punches or picks on you in school and that's how you know he likes you).

But do I actually sound like I'm not Singaporean?

Maybe they get confused because I also give the government a hard time in my classes, and I certainly don't love the government.

Clearly, I need to use more Singlish during lessons, no matter what the Speak Good English Movement says, and also tone down my sense of irony. Then they'll believe I'm local.

17 Comments:

At 5/26/2005 10:58 pm , Anonymous The Fell Bat said...

I don't know why I still care, you know, even though I said I did on my blog. I feel curious - why do you still care?

 
At 5/27/2005 2:09 am , Blogger ming said...

where in india are balas from?

 
At 5/27/2005 6:47 am , Blogger Terz said...

Typically, the southwest, but in this case, it's Sri Lanka (Ceylon), actually.

 
At 5/27/2005 7:35 am , Blogger Tym said...

The Fell Bat --- Because the state is not the country, and the country is more than the state will allow it to be. And because if I don't believe that humans beings can do better, the alternative is too bleak to behold.

 
At 5/27/2005 5:12 pm , Blogger TaLieSin said...

Tym - I tried so hard to put that point across at the Oxford Singapore Forum with Vivian Balakrishnan in the hot seat - but failed miserably. Because they allowed him to set the terms of the discussion in the opening address, and he completely elided the issue of the state/party/country/nation distinction. Sheesh, it was a discussion on the "Singapore Identity" too...

Then again maybe I'm just too verbose. Yes, that's probably it.

 
At 5/27/2005 10:14 pm , Anonymous The Fell Bat said...

The alternative seems to be slow declension, as I live out my days here by reason of being too poor or too cowardly to move to, say, Canada.

Taliesin: what?! how recent was that?

 
At 5/28/2005 3:52 am , Anonymous The Fell Bat said...

Ah. I see.

 
At 5/28/2005 6:03 pm , Blogger panaphobic said...

Are you still playing Taboo anymore? Pictionary is tame compared to Taboo... You got me hooked on that game, btw

 
At 5/29/2005 11:39 am , Blogger Tym said...

Pictionary's easier to organise spontaneously. Taboo requires more prep work (assuming in both cases that we're making up our own vocabulary lists, not just using the ones provided in the game sets).

If I have to take responsibility for instilling any bad habits in you, I suppose I'd rather take credit for Taboo than for other things ;)

 
At 5/29/2005 10:24 pm , Blogger ichoisarius said...

Hi just saw your comment. Spoiler tags it is then. But I wouldn't hold out for AXN showing Alias; if they do it'll most likely start after ch 5 /finishes/, which will be very very late. Same with Lost; AXN is only planning to screen it earliest Nov, from what I hear. Aaanyway; I already have Season 1 of Alias, just remembered my brother brought a bootleg copy back from HK some time back. It's got all the features and everything, and the quality is excellent. Do you want it first to watch before I send you one from the US?

 
At 5/29/2005 11:42 pm , Blogger en said...

wow. before i get down to reading your blog in detail, i just have to say:

A teacher that quotes both Buffy and Hamlet, organises Pictionary in class, blogs with a sense of humour and nitpicks LOTR. oh my.

 
At 5/30/2005 8:17 am , Blogger Tym said...

ichiosarius --- It's ok, I'll wait till I get my own DVD copy.

yao guai --- Thanks for your nutshell description. I never thought of myself that way before. ;)

Btw, Pictionary doesn't happen all the time, ok? Only during the last week of term and/or when not enough students turn up for me to run the lesson I'd planned! I do actually teach the rest of the time...

 
At 5/30/2005 12:18 pm , Blogger Cowboy Caleb said...

do a podcast so we can hear what you sound like lah!!!

 
At 5/30/2005 12:48 pm , Blogger en said...

i think i'm still awed by the abundance of Buffy-ness.

where were u when i was a younger student?

waitaminute. [thinks: podcast idea] did i know you as a student? the horror.

 
At 5/30/2005 1:55 pm , Anonymous The Fell Bat said...

Not enough Buffy-ness!

*whine*

 
At 5/30/2005 10:49 pm , Blogger Tym said...

Cowboy Caleb --- I have neither the technology nor the time to podcast. More accurately, if I did podcast, I would just keep talking, and talking, and talking, which I already do in class, and that really wouldn't be much of a podcast to listen to.

yao guai --- Don't worry, you didn't know me when you were a student.

The Fell Bat --- I'll try to up the quotient of Buffy-ness, but I also try not to alienate my non-BtVS-loving readers.

 
At 6/09/2005 11:30 am , Blogger voctir said...

Hmm, the question "Are you Singaporean?" sounds a little hostile to me.

It seems to assume that a Singaporean can only speak well of the country, its government, and everything about it.

If this question came from an adult I might interpret it as a rhetorical question (with an overtone of aggression, perhaps) to the effect "You are not Singaporean because you are too critical."

 

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