The Future Looks Straight And Narrow

Good job on tweaking Medisave/Medishield; PSLE; Changi Airport.

But we cannot keep treating GLBT, singles, unwed and divorced parents as second class citizens. Being GLBT single, unwed or divorced does not diminish their potential to fulfil their so-called roles in society. But pegging housing affordability to officially heterosexually married status states the opposite.

Just as Malaysia’s pro-Bumiputra policies as regards education and public service has effected a terrible talent drain in the past decade, so will continuing to uphold such unfairness in our country. And our people are our only resources.

A Word On The My First Skool Incident

I’m always struck by how much we delegate our personal lives to other people. The other day coming home on the Bintan Resorts Ferry, a family sat in the rows ahead of us. There were the parents, the two children and two foreign domestic workers.

The younger of the two children was probably under two and cute as a button, playing and drooling while he was fed a snack. The older child was around six and a real brat – making faces at and speaking to the helpers in a completely disrespectful manner.

I think she had asked to have a ferry hotdog and the helper had said something to the effect that she’d be too full for dinner, and she’d sulked and asked her father who assented and went to get the hotdog for her instead.

Last month I wrote lyrics to a silly song that included the line, “Need tuition to make the grade; child is stupid blame the maid” and it couldn’t be truer. We seem to have completely abdicated our responsibility for our children’s upbringing to other people.

I’ve sometimes been guilty of forgetting to check on Kai (ok he’s only 4) and his reading homework, and last week even forgot he had a pre-school presentation (a mini-concert lasting 20 minutes, but if you miss it you have to face lasting consequences) and was only reminded early on the morning of his presentation when he told me to be early.

We leave Kai to our helper’s care for several hours a day some weeks when I’m really busy, or when Naomi’s not well. Then we find we have to correct Kai’s grammar and speech because our helper’s Burmese tinted English sometime nosso good.

That’s when we realise we have to take charge if we want our kids to grow up the way we want them to. Every person we engage to care for Kai has to be able to work with us to ensure he gets the right kind of care and guidance. We have been taking some time to talk to Kai’s teachers and ask about his progress in school regarding his social skills (our priority), and it’s been reaping a ton of benefits.

There’s been some chat about whether NTUC First Campus has addressed the issues attendant to the part-time caregiver’s sacking from their preschool, but I have to say again that parents, especially in Singapore, need to be more active in their kids’ upbringing, and help the childcare/preschool sector improve.

There is no excuse for the type of behaviour exhibited by the part-time staff at that particular pre-school, but I would like to highlight that NTUC First Campus, like many of the other NTUC affiliates, are co-operatives, which means that their aim is to get out there to do good.

First Campus itself works with governmental agencies and NGOs to reach out to less privileged families – there are childcare places reserved for low-income families. There was a case several years ago of a 16 month old boy who was lagging developmentally because of malnourishment and a home environment you’d recognise as not ideal – his only parent, his mother, was serving a prison sentence, and his sole caregiver had been his grandmother, who had to leave the house to work daily.

First Campus made two exceptional decisions – the child was accepted into a My First Skool Centre even though he was two months under the minimum age; the child was accepted without a fee. The staff at that Centre also reached out to the child’s grandmother with tips on how to contribute to the boy’s development.

The boy at issue is now almost ten and doing well in primary school.

There are no leaked YouTube videos to show, by making the decisions they did for this boy, how shockingly good the caregivers at that centre have been. And this is quite unfortunate.

A Week With The Big-Assed Sharan

I had a really good time with Volkswagen’s largest MPV, the 2-litre-engined Sharan.

Being a station wagon owner myself, I am partial to large movers of people and sporting equipment. My first car was called a “sports car” by my friends because of the large number of sporting equipment stashed in the rear – not because I was sporty, but because I was too lazy to clean it out.

The first task was to play a prank on my unsuspecting mother-in-law who had been away in her native Taiwan for a week. She called to inform us of her arrival time and (but) told us not to pick her up because there wouldn’t be enough space in the car for both her and half of Taiwan’s edible produce.

We told her not to worry as our car would be big enough. When it came time to load up (after the customary dinner at the airport after arrival – which is a very Singaporean thing come to think of it – where else do you dine at the airport AFTER arriving?) the mother in law was blur enough not to notice that the car had completely changed from a blue five seater max station wagon to a brand spanking new seven seater black sliding door with sun-roof big assed MPV.

Kai was in on the prank, and punked his grandma that we had traded in her German marqued sedan for another German marqued MPV.

Suspicious, the mother in law inspected the car closely, looking at the speedometer and realising that it was indeed a new car – and that it had space to contain half of Taiwan’s edible produce.

She then interrogated us at length on why we bought the car, and our answers:

Cos it’s big
Cos it’s only $208.8K before discount
Cos it’s big
Cos it’s a true MPV, not a mousy little one where people ask, “hey, is that an MPV?” And you go, “You Wish ah!”
Cos it’s big

Volkswagen’s loan was timed very well too – I had a show to put up at the Drama Centre, and so we had to load up production crew as well as costumes, props and other production paraphernalia. We made it in one go. There’s never been a time when a piano stool was transported in more glamorous circumstances.

Apart from it being really useful in theatre productions, I would seriously consider the Sharan if we needed to carry more people, and if we could really find a way to trade in my mother-in-law’s car.

Think about what your use would be, cos there’s a contest on Instagram – take a pic and tell us why you think you’d need a Sharan in 100 characters. Mine will be “I like Big VDubs and I cannot lie”. You might get to enjoy the big-assed Sharan like I did, for a whole week!

#INEEDASHARAN

To participate, simply post a picture (on instagram or on the #INEEDASHARAN facebook app) showing why you need a Sharan, along with the has tag #ineedasharan.

The top 10 most voted will be selected and judged by the Volkswagen SG panel, and the top 5 will be selected winners.
The prize? A week drive with the Sharan.

Anyone is free to participate, but ultimately, the winners will have to be 24 and above and have a driving license.

VW014T13_INEEDASHARAN_Banner_800x600_v1

Backing out of our parking lot with camera assist and a chirpy back seat driver
Backing out of our parking lot with camera assist and a chirpy back seat driver
Fully loaded at the Drama Centre stage door
Fully loaded at the Drama Centre stage door
Yup, that's a piano stool. And we didn't even take out the child seat!
Yup, that’s a piano stool. And we didn’t even take out the child seat!
Production crew on board too!
Production crew on board too!
Perhaps the best reason to need a Sharan for a week!
Perhaps the best reason to need a Sharan for a week!

StarHub Loves Every Football Loving Bro (And Chick)

I have often been frowned on by people when I refer to the sport as “soccer”. I never knew how much people here love football. And with these lovers of football, I have something special to share.

But first, let me tell you why Americans and Australians sometimes call it soccer.

When the game as you love it was invented and codified, there were other forms of the game which were (and still are) being played under different rules written in different towns or countries.

To distinguish the different footballs from each other, people would refer to the game played under rules written by the football Union at Rugby as Rugby Football Union or simply Rugby. The game played under rules written in Scotland and Ireland was referred to as Gaelic Football.

Australian Rules Football is derived from Gaelic Football, and American Football is derived from some form of Rugby.

The football that is the most popular sport in the world had its rules established under an organisation called the Football Association – after which the famous F.A. Cup is named – and in England at the turn of the 19th century had to be referred to as Association Football in order to distinguish it from the other football codes in conversation.

So say you played Association Football in those early days, and you wanted to know if the bloke next to you shared your interest, you’d ask if he played Association Football too, and that’d be a bit of a mouthful, so you’d have called it Assoc. Football, or Soccer.

OK, now that the history lesson is out of the way, let me tell you why you should be happy this weekend apart from the fact that it’s the longest weekend of this half of the year.

1. You no longer have to sign up for Singtel Mio just to watch the Premier League. The new cross carriage rules (thank you MDA – this is the best thing you’ve done as an Authority).

2. Even though it costs money to watch it still, Starhub has given the green light to give all subscribers a $30 a month rebate over the next two Premier League seasons. This applies to all StarhubTV customers.

3. You no longer have to tolerate lags and freezes on your games (heehee) and because StarhubTV will put up all Premier League games in full HD Glory Glory Man United, please make sure you switch your set top boxes to the HD sets soon.

How to watch BPL on StarhubTV:

1. Get your NRIC and StarhubTV Subscription ID from your Starhub bill or cal 1633 for it to be SMSd to you.

2. Bring them to any Singtel shop and sign up for BPL cross carried on StarhubTV.

3. You will automatically receive your $30 monthly rebate in your Starhub monthly bill because Starhub loves every football loving bro.

See www.starhub.com/therealbros for more details on how to bring football home to the green playing fields where they belong.

Pro-tip: Sign up before Monday 12 Aug to make sure you catch the season opener on 17 Aug.

Http://youtu.be/mSXEYBnOBAU