Mini Post

I have come to the realisation that 90% of the time, I do not really enjoy designing logos. I don’t think my gifts bend that way. Then again, sometimes I don’t really know which way my talents lie. I enjoy drawing much more, but I actually think that I’m a naturally stronger writer (of fiction).

Hmm. My true talent is probably retention of completely pointless trivia. And high, high tolerance for repeated instances of things that I like – food, music, etc. (How else does one explain why my three favourite songs on my computer have playcounts of over 120?)

This short post is brought to you by: Project for a Completely Unnecessary Logo that I am Compelled to Do.


Sports vs. Games

I’ve long wondered why I didn’t mind sports but I hate games (icebreakers, party games, that sort of thing). The other day I was talking about it with a colleague and then it hit me: sports generally reward the winners, party games mostly aim to punish the losers.

When you play a sport, you’re trying to win. When you play a party game, most of the time you’re trying really hard not to lose. There’s a world of difference there.

Since my teenage years, I’ve never been totally comfortable with game forfeits. I find my laughter at the “funny” things people are forced to do as punishment decreasing every year. Ha-ha, ok, funny, but we didn’t need to do this, I think. I’ve always hated it when people call me “unsporting” for not wanting or liking to play games. But it’s hard to explain to people that “I don’t mind losing, but I don’t want to be humiliated or embarrassed in public.” It’s often said that you should praise people in public but criticise in private. The basic idea behind that is that as far as possible, you don’t want to embarrass people or turn them off (from listening to you). It’s also just basic human psychology. So I don’t see why it has to be the reverse with things like party games.

“Motivation through rewards, not fear” is entirely preferable to me and I try to apply that with my students. (The sad thing is, I often have to use the “if you don’t do XYZ, marks will be deducted” simply because 90% of them don’t bother to read the assignment briefs and won’t fulfill requirements unless threatened with loss of marks.) I don’t like to punish people in class. If you get an answer wrong, nothing happens to you. I even try not to shoot down answers in class – especially those that voluntarily attempted it – with a harsh “no, that’s wrong.” If any part of the answer is somewhat right, I’ll point it out. The last thing I want is for the students to be afraid to try to answer because they don’t want to be embarrassed in class. Do unto others as you would have them do to you. I always hated being embarrassed in public so why would I want to inflict that on other people when I have control of the situation?

As it is literally the goal of most party games to single someone out for a punishment, it’s no wonder that I detest them. The words “we’ll be playing games later” are enough to send me running. They trigger a “fight or flight” instinct in me and as I’m no fighter, I start desperately looking for ways out or wondering if I can ensconce myself in the washroom the entire time. Obviously I can’t do either one so the result is me being on edge throughout the entire game(s), and instead of relaxing me it just makes me tense up.

But I will happily do something like bowling – even though my track record with that is extremely erratic (I’ve had high-scoring games but more often I end up with about 50-something points out of the possible 300. haha). Why? Because even if I lose, even if my score is the worst of the group, nothing will happen to me. I just have a bad score. There’s no “dance around on one foot” or “imitate an elephant”-type of stuff involved.




I went to Breakout at Nu Sentral today with Berlina, Daryl, Tim, Jo, Raj, Tania, and Grace’s cousin, Ping. I’d never tried one of these “escape” games before so it was interesting!

Breakout’s games require each player to choose one of eight “characters” to play: Lightbringer, Oracle, Timebender, Scholar, Lockmaster, Assassin, Healer, Gemini. Each character has a different skill. For example, “Lightbringer” gets a torchlight, “Oracle” gets 2 minutes before the game starts to memories photos of where the clues are in the room(s), “Assassin” gets to kill one (and only one) teammate in exchange for a direct answer from the gamemaster (this one means the one who is “killed” is basically out of the game for 8 minutes unless the team has a “Healer” who can heal said dead teammate, and “Gemini” can clone one teammate’s ability – meaning you can have a double of any single character except the Assassin and Lockmaster. (The games can only be played in teams – minimum 2 players, maximum 8.) You’re allowed to give up certain abilities in exchange for hints to the solution of clues too.

Ping was our Lightbringer (the torchlight given to her was smaller than we expected it to be), Daryl was the Scholar, Jo was the Oracle, Raj the Assassin (he was disappointed when he didn’t get any prop – he expected a toy knife or something hahahah), Berlina the Healer, Tim was Timebender, and Tania was Gemini – cloning Tim’s Timebender ability. We’d decided to have two Timebenders because Timebenders are allowed an extra 5 minutes in the game and it seemed sensible to have an extra 10 minutes on top of the base 45 minutes. :P I was Lockmaster, which meant I held the passcode/solution to one of the clues in the room (indicated by the Lockmaster logo).

We did the “Materia Medica” room (you choose the room when you make the booking). This is how the Breakout website describes the room’s story:

A mysterious physician called Han appeared in the small town of Wu Shan one day and immediately became famous among villagers for his remarkable medicine and healing abilities. As the previous top physician in the village, you are determined to find out the secret of this mysterious man’s background and the ingredients of his miraculous medicine. On a quiet evening, while the physician is away on an errand, you quickly sneak in with your assistants to gather what information you can in hopes of recreating the same medicine.

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Fanfiction Plot

I am rather enjoying all the random Star Wars-related discussion I have with various people. I may not adore the movie, but it sure is good for conversation!

Putting this snippet from a chat with Day here so I don’t forget it. I was so amused…

Day: Maybe Kylo underperformed [in the final fight with Rey] because he gets nervous around women

Y (me): But initially he dealt with her just fine? He could literally freeze her in place and make her pass out

D: That’s before he realized his physical attraction to her – or at least that’s what might be said in a psychosexual analysis of the movie haha
After all, his nerves begin to show after he “reveals” himself to her. And fight scenes can be read as a sort of stand-in for intimacy

Y: I feel like there will probably be (if there isn’t already) a fanfic that does exactly what you say
In this fanfic, Kylo would find himself terribly attracted to her latent force powers as well as her looks and fighting prowess
And he will find himself more drawn to the light side as a result
Snoke will promptly say he now has to kill Rey
Kylo Ren will then suffer agonies of conscience and heart
Before ultimately meeting Rey in a fight and discovering that he cannot bring himself to do it
Falls to his knees and begs Rey to kill him
But of course she doesn’t and they run off together – he reforms, and repents of course
The end

D: Sounds like it writes itself! Probably already has been written haha

Y: This would become very disturbing if in later movies we discover that they are siblings

Chakras and That Kind of Thing

Some students at one of the tables in my class this morning were talking about random stuff as they did their drawing exercise for the day. I walked by and one asked me:

“Miss, what they call those people who believe in chakras and that kind of thing ah?”

Her classmate on the other side of the table said, “Naruto.”


(After I stopped laughing I told her that I think those tend to fall under the New Age-y category nowadays?)

Not Good at Math

Last month I helped Kristy get ribbon to use as entry wristbands for the dance party. She told me that, “If each ribbon is 30cm, I need 2.3m for 75 wrists.”

Amazingly, all I had was a passing thought that something felt off about that but I didn’t think about it anymore. I got that message in the morning when I was in the Board of Examiners meeting. Then at night when I was at Daiso to look for the ribbons…

Bad at Math

Terrible, the both of us. HAHAHA

(Clearly, we are both more “art” than “math” people.)

Silliness in the Exam Hall

I was on invigilation duty a couple of times last week. In one exam, a girl raised her hand to ask a question and I went over to her. She pointed at the section of her paper labelled “Section C: Essay Questions” and then pointed to one of the questions, which asked them to discuss 5 points of something or other.

Student: Can I write [the answers to this] in point form?

Me: *stares* No.

Student: But it won’t be confusing ah? ‘Cause got 5 things [to write about].

Me: *stares even harder, one eyebrow raised* …Write 5 paragraphs??

Student: Ohhhhhh. Ok ok.

When people ask questions like that, it just makes you question how they survived secondary school.

Then later there was another girl who’d finished and wanted to leave. I went over and saw that on the cover of her answer booklet, she had not written any table number, nor her student ID, nor her name. (There’s a section in the top right corner where their names and IDs should to be written, and they’re supposed to fold it down and seal it.) Out of the goodness of my heart (haha, more like out of consideration for my poor colleague who would’ve had to hunt down the name list and sort through the stack of 100+ exam papers to figure out who that belonged to), I pointed out the blanks to girl and she said, “OHH,” and hurriedly filled it all in. *rolls eyes* Seriously. Hand in an answer booklet with no identification whatsoever? Who does that???

Small Things.

Some of the lecture halls at the instituion in which I teach are equipped with video capture systems. None of my colleagues think it’s very useful because we know that our students don’t bother watching the videos anyway. (I think it’s different for the students of the hard sciences who may need to see math calculations and stuff.) But if our timetables have placed our classes in those rooms, the camera is set to automatically record whatever happens up in the front of the classroom, and we have to use the microphones because the audio won’t be captured without it. I do not like this because sometimes it feels like there’s no sound coming out of the speakers and when I’m holding a microphone, I subconsciously don’t project my voice – I talk louder without it. (My classes are not those with over a hundred students so I don’t usually need to use a microphone to be heard; at most I have had 50-ish in one class.) But I have no choice. If we don’t use the microphone, the e-learning department will come after us and censure us for it. So, fine. I use it.

Then I take my “revenge” on the system in my own small ways.

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Visit to the Car Service Centre

I’m sure about 80% of my friends have taken their car for servicing before. I hadn’t before this week. But then I figured, “Ok la. Thirty already. Probably gonna be stuck single all my life so I’d better learn how to do it myself. Also, don’t want to bother Dad with the trouble.”

So I asked Lydia for help. Because her husband reviews cars for a living. hahah

She said she takes her own car to a neighbourhood “uncle mechanic” but I could try the workshop to which Daniel takes his car. It’s called Tiger Shoji and is “pricey but reliable.” I’d just need to call and make an appointment. I looked it up and realised that ah, yes, I’ve seen Gim Han (who also writes car reviews) rave about that place on Facebook. So, ok la. If two guys who have been in love with cars for as long as I’ve known them and who now both test drive cars and review them professionally approve of this place, it has to be pretty good.

I called, made an appointment for Tuesday afternoon and drove to Glenmarie to find this Tiger Shoji place.

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We were given a “workbook” at Day 1 of this training thing. This was on one of the first pages:

When I was back in my cubicle during the lunch break (doing anything but eating lunch because I had many things to attend to that I could not attend to because of the training) I showed it to one of my colleagues and she burst out laughing and said, “That is so ironic!”

It really makes you wonder at the logic of it. Even the trainer admits that 80% of people who take such training sessions are doing it because they have to – for KPI or compelled to by their superiors or whatever. So, clearly, programmes like this exist to do anything but make people happy?

Two more days of this. :( And the sessions contain nearly everything I detest – dull topics, childish games and activities, “performances” (group dances and roleplay skitsI really loathe acting). The trainer is lively and she’s trying her best but… Well, I have had Math teachers in school that I liked but it didn’t make me like the lessons or the topics any better. (Conversely, I have had boring English teachers but English was always my favourite subject simply because it was the easiest and it didn’t matter to me who taught it. haha)

I really need a good weekend after this.