May 31, 2005

Off to England

Another long and tiring week. I had a lot of work at school- finishing up the marking of papers, issuing the mid-year grades to all my students, preparing all the coursework to be handed over to the new teachers who are replacing me, and finally taking care of all the admin work. In addition, it was emotionally draining to say goodbye to my students, some of whom insisted on throwing a goodbye party for me. I was showered with cards and gifts and many good wishes from so many people. At the end of the week, we had the Parents-Teachers meeting and I was taken aback by how many parents told me that the students will miss me. I was very deeply touched and moved. I'll miss them more.

I'm off on a new adventure, though, and my commitments for that were numerous and tiring as well. I had a press interview with the Shin Min Daily News on Tuesday, a photo shoot with the acclaimed photographer Russel Wong on Wednesday, a dedication service for my swim on Friday, plus we squeezed in shooting a promotional video for the event on Friday and Saturday. I was very overwhelming- especially the chance to be photographed by Russel Wong! Mere mortals like me don't get to be photographed by one of the most amazing portrait photographers in the world. The surreality of the moment was brought home when, midway through my shoot, he took a call which was apparently from someone on Zhang Ziyi's management. I was a little nervous about to wear and so brought a number of dark shirts. I was very pleased when he immediately picked out my preferred shirt, a brightly multicoloured striped shirt dominated by pink and orange. I wore the same shirt for my promotional video, so if you get to see that, you will see the shirt too.

No chance to draw breath, though, because I had to do a number of press interviews and calls on Monday: Channel News Asia, the Lianhe Zaobao, the New Paper, and most surprisingly, Tatler (?!). I have little knowledge about Tatler other than it showcases society and high-living, and I wonder how putting on weight, stripping down to my trunks and subjecting myself to intense cold and pain for about 10-12 hours is related to their usual spreads on glamourous people at exclusive events. Still, I will not turn down any chance to publicise this event, and hopefully they will mention the reason why I'm doing the swim, which is the important thing.

It's something that was lacking in the Channel 5 News/Channel News Asia coverage. Instead, they chose to focus on the challenge and they showed Khoo Swee Chiow and I, cutting between both of us, and talked about how cold the water is and how long the swim is. To be fair, they devoted lots of time to us (about a minute, I think), and the challenge needs to put in context, but I would've liked to see some coverage of the charity aspects. Just about the only indication on my sponsors and beneficiaries was the ACS PE shirt I was wearing- and I only received that shirt half an hour before! Still, as Swee Chiow text'd to me after it was screened, it was good coverage. Now people know; hopefully they will sign up to support the swim as word spreads.

As I write this, I am on a flight to England. I will upload this entry once I arrive. Now that I'm training full time, I will try to update this blog more often. Coming up this week: rejoining the Oxford Swim Team in training; and my first dip back in the cold waters of Dover since I got out last July. I'll let you know things go!

Posted by pj at 04:54 PM | Comments (2)

May 22, 2005

Crunch Time

It's been a long, eventful week.

Spoke at MGS this week. I think the girls enjoyed my talk, although I didn't connect with them as well as I did with the boys at ACS(J). That's to be expected- I'm not an alumnus. I'm not even a girl. Still, I think they enjoyed it. Hopefully they took away a few lessons too.

Administered final examinations for my own history students this week too. They did well, and I was greatly encouraged by their performance. It's interesting, but the correlation between grades and talent was not as strong as the correlation between grades and enthusiasm. My most enthusiastic students did best. My most talent student actually didn't do as well as I expected, but then again her enthusiasm level has been on the wane for a while. My most enthusiastic students, on the other hand, all passed, even though some of them have little aptitude for history. Not to say that there weren't enthusiastic students who did badly, or talented students who did well, but I think it just goes to show how hard work and passion can take you further than talent.

Underwent lots of painful physiotherapy for my back injury too. I was in perpetual pain this week, not so much from the injury (that's pretty much gone), but from my skeleton being manipulated back into alignment and my muscles readjusting back to correct posturing. Interestingly, I noticed that proper posture is very much a part of the great statues that the Greeks left behind. Their study of the human body was groundbreaking, and they established so many of the basic principles that we use today. There is so much I've learnt from teaching Ancient Greek history this term. It's been an education for me as well.

An old flame told me over the phone that she's getting married. I am very happy for her (although a little surprised, since it is pretty sudden). Golly, everyone is getting married or attached, while I'm still acting like a big kid and running off seeking new adventures, fancy free and free for anything fancy!

Next week will be my final week at ACS (International) and my final week here in Singapore before I head off to Dover to train. While I'm excited to be going into the next training phase, where I ramp up the volume and am able to devote 100% of my time to my preperation, I will miss Singapore and my students. It's been a terrific half a year with them and I hope I have made some positive impact on their lives.

Posted by pj at 07:08 PM | Comments (1)

May 10, 2005

Fred Day

Happy 106th Fred Astaire Day, everyone!

Posted by pj at 11:32 PM