048 The SAJC PW results review 3

This is (un)fortunately the final entry for the SAJC PW results special entries series, where I nonchalantly rant on and on about PW in general, in fact on PW in the past, present and on the future, I now know many million blogs have been commenting on it and i think i am quite justified to think that this is the longest ever review on PW that ever exists on the net, and if anyone has a longer set of entries, I would really love to read it.

Anyway, back to the review, since I started by saying that the review is on the past, present and future, I think it would be nicely apt to classify the final review this way.

The last year of PW has been a long and tedious one, a story that I will bury along with this entry, until perhaps one day someone asks me about it. Beyond stories about my PI and WR and the others which I won't bore you with for now, let's see the important events in PW history that occured last year. First there was the start of it all, the previous year's PW results, yes, there were the repercussions from SAJC's first bout of poor results that, as we all know, led to the petition that began the PW-gate saga that continued until today, one of the longest controversies in Singapore education's history. Well, some thought that the lightning cannot strike the same place, but can it? The online petition that began the press's intervention into the PW field, well would be conveniently left not discussed for political reasons, I don't want to incite any more tension and give anyone any ideas, but one of the most important things that can be taken from here is that we should not take the past for granted, and learn from it, and try to prevent bad history from repeating itself unneccesarily, I still vaguely remember a particular line from a just-in-time lecture, after the cohort was reprimanded for not paying attention, and since the lecturer was quite irked, she said that if we continue acting like this, we would end up like our seniors, which did happen, oh, the irony of it all. The point which I'm trying to put across here that we could consider that part of the problem could be the example stated above, so draw your conclusions. And please, please no petitions this year, i don't the college to be embroiled in another incident like this.

At present, is of course the matter at hand, this year's PW results, we all know its bad, and it is as I have said time and again, disheartening especially as the BT2 and prelims draw closer, because now we know that we have a bad result in hand, there is no point going any further. But, let me reiterate what many have said, the PW is only a small part of the A-level grades and the other H2 and H1 subjects will constitute the crucial 90% of the results. I now it is as demoralising as it can get, but tell me, is this more demoralising, or a string of bad results more demoralising? So please look forward to the A-levels or to be more pragmatic, the upcoming BT, do show the tutors that you can lift yourselves above the past and not dwell so long in what has already been said and done with, this I think is a much greater achievement than perservering through the entire cycle. This may contradict what i might have mentioned earlier about the perseverence being the greatest thing, but putting this two acts together, would be, i think, almost a divine feat, and if you can proudly say that you have done it, than you would have gained my utmost respect. As i can vaguely remember, someone once said, life is mostly about how you react to things that have happened to you. How would you react to this? This determines the life that you would lead, it's your choice. To quote the DP's cliche "Keep the end in mind, and the end is your A-levels". So put all your heart and soul in it, and remember this bible verse Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also". Where is your treasure? In the past, or in the future?

I'm no clairvoyant, but considering the circumstances I have put forward in the 2nd part of the review series, I have made the future sound very bleak. Don't fret, because there is never a dead end in the world of imagination, take on the challenge bit by bit. Don't jump into the issue in hand with an impulsive idea, plan it out slowly, make sure every loose end is tied up, consider all limitations and most of all enjoy the process, how ever hard that is to do, and whatever that comes in your way. At times when you feel like giving up, tell yourself it would all end very soon, but while it's around , face it with all your strength and sinew and don't lose yourself to just another subject, tell yourself, there is surely someone else who was oris in the same situation as you were, and if someone had made it out of this pit, you can too. Learn from the past mistakes for, as George Santayana said, "he who forgets the past, is condemned to repeat it". You don't want to repeat this past, so learn from the mistakes. To be really explicit, I'm telling you to put more effort into PW, don't take it like just some mosquito that buzzes around your ear requiring you to put some effort getting it away every once in a while, but as a college life commitment which is as important as your other commitments such as your CCAs. And in the June holidays, please get started, you are going to miss the luxury of time for PW after that point, so don't subject yourselves to unneccesary torture. Play the great game, and no matter what happens you would still be able to say that you tried your best

This should end this long series of articles on the SAJC PW results review, I hope you can all take something from this, and lastly, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to my PW, teachers (Mrs. New, Ms. Eileen Chong, Ms Sunarfa, Mr. Tan), my group members (Billy, the group leader, who got everything together, Pui Kheun, who had to put up with me and my temper, especially when I get upset, Ashiq, for the valuble insights in Singaporean lifestyle and politics, and Jasmine, who managed to break out of her shy shell and put on a good show during the OP, well done!) and my parents, who had continued to encourage me throughout the entire project, even when I was worried and depressed at times, and for getting my laptop fixed when it crashedd, and everyone else who contributed in some ways or another to help make this project a successful one. Thank you, and please forgive me for all that I've put you through, you know, my tipping point is quite unstable, and I tend to be a perfectionist, when I put my everything in a particular subject, and anything someone does will end up criticised when I'm in a foul mood. Oh, the hours I've spent writing PW essays, I guess this is my final PW essays, one that will be lost in the plethora of PW essays that had, and will be written. Signing of, (rather relunctantly) here...

047 The SAJC PW results review 2

Yes, it's back. The PW special blog entry, yes, yes, I know this is one issue that no one is particularly excited to speak about, and today once again i heard someone speaking about PW and how, if you google SAJC PW results, you get particularly interesing results. I actually took the liberty to do it last night after finishing the entry and yes my suspicions about all those accusations were confirmed. But then again, I wonder whether it was simply a knee jerk reaction to the results, as the issue does not spread into entries any later than april 15th, which is a good thing, because i do sincerely hope that all of us will move forwards from this incident, and as Ms Carol Wong said during the University Forum, we must concentrate on the bigger A-level subjects. Of course, let this be a reminder that we are now a step behind the other students in other JCs and a motivation to change the students' attitude.

I try not to dwell on the post-mortem of the PW results and I am quite tempted to hold back my thoughts on this issue, but it is one issue I must address as a wake-up call to some of us. I don't have ample time today so I might yet say something about this today and the probabilty is that it will be in a third edition of this PW special series. But first, I must draw our attention to the JC1's PW this year. Their project is Groundbreakers or Entertainment, and from what I've gathered, the number of students doing the latter is so few that after speaking to quite a number of them, I have yet to hear any explaination about the latter's task requirement. The former on the other hand, is saturated. Almost every single prominent person in history I have heard, and i think that this shows that this project task is saturated. The PI deadline, i believe, is May 4, next Friday, and with one week remaining, I have heard horror stories about rejected PIs, a nightmare that plagued me last year, and it is a very desperate situation. Trust me, cooking up a new idea out of thin air is one thing, getting the details right is another, and making the tutor happy is an entirely different thing. I fear for the J1s this year, their situation seems quite difficult due to the narrow scope of the Groundbreakers task. You see, identifying a prominent person whose reputation isn't exactly overpublised is not exactly a picnic, and then generating new ideas to make the community aware of his contribution is rather difficult, simply because it isn't easy to come up with exciting new ideas that aren't cliches and the obvious things that people come with and at the same time, coming up with a sensible project that is feasible and not too bizzarre. They are walking on this narrow path, toeing the lines between these two scenarios, with the large number of students doing this task, the number of available candidates have narrowed down so much, that when someone asks me which person he/she should choose, I'm at a loss for words because I have to recall all the obvious people who have been taken by someone else. I now fear of another year of poor results, and yet another barrage of accusation.

While I steer away from suggesting that some conspiracy is stirring, there are just so many areas and issues to worry about in this most singular subject, the one subject that exposed students to A-levels, the first time students will place all their heart and soul in something in JC (at least in the academic field), and with all these problems, it is awfully disheartening to know that after all that, you get an unsatisfactory grade. Of course, like I always tell people, that there are things in life in which the amount of work put in is disproportionate to the results, and we should attempt them with an open heart, but to be honest, to remain optimistic throughout the course of the entire cycle is nearly impossible, there have been times where I nearly wanted to give it all up, and fail the subject, but I kept going on. However, I must admit the group's WR and my EoM were, shall we say, returned comparatively better results than the others, but the stress was still there, I vividly remembered the night before the first submission of the WR, it was and still is something that is stuck there in a part of my mind. I won't bore you with the details of this memory, but perhaps I will use it as a lesson learnt in perseverence because now I use it as a motivation to push harder in places where it is required as good results will follow. I know this is something inappropriate to say when any other person you know did not do as well as you did, but there is something to be taken away from here, and I feel that even if you did not do as well as expected, the fact that all of us made it through the entire PW process shows that we have indeed proven our worth in life, it was a challenge well faced.

I know I painted a very bad picture of the JC1 PW this year, I'm sorry but I am obligated to report what I think is true. However, all is not lost, in fact in PW, all is never lost. This a personal anecdote, and I hope you can draw the neccesary conclusions from this. Last year, in a streak of obsession over the Singaporean transport system, I wrote a project about transport interchanges and how to improve them. However, as my bad luck and inferior skills would have it, my first draft was rejected, not because it's illogical, but because it was too common and has no room for synthesis of new ideas, which is, pls take note, one of the most important, essential, fundamental, crucial, but most difficult part of PW when it comes to desiging your ideas, one of roots of your projects that you must cling on to if you want to do well in your project, a superficial project will not go far. Frankly, the raw idea for my project was not very developed, me, together with some insights from my group members redesigned the entire project in such a way that it manages to open new avenues for the development, and brought to the project a whole new breath of fresh air. In my opinion this is where many projects fail to do, open up their project so that it is not confined to the small space i feared so much last time. Back to my PI, my second draft was a radically new idea, albeit a little insensible. I proposed a tram system in Toa Payoh to replace the bus services. Here's the whole truth, I manipulated my PI such that the idea sounds really convincing, and for a moment, as i was told, you would almost believe the idea would work, but only when giving it deeper thought, you would realise that the idea was silly. But the important thing is to fulfill the criteria, about Generation of Ideas and Evaluation of Ideas, this implies that even if the idea is no good, as long as you develop it properly, it is possible that you can still do well. So, don't get alarmed if you were told that your idea doesn't work, just continue with it, but develop your ideas fully, but please take this with a pinch of salt, because i would not recommend this method if you have a better idea.

I'm quite tired now, and i need to sleep, but this is not the end of the SAJC PW results review, ther is one more installment to come and i will write it out if I'm free tomorrow. So, goodbye for now...

046 Seasonal Blogger, I am... (The PW special)

Oklah, if you people actually take the time to check this blog quite often, you'll find that I usually blog furiously at one point's of time, and at other times you gte static. Well, I would like to tell you that the probability of me publishing something in my blog at any given time is given by a wavefunction defined by the Schrodinger's equation which concerns a lot of calculus and I will now proceed to explain the mathematics involved... Yeah, right!

Silly equations aside, the issue of blogs have once again cropped up in the Singapore scene, this time concerning PW results. Now, the inclusion of the word PW in my blog will now make it a source of information for reporters who would wish to know the current sentiments of the students in SAJC about their results, and so I would expect the traffic on this page to increase exponentially, and the situation will end like something like the Ultraviolet Catastrophe. Of course, anyone will end up finding the obvious facts like less than 1% of students got A, and the school has submitted an appeal, and the Deputy Principal is reading students' blogs to see what is going on in the college, wait, that's today's news, oh dear, now they're going to report this in the news.

Disclaimer: If you wish to exract any opinions from this person about his result, I shall save you the trouble of reading between the lines, because I have every reason not to complain. Only read between the lines in this paragraph.

I do not want an in-depth analysis on my blog entry regarding any inference on how good/bad the teachers are, or my stand on the claims that teachers are marking the students down etc. If you really want my honest opinion, here it is, but just ignore the condescending tone i'm going to say it in. It's simply this, the students' attitude. As a person who, well, took PW far too seriously much to chagrin of some of my group members, looking back in reflection (I&R, ooh the memories), I tell myself, you know, after going through all that pain and putting my group members through all that pain, it must have finally paid of because the average grade in my group is 1.8 if you take A to be 1 and B to be 2. I'm not revealing my results here, but I believe you should have gotten the hint by now. So right back to main point, I really am trying to argue here that the students' attitude towards the subject that it is a factor, if not a reason, for the great disparities in the As in the various JCs across Singapore.

If we assume that the differences in standards throughout the JCs in Singapore is not significant enough to form a justified correlation to the disparities (the good, the bad and the ugly, which can be used to descibe the percentage As, does not actually describe the JC landscape in Singapore, does it?), then what other factors are there? Teachers? Let's look at some of the claims that have been put forward by the various parties, which are mainly bloggers like me, with nothing better to do than to argue about an overly flogged horse.

1. The teachers have marked the students down and other similiar arguments
This is ridiculous, I'm telling you. Why would teachers want to kill their own students. It just isn't right that a teacher wants to fail an entire cohort. We are not the school admin's or MOE's guinea pigs, we are not test subjects, but students of equal rights. It is a level playing field, if you don't play the game right, please don't throw the ball at the coaches or the organisers and blame them for manipulating the game. Even IF,big IF, the game is being manipulated, why would the teachers play it against us, and/or allow the MOE to play it to our disfavour. It all just doesn't add up. And please don't tell me that the teachers are hiding something, please have some faith with the teachers, they have made it their life's work to help us in times of need. they have helped surely, perhaps not enough you might say, but please don't bite the hand that fed you, it simply isn't justified, so leave them out of the equation, they've gone through enough already, training, meetings, moderation and yet we say they are not doing enough, so have some emphathy, I plead you, and accept what they have done on good faith, no matter how dissatisfied we all are, don't let it flow over. I've been reading a teacher's blog, and do you know how heart-whenching it is to put yourself in the shoes of a teacher and see her own students fail. She said she was almost in tears, and I believe her. Perhaps, Mrs. Lim was right, we should learn how to blame ourselves, and get over it.

2. Teachers in other JCs guided their students too much or were too lenient
Ok, I'm not in the right position to comment about this point which includes issues such as templates, too many drafts, overguidance. Yes, the MOE does not set any limitations to the amount of help that can be given but this is one thing I'm sure about, teachers are subject to professional ethics to not overhelp their students. OK,ok some might point out that there are Machiavellian teachers out there, we'll never know, but how much difference would that make, and this point will bring up the contention that I'm arguing in the first place...

But it's getting late, so I will have to stop now, or I'll be so drowsy that I'll hurt myself tomorrow morning for sure, that aside, I read somewhere that if you google "SAJC PW results" or "PW results" or "SAJC PW", well, you'll get blogs like this one, but perhaps this will stand out as one that doesn't try to complain about the results, but rather trying to make sense of it all. My last words for this entry: "This PW hype is causing more drama than the College Play, Miss K won't be too happy, the newspapers sold better than the tickets."

045 Reality, Dreams, Losing Touch

No, don't worry, it's not happening to me, at least not at this time of the day. Maybe only on those mornings that I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and get up feeling really drowzy but the problem is, I can literally get up one side of the bed, because if I get up on the other side, which is a wooden partition and that would really make my day. So here is the very, very late second part of the homecoming series, reality, dreams and losing touch...

Dreams, Reality and Losing Touch

It is dark, early morning,
Cold, chilled air from the dew,
Walking slowly, unaware,
Of all the affairs of the day,
A figure walks past, ignored,
Was that a greeting,
A hello or good morning?
Memories were dim, blurred,
Like the unlit garden of life,
Lies spread in front of me,
Fresh to the tired and exhausted,
Awakening to the groggy-eyed,
Still lost in a maze of dreams,
Walking straight ahead, confused,
Are the things that are to come,
Mystifying to the unaware?
Every morning, everything,
Breaks apart, comes together,
Losing touch, holding on,
To anything that is going on.

And now for a long footnote, things have been going well lately, or at least relatively well, did quite well for Block Test 1, not complaining but I'm getting too much suspense from receiving test papers which is a sign that I'm still not confident, which is not good. And they say I should be happy with 80 points, which is straight A's, something to be particularly proud of in fact. For the record record, I'm proud of it but not elated, euphoric or overjoyed. That aside, I still of to settle the balsa wood matters, which isn't going as smoothly as I want it to be and also the fact that I have a class profile to make, Malay General Knowledge Quiz, KI research to do, H3 chemistry timetabling and also a class notice board to decorate, which are all the fringe issues to homework. What is more, there is a possibility that the Block Test 2 could come as early as Week 10 of Term 2, which is this term. Now, I really wonder whether I'm losing touch or not.