Archive for January, 2013

Trying to keep it down

January 31, 2013

It’s challenging trying to keep my weight strictly to between 70 and 75 keys. Somehow it keeps fluctuating. Right now it seems I’m 77. On the one hand I feel I should stop angsting about it and be content as long as I’m healthy. But on the other 73 is a nice acknowledgment of achievement and represents a happy middle in the band. Will try harder over the LNY hols.

Having that weird feeling again

January 28, 2013

So one load of I&Is done and dusted, but that weird, unsettling feeling is back. As usual, I can’t put my finger on it. Is it because I’m going to lose my marking refuge soon? Or wisps of WX memories surfacing like uneasy echoes? Or the never-ending saga of the A affair? Or the interminable, soul-sapping I&Is?

I’m not down or anything. Just can’t seem to shake this awful feeling.

Maybe it’s because I don’t feel I’m making a difference right now. That pointlessly plodding through the I&Is is really a downer because I can’t do anything about them.

Viewable Sunday

January 20, 2013

So I finally decide to visit the Substation for the Temporary Repositories exhibition, on an atypical, overcast, gloomy sort of Sunday afternoon. The air is cool and it’s actually chilly in the air-conditioned buses. I take one that brings me on a nice long ride.

I’m surprised I haven’t visited the Substation sooner, although there’s a nagging feeling I have, for some Irish film festival a long long time ago. I don’t know. I can’t remember.

Anyway, the film showcase was fascinating just because there’s so much one could watch – mostly studies done by film course students but also a few familiar names now mainstream and famous in the local filmmaker sense. I caught a kitschy propaganda satire, large bits of a Martyn See docu, a colleague’s humorous short about two hapless out of work stockbrokers turned would-be robbers, and Kelvin Sng’s homage to Wong Kar Wai and Teresa Teng featuring a former student!

All in all, a good few hours spent on a dreamy deary Sunday, before getting back to the I&Is.

First meeting, and already there’s homework

January 18, 2013

Don’t get me wrong; I’m actually happy to do it. Excited that we’re finally taking off, concretizing stuff. I’m pumped, even though it’s a Friday; when the work starts proper, Fridays may not be the best time to meet; perhaps mid-week?

Diagnostic scripts done; back to the I&Is. Contemplating if I should watch Zero Dark Thirty at home or in the cinema. Gonna catch a Singapore film exhibition tomorrow. There’s so much to do; I hope I can be disciplined enough to put some time away to keep ploughing through the I&Is.

Bond This Way

January 16, 2013

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The Sibs group surprised me with this this morning. They had promised me a copy of their book, custom decorated, last year, and I teasingly reminded them about it last week, but still it was a sweet and nice gesture and a great way to begin the day. They even saved their candidate ID labels and wrote short messages on them and pasted them on the inside back covers. The whole thing now sits proudly on my table.

Early lunch with Em didn’t work out as expected but it’s okay; there will be other times.

DH himself came by and actually noticed the weight loss. So I guess that’s a good thing?

According to Socrates…

January 15, 2013

Saw this on my Facebook feed.

According to Socrates, we must:
(1) Strengthen Our Souls;
I see this as finding ways to fortify myself internally. It’s only natural that many times, from daily wear and tear, our inner wills get eroded, as we attempt to contend with the loads of negativity that occur naturally around is. So this for me is about rededicating, reorienting myself daily so I don’t veer off course.

(2) Speak The Truth;
For me, this is about two things: courage and phrasing. It takes guts to tell the truth but even more guts to make the effort to find affirming ways to phrase it. Not every knife needs to be sharp to pierce the heart. I admit phrasing is something I’m still working on, how not to go for the sting right at the start, but to catch flies with honey, as they say.

(3) Think for Ourselves;
For me, this is more about taking responsibility for the choices I make, rather than about what conventionally would be perceived as following the crowd. I think too many times I neglect to accept responsibility for my choices, my actions, my feelings. Taking responsibility is to think carefully before committing to an action, but once I’ve done it, I have to live up to and with it.

(4) Ask the Right Questions;
Right Questions are the ones I usually avoid asking, because I don’t like the answers I already know deep down. So that’s something I need to take note of. Also, Right Questions don’t have to be academic questions, but moral questions that may ultimately have no clear answers.

and (5) Grow With Others
Even if it’s my destiny to be alone, ‘Others’ also means the people around me – my colleagues, my charges, and the small circle of people whose counsel I value and who, one way or another, inspire me to better action. And this means collective, not individual progress. Too often we race ahead and forget about taking others with us, to say nothing about leaving people behind. JW is right about being grateful about the relative downtime now, but I can’t wait to get started on building my learning community this year.

I&I ad nauseam

January 15, 2013

Think I’ve finally hit my limit of the I&Is.

There’s got to be something more productive I can do with my time.

It’s deathly boring and demotivating to have to plough through so many unthinking answers, more so since I can’t take concrete steps to get them improved.

What does it say that I can’t wait for my diagnostic scripts to come in?

Someone should banish I&I forever haha.

The power of the promise of collaboration…

January 10, 2013

…is just simply indescribable.

It all began with such an ordinary conversation, just a simple sharing of thoughts, taking a break from marking.

When conversations spark ideas. Enthusiasm. Yet more ideas. When discussion becomes so compelling. When you’re completing each other’s sentences, literally coming together in sync. When possibilities abound and everything seems do-able. When you can almost see the promise of the future.

It’s not going to be an easy project, but it’s exciting just to think about doing the work together.

I hope something good comes out of this. Really.

Also thankful for the conversation I serendipitously managed to have over lunch with Boss. It was good to clear the air, lay out my position in greater detail. Okay, so maybe we won’t see eye to eye on some things, maybe even a lot of things, but it’s important for me things are at least cordial. Smoother relations are always helpful if anything.

Little things to keep me going. Faith that things will ultimately be okay.

Watching the action from the sidelines

January 7, 2013

So we’re back. So far so good. Subbed for LAH for that last half hour. A good experience being back in the saddle, even for a little while. Ran into three former charges. Restarted gym. Agreed to string for another speech again.

Pleasantly surprised that about half of my former charges have been on the ball during the hols, and so I already have two piles of I&I submissions to wade through. Which is a good thing because the diagnostic’s coming in next week and I have to finish as much as I can before that because that takes priority.

Overall, a smooth and uneventful first day, with the main theme being everyone – colleagues, my former charges, even kiddos whom I rarely interact with – going on, somewhat dramatically taken aback, about my weight loss. Three months ago, I would have killed for that kind of recognition. Now it feels, I don’t know, a bit flattering but also a little awkward. I guess it’s because many think it happened over the holidays but from my perspective it really began last May. So the learning point here is that sometimes good things take a while to percolate to the surface. Maybe I was too hasty three months ago. I guess I need to always remind myself of the importance of Patience.

Bumped into her this morning while on my way to the inaugural sharing and we greeted each other. It was a pleasant, sincere encounter. It’s baby steps, but I think eventually we’ll be okay. That’s it. No grandiose expectations. Just, okay. I’m glad.

Like I said, a smooth, uneventful first day. Which is a good thing to take into tomorrow’s session. Not really looking forward to it, but it’s something that I have to see through too, I know.

Thoughts on the eve of the restart

January 6, 2013

An admittedly prosaic title, I know. Whatever.

So it’s about 10 hours before we begin again. Even though I won’t be in thick of things yet, I admit it’s still good to get back into the saddle. Actually I’m kinda envious not being part of being in the thick of things tomorrow. But stuff will come in soon enough to keep me busy until the newbies come in in February – the diagnostic and the I&I for starters. Am also going to restart gym.

To my former charges, a good year ahead!