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Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Back in the days when I still had reason to fear a fate worse than death whilst walking in carparks late at night, I had wanted to invest in a pair of knuckledusters. See here for a demonstration of knuckledusters. A man who can handle himself can do major damage to another with a knuckleduster. One punch from a fist equipped with a knuckleduster can crack skulls. A few well-aimed punches can break legs. But I was (and am) a very petite woman. I thought I needed those knuckledusters to level the playing field should I meet up with an oversexed male intent on making me suffer... well... a fate worse than death.

These days of course, I have little to fear for myself. However, the fear I feel for The Daughter is even worse. I do so wish I could buy her a pair of Womanly Knuckledusters for her protection in situations where I am not there with my garden shears bought specially for emasculating oversexed males who have her in their sights. It doesn't matter how pretty The Daughter really is (though of course, I find her most pretty indeed).... her youth and innocence are attractive on their own. Besides, where perverts are considered, attractiveness means nothing and vulnerability means everything. This explains why perverts target kids. These are vulnerable. There is something about being defenceless that turns a pervert on. Hence, it isn't the prettiest girls that get targeted, it's those that look like easy meat.

Hence, the best protection is to make sure that one is always in the company of someone trusted. And if one is found in a dangerous situation, to do everything possible to make it difficult for the perpetrator.

The Daughter has been offered a short stint of work in Shanghai, China. And I am worried enough that it keeps me up at nights. Yet, I know that I must not keep her in a cage even though she would be safe with me. She isn't going to grow much taller though she might grow fatter, and lose her willowy silhouette... and it'll be a long time before she becomes old enough to no longer attract such attention. I have a good 25 years more of worry in front of me. I became seriously worried when I read this.

We made a trip to Chamelon to look for cheap rings that could enhance a punch. Unfortunately, those that were hard and knobby (enough to do damage to a perpetrator's eyes and jawbone) were made for men and they slipped right off the slim fingers of The Daughter. We came home with nothing.

I am disappointed and still worried. Knuckle dusters are illegal in Singapore. I wonder if they are illegal in China too.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


X & Y Sweet Enterprises got busted today. See how this business started here. I think it is such a pity that Little X and Little Y have had their entrepreneurial wings clipped. If I were the Teacher, I would have feigned ignorance... and let the little kiddies have their fun. After all, Teachers can get away with not knowing how to spell... for missing out errors when correcting assignments... for correcting mistakes that aren't mistakes... so if I were a Teacher, I would probably get away with feigning ignorance.

Gee... the kids were running a perfectly legitimate sweet retail. They were learning plenty of things. Little X's brochure was hand drawn. Kids flipped her brochure and ordered sweets for the next day. The accounts ledger, I found out today, was designed like a bookie's books (or what I imagine a bookie's books to be, never having seen one). There were no REAL names in the books. The names were in CODE. Clearly, our 2 little entrepreneurs had foreseen that they would be busted one day no matter how far under the radar they tried to fly. So, they took steps to protect their clients, and wrote all their customers names in code. Now, I'll bet that the clients (which incidentally, included a school Principal)of the recently busted High End Prostitution Ring wish that their supplier of fresh meat had thought to do the same thing.

The 2 kids had a lovely partnership going. They negotiated and split profits with decorum. They kept proper records. They learnt to do service recovery because some clients complained that the sweets they had booked the day before had been accidentally sold to other children (who hadn't booked any sweets)... and had to be mollified. Little X even decided not to remind her Mom about her daily allowance because she was earning enough to spend at recess (self-reliance). If running a business was a bad thing then every second household up and down my street would be in jail.

But well... I guess it was fun whilst it lasted eh? Hopefully, Little X and Little Y experienced great fulfillment from this endeavour, and will keep the flame of their entrepreneurial spirit alive. I do know that Little Boy's entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well even though his caterpillar business was busted 2 years ago by his favourite Teacher. Read about it here.

Indeed, when The Favourite Teacher commented to Little Boy that the school was not a mall and that kids weren't allowed to buy and sell things in school, Little Boy had promptly moved his business dealings to just outside the school gate. You see, technically, that was not IN school. All would have been well except that one of Little Boy's clients, having taken possession of his new caterpillar, had rushed back excitedly INTO school to gush about it to Little Boy's Favourite Teacher (who was clearly everyone else's favourite teacher too). The Beloved Teacher came around and tsked at Little Boy, who folded up his business at the 2nd tsk tsk because he really loved that Teacher.

How do I know Little Boy's entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well? Aha! I know because he had told me yesterday that he was gonna propose to Little X that he could design a photo brochure for $4/=. "It's easy, Mom." he said, "Just take a picture of all the sweets together. Label them using Powerpoint. Print. I'll be done in 15 minutes." Hmmmmm... $4/= for 15 minutes... that's $16/= an hour, which is more than double what The Daughter was paid in January for waiting tables. Not bad for someone who hasn't even taken his PSLE eh?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Their Grades Suck

X is the girl who now sits with Little Boy. For some obscure reason, she has ready access to heaps and heaps of free sweets from Changi Airport. She brought them to school to share with her friends. Seeing an opportunity to make money, Little Y made her an offer she didn't refuse - "I will help you sell your sweets and we will split the takings 45% for you and 55% for me." Incidentally, Little Y was the enterprising young fellow who had some weeks ago thought up the slogan "Join Us We Have Cookies" and with it, ran the aggressive and highly successful membership drive for his gang. More details here.

Little X, sweet little girl that she was, accepted Little Y's offer of 45%-55% in his favour.

Enter The Business Consultant - Little Boy. In his own words - "I ADVISED X that since she is the supplier of sweets, she should get the bigger cut since without her sweets, Y would have nothing to sell... and besides, she can always get other people to sell her sweets... or sell them herself without going through Y." Whereupon, the scales fell from X's eyes. She marched back to Y and demanded (as advised by Little Boy) a 75%-25% cut in her own favour.

And so the venture began.

Little Y then went to buy his own sweets and put them on the market. However, Little Boy reported that his costs were higher so he was making less per sweet than when he sold Little X's sweets. However, having access to his own supply of sweets meant that Little Y could renegotiate terms with Little X and so now the split is at 50%-50%.

Last night, I heard that the business is booming. X and Y Sweet Enterprises now has an accounts ledger where they keep track of their clients and how many sweets they've bought. You see, if you don't keep good accounts, you can't report to the tax man. Besides, they need to keep track of how many sweets each customer has bought in order to honour their promotional package - Buy 8 sweets and get the 9th sweet free.

X has begun working on a sweet catalogue. She has to sort through her sweets, photograph them and print a catalogue to make it easier for customers to pick sweets. They've even offered their sweet selling services to other kids - "If you have sweets to offload, let us know. We will sell for you and take a 10% cut."

"Why 10% only?" I asked. "When the publishers sell Mommy's book, they give themselves a 90% cut (which explains why I am not working with the publisher to sell my book)... why did you advise Little X to take such a small cut?" Little Boy gave me an exasperated look and explained to his slow Mommy "Anyone in my class can sell sweets Mom. If we don't give them a big cut, they'll just start to sell their sweets themselves. Since you don't own a bookstore, you cannot sell your book yourself."

Oh well... he is wrong. In this day and age, I CAN sell my book myself sans bookstore.

Then I asked "Don't these 2 kids have to study for PSLE?" Little Boy shrugged his shoulders and said "I guess that's why their grades suck, Mom." Oh well... good grades or not, I say that Little Y is a boy to watch. He'll will be a very rich businessman one day if our educational system hasn't beaten the risk-taking bent outta him in the name of the Worship of Grades and the Right Answers.

I put a rather distracted Little Boy to bed last night. He was busy thinking of ways to help grow Little X's business. He even said "Mom... you're a Business Consultant. Give me some ideas." A few minutes after I had retired to bed, I was rather upset to find Little Boy bouncing onto my bed declaring "I know how to grow Little X's business, Mom! We need sales reps in the other classes so that we can sell the sweets to the children there!"

"But what's in it for you? Why are you getting more excited about X's business than your PSLE?" I asked.

The answer was beyond simple, "Mom! Little X lets me have all the sweets I can eat for free." I wasn't sure what to say to that because on the one hand the PSLE is Little Boy's ticket to a life of even more sweets (and other things)... but on the other hand, I am not keen to put the brakes on such a fun and educational project that has absolutely nothing to do with Direct School Admission, GEP, HAT and CCA points. It's so rare that our kids have the time to explore and generate their own unstructured activities to find their passion. So... I smiled and said "Go away. I am not interested. I am an HR Consultant, not Business Consultant. Until X &Y Sweet Enterprises starts to hire people, don't ask me for advice."

I'll just have to watch this carefully in order to ensure that Little Boy's grades don't begin to suck as he goes about trying to encourage his friends in other classes to suck sweets.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Math Motivation Workshops

It all started with Chinese, and ended with Math.

Little Boy flunked Chinese. I devised Potato Chinese (a method of learning Chinese that was pure unadulterated tedium). See post on Potato Chinese here. I know that there are many advocates out there for fun learning. You don't argue with that. When learning is fun, then kids want to do it... and they do more of it. You don't have to motivate the child to do what is naturally fun and motivating.

Unfortunately, Potato Chinese is, like I have already stated, PURE UNADULTERATED TEDIUM. If you don't believe me, you go try memorizing and reciting paragraph after paragraph after paragraph of Chinese text... for 7 hours a day, over 3 weeks during your DECEMBER HOLIDAYS. It was SO not fun, but it was necessary to help Little Boy accelerate himself through 3 years of Chinese in 10 months.

The task was so EVIL in its tedium that I had to really apply myself to motivating Little Boy. He worked hard at memorizing. I worked hard at motivating him. When Potato Parents started to message me on HOW to motivate, I ended up spending hours WRITING to people... and talking to them on the phone about HOW to motivate. Invariably, after reading and listening to me, they would go away with perfect understanding which did not however, translate into the motivating actions, words and responses towards their child. They came back and complained that their child was still NOT motivated.

Since I did not want to appear like I was selling koyok (i.e., being a quack), I invited a few parents to my house with their problem kids. I sat down WITH the kids and SHOWED the parents how it was done. Once I had started, I couldn't stop. It was so very gratifying to see parents' eyeballs drop out when I proved to them that their children weren't as difficult as they had described.

The last time, one parent's child assured me that her girl would never say "Yes" to the question "Do you think you can manage to recite TWO sentences?" without being coerced or tricked. This parent (KSP nick: poohbear) was convinced that her child wouldn't be willing to even memorize half a sentence. Poohbear had lied to her child saying "We are going to Aunty Petunia's house to PLAY." You should have seen the child's livid face when she found out that I was gonna make her memorize Chinese. When this same girl said clearly "I wanna do 2 sentences", I think her Mom almost fell off her chair.

Then, I started getting requests to help children who hate Math. My friend R asked me 5 times. Finally, she said "Petunia, if you don't help me, my child will have to do Foundation Math for PSLE". So I took the plunge for the first time today, half afraid that I would embarrass myself because I am about as bad at Math, as I am in Chinese.

I found out though... that Math Motivation workshop was even MORE gratifying then the Chinese one. Hee! *Rub Hands*

Today, one parent (KSP nick: bebebub) had assured me on the phone that her child had a motivation problem. The parent said, "My child will never choose a challenging task. She will always choose the more easy one." 1.5 hours into the session, after feeling out the child's intelligence level, I gave the P4 child a P5 book to read and internalize. Of course, the child ran into problems. I asked "It's difficult huh? That's ok. Let's stop this and go back to something easier." Bebebub's face froze in mid smile and her eyes went wide when her daughter said "I want to finish doing this." Well now... that gave me a chance to gloat at bebebub. "Errrrrr... did you say again and again that your kid runs away from every challenge?"

Man! That was fun! *Rub Hands Again*

Poohbear Wrote Me After Reading This Post

I just read your blog, esp with regards to my gal :)

Ok lah... i didnt really lie, did i .. ha ha. I just didn't state plainly the fact that the PLAY i meant was different from the PLAY she expected :) But the fact is , she ended up with more PLAY than hard memory work.

She was so happy tat day when she went home. She even said she wants to go back to "that Aunty's big house again" to PLAY!

That got her jie jie super jealous and was sulking thru that evening that i bring mei mei to PLAY not her. She wants to go again next time, and it should be her turn not mei mei since mei mei had her turn already.

I am ok with what is written. Having my nick there is ok too :) If you like to include what I hv written above as well, its fine with me too ...

Just to update, I am still doing the memorising with my gals, albeit once a week, one paragraph at time. XXXX is keen to do and does not put up ANY resistance to start at all :) We are near the end of the 1st essay. Let's hope both of us can sustain and finish up 10 essays tis year :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Milo's Muddy Escapade

One always has to co-ordinate carefully with people in the house before pressing the remote control to open the big gate. Someone has to lock Milo up at the back of the house you see. Else, Milo will do his graceful wolf lope with so much elegance that he looks slow mo, but is out of the house before you can close your mouth. The Husband would call the house phone 5 minutes before arriving. Soon, Milo learnt to dash out at the sound of the phone ringing near 7.30 or so. He would wait at the gate and we had to grab him and drag him to the lock-up. Then The Husband tried pulling up silently at the gate and make hand signals. No can do. Milo learnt to keep an eye out. And since his senses are sharper than mine, he often saw The Husband before I did.

I was careless today. I honked and since Milo did not appear, I opened the gate. In no time, Mr Elegant Slow Mo Dog was off into the jungle. I'm in no condition to run after him so I left the side gate open and went into the house. I figured that he would come home when he had played enough. Kids always do, especially if you're nice to them. Milo is a big kid and we're mostly nice to him.

He came back home panting joyfully covered head to toe in mud. He tracked muddy paw prints all over the patio floor and sat down to make a butt print. Then he looked at me happily. I'll bet that he would have told me all the highlights of his escapade then if he could talk. Anyway, he can't and he was dirty. I grabbed him and gave him a good long scrub. He smells good and has soft fur again.

We now have 3 teens in the house... Milo, The Daughter and Little Boy. They all like to go on their own escapades. It's best for me to just wait for them to be done and then they'll invariably come home to be with me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bed Bugs and Parquet

We only knew we had bed bugs when we turned over The Helper's mattress and found them clustering along the mattress seams like round drops of dried blood. Some roused themselves sufficiently to crawl sluggishly away from the daylight. I suspected that the bugs might have come from the agency's lodgings when The Helper transited through there. I immediately worried for my own bed. The Helper had the habit of spreading out our clothes on HER bed to fold. Once the stack of clothes came upstairs, she would place them on MY bed before distributing to all the wardrobes.

It was a nightmare. The Husband's frequent itchy spots began to make sense. We had initially thought they were part of an eczema. So I swung into bed bug control. The mattress went... even though there was no infestation obvious to the naked eye. The Husband underestimated the enemy. He wouldn't throw away the bedframe. It was an expensive King-sized wooden bedframe with a Queen bed pull out. We loved it. The whole family bunked in together and it cost us $2000, which may not be a lot to some people but I think it was at that time, the most expensive piece of furniture in the house.

So, I sprayed cans and cans of insecticide on the bed, with the predictable result that the bed bugs picked up their legs and ran. Where did they run to? Into the cracks of my parquet floor. And there they stayed coming out to bite us in the night even after we threw away the bed frame and bought a new metallic one. I was using so many cans of insecticide that I felt sick. The room was always smelling and we would STILL get bitten!! Every week, I had to drag the metal bedframe out to the garden and pour hot boiling water all over it. And the bedbugs still came for us.

Eventually, I poured boiling water onto the parquet. I made sure the hot water seeped into every crack. Too bad if that was going to damage the wood. I didn't care anymore. I was half-crazed by the unremitting stress caused by these tiny creatures of the night who creep up for their dose of haemoglobin. They lay thousands of eggs so small you can't see them. Their young are born with a taste for blood and they're little transparent whitish specks of dust. You can't see them but they can smell you.

The new house has NO PARQUET and NO CARPET. The bedrooms have floor tiles. The bedframe is cheap. The mattress is of foam and therefore a fraction of what a spring mattress costs (and it offers far more support for my lower back than any other mattress I've had before). We have set all up for easy bed bug riddance IF EVER it happens again. The whole bed and mattress will go. The bedding will be washed and heated in the dryer to temperatures that'll kill any bug or bug egg. Then, I will use my trusty steamer and I will steam the floor and walls. Nothing kills bed bugs better than heat.

In USA, there is a bedbug treatment consisting of pumping hot air quickly into an infested room. This raises the temperature of the room FAST before bedbugs have a chance to go snuggle somewhere deep and cool. Both eggs and bugs die. We don't have that treatment here but I have my trusty steamer and my kettles of boiling hot water.

Since then too, I make sure I do spot checks on The Helper's bedroom, bed, wall and floor. I require that she turns everything out on a regular basis, irons her mattress and steams the floor of her room. I also want the room to smell nice... and I supply The Helper with a store of perfumed talc so that she will get used to being clean and smelling good.

At every hotel room, I do a visual check of the mattress. Suitcases stay downstairs till all the contents have been washed. I don't care whether clean or dirty. Everything is washed and tossed into the dryer. No suitcases are allowed in the bedroom. They stay under the stairs and when we pack them, we BRING our belongings downstairs TO the suitcases.

Bedbugs are a nightmare. I don't ever want to have them again.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Xiao Long Bao & Beijing Pork Pie

I found a stall somewhere in Toa Payoh. Oh dear... I dunno the address. I only know how to get there. It sells xiao long bao and flat pancake pork pies. It's Beijing street fare to be sure, but it is really very good.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Grand Dad Speaks

I was putting Little Boy to bed when I sighed. I wasn't even aware of my own long sigh for it escaped me like air from a deflating balloon. Little Boy sat up and hugged me. Then he said "Why are so worried, Mom?" So I finally confessed my heart to my son. I was sad for him because he had worked so hard and in the recent test, he didn't seem to have gotten anywhere. I was also afraid for him because if he continues to score in the 70s, he might end up in Normal Technical stream, and head to ITE.

Then Little Boy lectured me on my lack of composure. He said...

Mom! This kind of anxiety is like running very fast on the spot. You expend a lot of energy and you get nowhere. We have a plan, don't we? It's a good plan, isn't it? Let's just follow the plan slow and steady, and we will end up where we will end up.

I think very soon, I will have to call my son "Grand Dad".

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

World Class But Also Barely Literate

I write so much about the educational system and in the end, this picture says it all. Indeed, I am not even sure that the disadvantaged students get a "basic education" (as depicted in the picture above) because MOE's teachers mark work and make mistakes that students don't make. See below.

Note that Teacher spelt trooping with TWO Ps. And instead of what should rightly be "seating myself", has taught Little Boy to use "sitting myself". Please note that the Teacher's name is not published to protect his/her identity. This post is not meant to shame him/her but to highlight ways in which the system can support weak Teachers like him/her. In the light of

(1) insufficient textbooks (make them more comprehensive, for this is what is happening now...
(2) patchy collections of essential study notes... some schools have them and others don't (make sure all schools give out good notes if textbooks cannot be enhanced)
(3) a system wiith incentives that discourage sharing of educational resources across schools and between teachers... such that teachers who don't write their own resources have little to teach with (change these disincentives to sharing of educational resources).
(4) high standards of literacy expected in tests and exams... standards that surpass the abilities of Teachers (see errors in spelling made by Teacher above)... hence, demand of students only what Teachers can deliver.
(5) exams that test beyond what the school is capable of adequately teaching and reinforcing (don't test beyond what has been taught which happens increasingly often...
(6) absence of electronic databases (in this internet age) to allow Teachers to share resources across the nation in such a way as to quickly generate homework that is flexibly suited to each child's individual needs (develop such a database so that weak Teachers can be helped to deliver good teaching)
(7) no metric of teaching effectiveness (measure this so that Teachers know they are accountable for good teaching and not for writing good reports and winning at CCAs)

... a child from a disadvantaged home has a lot stacked against him in his path towards academic success, because his parents cannot afford the enrichment and the extra resources that palliate the problems above. As a result, MNCs  prefer to hire foreign talent who can communicate well in English ( See here: instead of ADULT Singaporeans who write so poorly there is no way to clearly discern what they are trying to say...

The song titled “Over There” is describing a man’s desire to leave his wife to a place that brings him the sense of achievement.

If learning has to happen outside the classroom, and schools content themselves with testing HARD, then the gap between haves and have nots will widen... because the haves who have access to high quality tuition and educational materials, will hit world class. But the have nots will be barely literate, as in the example above (which happens quite often), because they have no one else except school teachers who make spelling mistakes to learn from. How can all schools be good when they differ on 4 important criteria (1) the quantity of notes given out to make up for insufficient textbooks, (2) the quality of notes given out to make up for insufficient textbooks (3) the quality of teaching, marking and feedback, (4) the quantity of teaching, marking and feedback. The picture below illustrates.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Shoo Birds!

The Little Greenhouse

The Eyes

My new garden attracts birds of all sorts. I used to have 3 sunbirds in the old garden who would drop by for a chat in the mornings when I am sipping tea. The sunbirds were very civilized guests. They were well-mannered and dainty. They didn't leave droppings all over my patio. They didn't pull my seedlings out of the soil.

The mynahs and the pigeons are intrusive. With them around, it was impossible initially to raise any seedlings to maturity because once the tender shoots appeared, the naughty birds would kill them. I rather felt like killing those birds. In fact, on more than one occasion, I had imagined them completely naked and sitting on a bed of potatoes and broccoli.

The Husband however went and procured a dozen of plastic snakes. This reduced the seedling massacre by a fair bit but not completely. Then The Husband got me a mini greenhouse and 3 balloons with huge eyes. The birds don't like those big eyes staring balefully at them. And they can't get at my seedlings in the green house at all.

Wild Honey

Cafe Mocha
Photo courtesy of Open Kitchen Concept

Tunisian Breakfast
Photo courtesy of Open Kitchen Concept

Australian Breakfast (comes with Ribeye Steak under the Omelette)

English Breakfast

Open Kitchen Concept introduced me to Wild Honey, an all day breakfast joint. I was so impressed by the Tunisian breakfast I had that I brought Little Boy back there to dine on breakfast. The food was good and the ambience was great. I'm not a great one for ambience but I must say that the place was done up in such a way that made you feel like going back just to sit and read in the armchairs. The service was excellent... best I've experienced even amongst joints such as Roast @ Rochester and Goodwood Park Hotel.

They had young (probably students) who bounced around and generally acted their age. Very laid back. Very homey. Very cosy. With well made food.

Would I go back? The ambience is tempting but well... Little Boy (oblivious to ambience) commented that the food can't be difficult to make at home - bacon, eggs, sausages and toast. I think it is a great place o entertain and chill out with friends, but food wise, I must agree with my little one. It's more value for money to eat it on our patio at home.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Psalm 127:1

Unless the LORD builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.

I have never seen The Husband this happy. He wasn't this happy when I graduated with my PhD. He wasn't this happy when HE collected HIS A level results. He wasn't this happy when the children were born. He wasn't this happy when we moved into our new house.

He was so happy that his last words before he fell asleep last night were "I'm so happy." He was so happy that he woke up in the wee hours this morning, covered my face with kisses and said "Thank you for bringing up our daughter well." He was so happy that he then went to wake up The Daughter to get her to produce the A level certificate for his perusal over morning breakfast. I was happy too but I don't think I felt anywhere near the ecstatic joy The Husband experienced.

The Daughter and I believe that we owe this all to God.

We know people who have bested The Daughter in every subject for months and in test after test after test. For 2 years, the performance of many other students was consistently better... and The Daughter's performance was consistently just a little bit inferior. Teacher's remarks on almost every assignment was "XXXXX is capable of better performance given her intelligence." Such remarks came so often that they began to sound patronising - remarks made ONLY to encourage a student who would otherwise give up.

It seemed to me (and to The Daughter) that she would never make a breakthrough... that her kite could not take off no matter how hard she tried. In the end, I accepted that whilst we, as a family, aren't dumb-dumbs, we just couldn't match up to the raw intelligence demonstrated by some of The Daughter's classmates. And that was just FINE. However, that was no excuse to stop trying, if only to see where one would really end up... because sometimes, God just wants to see some effort, sincerity and obedience to His will. If He put you in a place then He expected your best effort to be expended to glorify His name.

Try as we might, The Daughter and I cannot make sense of the 8 Distinctions The Daughter brought home yesterday. We for sure knew other people more deserving. Between a time-consuming BOYFRIEND and her own inability to make an academic breakthrough, we were willing to accept the chips wherever they fell. To know that the lots fell in an array of such perfection is to experience being bathed in the golden aura of God's grace... or to have tongues of holy fire consume your being.

I asked The Daughter this morning what she planned to do. She answered me thus, "Mom, I don't know. For having experienced so much grace from God, I feel that I should try my best to be an instrument of His will. I will do what He wants me to do." I stared at my daughter across the table and realized that God was telling me that my work was done. That henceforth, He will take over and she will be in good hands - His hands. It was only at this moment that I felt my own ecstatic joy.

God used me mightily in The Daughter's life to craft a woman of God... a woman of strength, grace and beauty. I don't suppose I could have done it except that God made ME an instrument of his will, and His skill had crafted another being who will have the courage and obedience to stand in the gap between the Living and the Dead. I am glad I have not labored in vain. I am glad for the lesson which God gave me 10 years ago when He placed upon my heart the duties of the kind of mother he wanted me to be.

Unless the LORD builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Sigh of Relief

I still remember a scrawny little girl with rabbit teeth and a perpetually snotty nose... trying her best to explain to me that she had done her very best in her exams. It was a somewhat depressing moment because Teacher had just finished explaining to me that being able to read Mr Men books were nothing because all the other P1 classmates were at Roald Dahl. I didn't even know whom Roald Dahl was but when I found his books in the library, I was very depressed. They looked very difficult for a Primary 1 child.

Oh well... in a blink of an eye she grew up into a tall willowy young lady with all the curves where curves should be, and of course, minus the perpetually snotty nose. Her teeth had also sorted themselves out nicely.

At about the time she grew up, she found herself a boyfriend. I was livid. A boyfriend in JC requires the same level of commitment as an H3 A level paper (i.e., S paper) which simply means far less time for mugging.  She did badly at almost every exam of note in Junior College... and I blamed it on her BOYFRIEND. I even texted the said BOYFRIEND to tell him to leave my daughter quite alone. I threatened and yelled and sobbed and sulked.

Then I gave up. You can't reason with 2 people in love because they've stopped thinking.

After her A level exams, I talked to her seriously and said "You can't change anything now. What's done is done. If you go to school on 2nd March 2012 to collect your results and you have not done well, I want you to come home immediately. We still love you. Whatever you do, don't go anywhere near an HDB flat."

I was guarding against that slight possibility that she might go jump off some tall building.

I received a call at 4-ish. A plaintive voice reminiscent of a snotty nosed scrawny girl told me that she had had straight Bs... all 8. So, I kept as much emotion out of my voice as possible and told her to come home. Then there was a giggle... and a male voice yelling excitedly in the background (must have been the BOYFRIEND). It turned out that she had gotten straight A's.

Next thing is to get her married. If the BOYFRIEND is reading this... ummmm... you know what to do.