Sunday, May 21, 2006


[Quote of the post] If love is the answer, could you please repeat the question?
[Song of the post] Stick to the Status Quo - High School Musical
[Site of the post] High School Musical Soundtrack

I hate exams. So do you, I bet. But probably not for the same reasons.

Examinations exist to test your knowledge, your learning. After three months, six months, one year, they give you a test to see if you learnt what they taught and to see if all that time and money was wasted. They measure, they test, they examine, they give you a score at the end. A two-digit number, three if you're really good, and one if you're really really unlucky. And then that's it. They're cast in stone and can't ever change and they'll haunt you for the rest of your life.

Where is the logic in that. All you see are the results of the marking. All the marker sees are the results of your year's education. He or she checks if you're wrong or right, decrees it with the mighty red pen of Gandalf the Grey (You shall not pass!) then throws your script aside, casting around for the next one. They don't see your thoughts. They don't see the processes you went through. The examiner isn't in the exam room to see you jump with delight that you actually understoon the Chinese comprehension passage. He's not there to notice you feverishly scribbling down graph answers five minutes to the end of the exam. She doesn't know that you never noticed the change in question on the board. They don't see the changes you go through as you live the semester. All they see are your essays, which they judge, then get back to their lives. Every teacher says that it's the process, not the results, that matter. What you go through and learn is more important than what your marks are. Then why judge us on a test, on results. Judge us on our processes, look at what we go through the entire year, see how we change, how we learn, how we develop. Not set an essay to see if we've remembered what you've taught us.

I got 14/25 for Lang Arts. Do you know the feeling of total disappointment, when your hopes are so high they come crashing down all over your ears and bury you up to your neck? When you're supposed to be really good in something, but a test result comes back to prove that you aren't? Honestly, I didn't really expect to score really high for this subject, but x_x After Mr. Wong told me (jokingly) beforehand that, "You got 14!" [which was the class average] and after that says, "No lah, you didn't get 14." Oh yay, I thought. Maybe I got 15. Or even 16. Maybe... then BLAM. FOURTEEN.

What's the use of written commentary anyway. To teach us to understand and identify how the author makes use of certain literary devices to convey across a universal theme... for what? It's not like anybody listens anyway. You have all these authors and writers and novelists who write and write and have a subtle message in their writing, and all these literature scholars find it and know how the authors use it and... don't do anything about it. The world isn't becoming better. No-one's learning life-changing lessons from books anymore. People are even beginning to fear them, fear works of fiction, because that people might think they are true...

Chinese was a miserable 51. At least I just passed. A lot of people failed. x_x But at least this time I understood the passage. I enjoyed reading it. I was laughing through it because I (thought I) could answer questions I normally couldn't. That's what the examiner never sees. Lovely, wonderful 51.

IHS: 11.5/15 (the second interpretation was a limitation, mind you). Geog: 35.5/50 (50 marks is 100 points in 60 minutes. Impossible. Yet Zhang got 42.). C Math: 95/100 (the whole class got around there). A Math: 81/100 (THANK YOU MR NG IF IT WASN'T FOR YOU IT'D PROBABLY BE A LOT WORSE). Physics: 57/70 (Could've been 58 if it weren't for those stupid arrows and a 60 if it weren't for me mixing up vertically and horizontally. x_x) Chem: 59/70 (stupid ammonia NH3 not NH4). All in all a 75.25% average.

I hate marks. When all your best friends get higher than you, it hurts. It hurts more when your best friends get lower than you. Knowing that I beat my best friend doesn't give me any satisfaction. It hurts. It hurts more than knowing your best friend beat you. Beat you at something you were supposed to be really good at.

Lang Arts IOPs for term 3: 24/30; highest, shared with Shaun. Boey and Isaac got the same. IOPs was a complete fiasco, come to think of it. On one hand, I'm really happy that our (Shaun and my) presentation worked fantasticably (no that's not a typo), but on the other hand I feel horrigible that I probably messed up some people's IOP marks. How can you be so good at something it becomes bad. Thank you Mr Wong for praising me, but in that context it was more like the worse insult someone can ever throw at me. Words cut deep. Feelings cut deeper.

I don't seem to be much help to anyone, do I? Even when I'm just trying to do my best and have fun, you get people coming in to judge your actions. Maybe I should just run away. Keep away from everybody else. I'd probably die, but at least you won't get pulled down with me too.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Pre-holiday Post-exam

[Quote of the post] I thought you needed someone qualified to sign a death warrant. Now they just get teachers to do it.
[Song of the post] True Colours - Cyndi Lauper

You with the sad eyes
Don't be discouraged
Oh I realize
It's hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow

Show me a smile then,
Don't be unhappy, can't remember
When I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy
And you've taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I'll be there

And I'll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow


Yay, exams are over. Boo, results are coming back. Dontcha just love these mixed-feeling situations?

Oh well. I won't go into a detailed study of my examination processes... like Ron Weasly wisely says, "...we're not going through them afterwards, it's bad enough doing them once." Needless to say I performed horrifically badly. I think. Core Math was okay (I don't want sir to leave. Ever.) and... er... that's about it. Everything else was, is, and is going to be, a tragic failure. Waah. Results will be back by Friday. I'm worried, even though I know you can only die once.

I haven't blogged for such a long time, yet I seem at a loss of what to say. I just love True Colours... How can you say something when there are no words to express it? I just read this weird Chinese passage, saying something about having secrets is good, that it helps build character (that's what I could make out of it, and I'm telling you my Chinese isn't that good). How can you keep a secret when it keeps burning inside you and corroding your heart and eating away at your very existence?

Why do people make notes in bulleted, point form? Monochrome, pictureless, boring. Make notes which are memorable, and have fun making them! What's the use of spending 3 hours painstakingly typing out notes in nice, neat, monochromatic typeface when you can spend twice the time colouring, drawing and overall-making your notes something which you can remember and visualize in the exam and have four times the fun in the process. I just don't get it.

Today during IHS was this lesson on British Culture. That teacher, Mr Peter Davies if I'm not wrong, is an excellent lecturer, except for the fact that he's British, so a) his accent is too strong and people can't understand his jokes; b) his jokes are all quite 'British' in a sense and nobody quite understands them even if they heard them anyway. But he's good. Very good. And the clips of the British comedy; those were hilarious too. But then we hit this little snag.

I was laughing. A lot. I found British humour to be hilarious. Apparently I was laughing too much, for people kept shooting glances at me with confused, bewildered looks. Not many of them were laughing the way I was. Not many of them understood many of the jokes; not many of them could hear through the strong British accents. It's not a nice feeling to be alone; worse so when you're alone in a crowd of people whom you know. Yet you're experiencing something different; they must be missing out on something; or maybe it's you who's the one missing something. I don't feel special that I could catch most of the jokes; I don't feel special explainging jokes to my friends; the laughter is there for a moment, then it is gone. Jokes weren't meant to last. They're like drugs. They get you high for fifteen minutes then you realize, hey, I'm not happy. I'm laughing. It's different.

I don't know what to do about being different. I mean, all the books tell you to be different, enjoy being special, unique, same is boring, etc. etc. But they never say anything about being different means being alone, being special means being apart, being unique means being displaced. People don't know how to react to you when you're different; when you don't experience the same things you feel left out, and you feel like you're mashing a round peg into a square hole: sure it'll fit but it won't go in smoothly.

I don't know whether it's good to be a Literature student. I'm rereading Order of the Phoenix and I keep seeing parallels with Harry's and my life. (Not to mention that he's also fifteen in this book.) I don't know whether it's my paranoid literature ability or just Rowling's superb writing skill. And just so you know, she is a excellent writer, from a Lit student POV? You can use her work for Literary text if it weren't for the magic thing. And in Mission Impossible III? There's this part on the helicopter where the agent has a neuro-detonator thingy implanted into her skull? Ethan Hunt wanted to use a defilbirator to short-circuit the charge. But it was charging up and counting down. So at every second it would beep. The charge got detonated with 2 seconds to go. I don't know if it was intentional, but the beepings sounded like those life-support machines. When it was ready (and she was dead), it emitted those long beeeeeeeps, exactly like that of a dead person attached to a life-support machine reader. It's scary. I don't think many people noticed this.

Oh my. This actually turned out the be a long, angsty post. Oh well. There's something about Riddle's diary and a feeling of being unclean, but we'll leave it as that for today.

Monday, May 01, 2006


[Quote of the post] Knowledge is Power. Power corrupts. Study hard; be evil. -Jarrel
[Song of the post] Ride On - Final Fantasy VIII

This story Uncle Edna is a comment on the disadvantages of critical literary analysis required for written commentaries. The author effectively uses irony in the life of a young teenage boy to show that the ability to perceive what others usually don't is dangerous.

The comment made by his teacher totally supports this fact. "'It's like we're cursed,' he said. 'When my friend and I go to listen to choirs, we can hear all the off-keys, all the slip notes... in the same way, when you read a passage, you have to break it into pieces in your head... analyse it... won't be able to just enjoy it or read it for entertainment...'". This shows that once you have the ability to analyse something critically, all the bad points start showing up, and it prevents you from enjoying it further.

Furthermore, this point is further elaborated when Uncle Edna is leaving the library with his friends. He tries to explain that when you start analysing a person, trying to think what he is thinking about, trying to understand his feelings, you begin to "see" everything about that person. For emotions and thoughts and character, these are all non-superficial qualities, and thus the analyst has to assume some of them. And because of Uncle Edna's character, he assumes the worst, just in case. It is this quality of his, combined with his poor communication skills, and the relectance to worry other people with things that they don't need to worry about, that results in his point not getting across.

Ironically, he also utilizes this skill upon himself. In double comic irony, the text you are reading now is actually another "critical analysis" on a person's character, namely, Uncle Edna himself. The author skillfully uses bombastic language and vague pronouns at this point to confuse the reader further. Also note that the author already is confused beyond any doubt.

In conclusion, through the use of Uncle Edna, the author conveys the message that total perception is a "curse" which not many can handle.

Finished studying Language Arts halfway today. Still got 8 stories left. I really hope Second Opinion doesn't come out.

And I'm halfway through Core Math as well. Argh. I'm so inefficient. I need to wake up earlier tomorrow. I need to draw quadratic curves more nicely.