Saturday, June 24, 2006

Back from Paradise

Surfers' Paradise - readers of this blog would notice that this is my first blog after more than a week's silence. That's because I was in Australia's Sunshine State last week on vacation. As vacation goes, the Notebook PC did not follow me, and I stayed away from newspapers entirely. I also avoided Internet Cafes although the thought to blog did cross my mind. In fact, the last time I was overseas in South Korea, I blogged using the PC at the lobby of the hotel I was in. There was a PC in the hotel lobby I was staying in Australia, but I just didn't find the time nor the interest to do any blogging. Part of the reason is that this vacation has been quite a busy one for me and my family. We were getting up early in the mornings every day so that we could get to our destinations to enjoy the full benefit of the tickets that we had paid for. In fact, for a couple of days after stepping onto Singapore soil again, I didn't feel like blogging till now. Blame it on Jet-lag.

I think I haven't missed much in terms of news although the Football World Cup is in full swing. I have never been a football fan, so that explains it. Timor Leste burnt and the politics hewed and hawed, but nothing significant happened, until I came back. That was when Xanana Gusmao threatened to resign. If Alkatiri has any sense of decency, he should resign, not wait to be thrown out of office and back into exile.

And, oh, I missed the debate on the desirability and implications of employing native English speakers for our schools. Anyway, this is water under the bridge, as far as I am concerned. In my school days some quarter of a century ago, this issue has been raised and debated before, although not with the vehemence this time around. I have had my share of being taught by native English speakers. I think I am the better for it today, not that non-natives weren't good at all. Some even think I talk like a non-native (i.e. native English) and I may have been accused of speaking 'slang' - a word which is much mis-used and misunderstood. There is no absolute regarding this issue, though I understand that our non-native English teachers may have felt slighted, and this issue raised not a few doubts and contentious thoughts in the minds of the perceptive. But if you are confident in what you do and know, it really shouldn't bother you. Policies change over time, though, if you have live long enough, you would notice that they tend to be cyclical and circular, just like the prices of property.

All in, I am glad to be back in Singapore, although still I hate the weather. Australian 'winter' is so much more cool, literally.

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