I’m still alive, if you were wondering. I guess I’ve been busy with other stuff and I haven’t actually been keeping up with the going-ons in Singapore.
There’s a website (which promptly got locked up) in which employers can complain about their maids. Often this will include putting up their photo and employment pass information, supposedly to blacklist the maids so that future employers can avoid them.
Now this is wrong in so many ways. Firstly, anyone can complain and put up stories about the maids and the maids have no avenue to respond, to tell their side of the story. Secondly, the maids are already in a position of very little power (a lot of them are exploited and abused, there are hardly any laws here that offer them protection and many of us treat them as less than human) and this is a gross abuse of our power over them. Thirdly, splashing their private information all over what was once a public website without their permission is as the newspaper article says a complete violation of their privacy.
But what pisses me off the most at the moment is the use of the inverted commas in the headlines. The article pretends to be an objective account of this situation but uses the inverted commas to make a commentary. And what a commentary – because they are (just) maids, splashing their private information all over the Internet is (a) not a violation of their privacy and (b) those who complain are clearly making a mountain out of a molehill.
Heard in my office over the past few weeks (somewhat paraphrased):
When you go to India, you have to suffer with the ah-neh smell.
I only want to take photos of pretty, skinny Chinese students (for a wall supposedly to showcase our students having fun in school).
The problem with the school is how it’s full of Malays. They cause most of the problems in school.
When people online talk about the discrimination they face in Singapore’s society? Here are the responses:
4. Oh look! It’s the Race Card + bonus bootstraps.
So I have a tumblr and here is me trying to use tumblrize.
Dear ST Online,
I pay good money to be able to access you online. I don’t grumble at the lack of proper links in your articles online. I don’t complain when you automatically bill me again to extend my subscription. I don’t make noise when you fail over and over again to send me whatever free gift you have promised me.
But that you are hoping to make money from ST online, would it hurt you so much to ensure that I can log in with minimum of fuss? Isn’t it annoying enough that I cannot keep myself logged in since I cannot use my ID on multiple computers at the same time? Now I am having constant timeouts when I log on. And it’s not one time or twice. Every single day I try to log in, I suffer from your incompetent website.
So thank you for charging me money for nothing.
For the best part of my working life, I’ve loved my job. I’ve enjoy being with the children, I’ve enjoyed planning lessons and carrying out and I’ve enjoyed belonging to the school and its community. But I think I’m slowly falling out of love with my job. I suppose one could call it a mid-life crisis (or quarter-life crisis, depending I guess on how long I live) but I’ve a lot more doubts about being a teacher than I did before. Perhaps I was less experienced then, more naive and full of self-belief. Nowadays, I find myself wondering if I am a good enough as a teacher and now that I hold a leadership position, I’m also fretting about being a good leader. The thing is people say I’m a more than decent teacher and while I don’t believe I’m completely awful as a teacher, I’ve always taken other people’s comments with a handful of salt. I have a nagging suspicion that people say that because I’m a nice and responsible person and not because of my spectacular classroom skills. Also, teaching is tiring and I’m tired of my whole life revolving around my job. It’s a little bit ridiculous that I work in the evenings and I work on weekends and when I’m not working, I’m either thinking about work or feeling guilty that I’m not working. There are so many things I cannot do because I teach and recently, I wonder if it is worth it. It doesn’t help that the higher you get on the career ladder, the more you realise that your philosophy of education doesn’t mesh with what is really happening and the thinking behind it.
I still like teaching and I still very strongly believe that teaching is an incredibly meaningful job. I still love the English language. I guess I’m tired and a little bit disillusioned, both with myself and the job. So I’m counting down to the December holidays and hoping that the break will do me good.
I am always somewhat wary when people say to me: “teaching is hard isn’t it?”
Obviously I am a paranoid, suspicious person because I immediately wonder if they are trying to lead me into a discussion of how, really, teaching isn’t all that bad (which unfortunately I have learnt is fairly common). But today, I discovered the correct answer to that statement is: “What isn’t hard nowadays?”
… when you enter a leadership course and you realize there are no Malays.
… when you enter another leadership course and you realize that 60% of the people are men in a job that is predominantly women.
Why do you need to write to the ST Forum just because you are unhappy with the examination dates? And really, the passive aggressiveness is annoying. Schools are only receptive to parents’ feedback when they bend over backwards to accommodate the parents’ request. If not, they’re being unreceptive. Unfortunately, your child is very unlikely to be the only student in the school and so we probably can’t ensure that school revolves around him/her. Sorry.
And maids. Stop acting like they are our property please.
So there’s this incident going around the parts of the Internet atheists hang out in. Here’s a summary and here’s some responses on the issue. Anyway, I don’t want to talk about how appropriate it was for someone to criticise the arguments of someone else during a keynote speech at a conference. I’m slightly more interested in the responses to Rebecca Watson’s anecdote about the man in the elevator. To sum up, at 4am, a man followed her into an elevator and invited her to his room for coffee because he found her interesting. She expressed that this was creepy behaviour and that she felt sexualised. In response, a whole bunch of people have said that she was making too much of the incident.
A lot of men don’t seem to see why this is creepy. Honestly, even though I live in relatively safe Singapore, I get slightly nervous when in the elevator late at night with a strange man. In fact, I’ve even shut elevator doors on men I see coming in the distance (something I don’t do in daylight). When I’m in the elevator with a male I don’t know, I try to stand near the buttons. Basically, I know that as a female, there is always the chance that I could be attacked and I need to be vigilant. And so if some random guy comes into the elevator with me and starts to talk to me, I am definitely going to freak out. And really, if you think that, as a male, you are being unfairly discriminated against, that’s too bad. I’m not going to apologise for this, not when victims of sexual assault are often the ones being investigated instead of their attackers. As men, you have a whole lot more power in society. People tend to believe you more. People don’t judge you on your appearance. People will even come to your defence saying that the victim asked to be assaulted because her skirt was short. In such a reality, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for females to assume that men who approach you in elevators for coffee at 4am are creeps.