Attending Palm View Primary School open house

My wife and I took leave to attend the Palm View Primary School open house. It is one of the few new schools in Seng Kang. Even though our eldest child will only enter K1 next year, as typical kiasu parents, it is never too early to check out schools.

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The principal of Palm View Primary School is Mr Clifford Chua, who was principal of Kuo Chuan Primary School for 6 years. According to my friends who were teachers, generally, good principals were tasked to start new schools.

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Principal of Palm View Primary School addressing parents of perspective students.

Other than the principal talk at the hall, the open house was organised as show cases of lessons held in various venues in the school.

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Dance class

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Singing performance

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PE lesson

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Story telling during English lesson

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Chinese lesson

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Messy outdoor art lesson that saw kids enjoying themselves while parents watch in shock.

Impression and feelings 

Even though the education minister tried to convince parents that every school is a good school, it is pretty clear to me most parents don’t buy that. Just look at the number of parents who continue to volunteer for ‘branded’ schools and the number of balloting necessary at the early phases of registration at these primary schools. If PSLE is the most important examination, then primary school registration is correspondingly the most important milestone when parents had to decide where to place their bet.

I can’t help but feel something is not right but not too sure what. Academic performance has become the ONLY success indicator in life and most parents seemed to dedicate all resources they could master to ensure their child succeed in this single measurement. Branded schools, enrichment classes before P1 and tuition lessons thereafter. When so much focus is placed on academic results, the resultant scenario becomes a stiff competition like 100m sprint in the Olympics, where the timing difference between the 1st and last is mere seconds. For students, score 90/100 would have been just the 50th percentile, and those in high percentiles did marginally better. What this meant is those who got below 90 effectively fail the subject and would be singled out for more attention to help them in their weaker subjects.

I’m not sure where we are going, but forcing everyone into the same filter and giving the impression those got sieve out risk becoming trash just don’t make sense to me.  Even the economy tried to diversify away from just one single sector, surely the society can diversify away from one single performance indicator.

Palawan beach outing

My kids love to play with the sand. And any parents with young children will know how to hate these fine grains. Among so many venues to play with sand, my favorite is still Palawan beach at Sentosa because it is the easiest for dirt containment and control. The washing point is nearby, the beach is not crowded, the 7-11 convenient store is around the corner and there is plenty of shade (provided we reach early). Hence armed with the Sentosa Islander card, Palawan beach has been one of our frequent family outing destination.

I’ll always bring some imaging device with me, be it Smartphone, compact cam or my DSLR, depending on the weather. Today, the weather was very good for photography (but definitely too hot to be enjoyable) and thus I brought my DSLR with me.

Sunny day make pictures nice but also tends to blow the highlights. I’ll prefer to compress the dynamic range using some tone-mapping but do take care not to make it too fake. Nonetheless, if I had never been to sentosa, I’ll have thought it really is a tropical paradise. Never believe in postcards.

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Image fun with old smartphone

I’m one of those dinosaurs who’s still using retarded phones and only recently ‘inherited’ an “ancient” smartphone (by current technology standard) from my wife who had upgraded hers. The old smartphone is Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. Sony had since bought over the joint venture from Ericsson and dropped the name from their Xperia smartphones.  I was pleasantly surprised it can still take some decent pictures.

The following are trial shots from my neighborhood with minor touch-ups using DxO Optics Pro 8 and noise reduced using NeatImage.

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And these were taken during a trip to Changi Village boardwalk.

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 I understand that smartphones usually possess image sensors even smaller than the tiny compact cameras. I believe there will be a day when larger sensor eventually make it into mainstream smartphones to bought their image quality. When that day comes, I’ll only be using two gadgets, DSLR for serious photography and smartphones for casual use, who will need compact cameras?

 

Layang Layang, Fun Flying @ Marina Barrage, 2013

Today’s weather was a far cry from just a few weeks ago when the dreadful haze shrouded Singapore. It nice and sunny, so time to take my family to the annual Layang Layang kite flying festival at Marina Barrage.

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Last year we had a great time, but this year, the wind was much weaker and the performers seemingly had some difficulty putting up the kites. Thus after some waiting, my kids grew impatient. And like any other parents who wanted to train their ‘delayed gratification’, we refused to go home straight away.

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There were a few stunt kite performances from local and foreign flyers as well, but no big kites were seen.

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So after waiting out and watching two complete stunt kite performances, we head home. Hopefully, next year’s event will be better.