Reccently, I was asked by Principal, Mr Low to take a few pictures of the Wushu boys training at the new Flexi-Amphitheatre.
But just take photos, quite boring lah. So I thought to myself, wouldn't it be cool if instead of still pictures of the boys posing on the amphitheatre; it might be cool to do a fight MTV from the amphitheatre allthe way down to each of the Flexi rooms. Crazy idea, right? Here the team puts together segments of their competition set sparring routine with Jay Chou's 《霍元甲》 to come up with our exciting fight video making full use of the new FLEXI classroom environment in Victoria School.Check it out!
In line with the spirit of innovation, we extrapolated segments of their routine and tried to play around with various objects in the Flexi classroom environment.
I know some of the effects are abit low-tech lah but hello, it's only a $250 video camera- so don't expect Transformers! But because Victorians are something more, we may be low-tech but we strive to be hi-concept, right :)
Nil Sine Labore
(PS: In my bid to fulfil National Education criteria and promote multi-culturalism, yadda-yadda-yadda, you can find the Chinese Subtitled on on the VS Wushu Blog Also, because my own Sifu would be complaining "Eh, how come your wushu video all English word, no chinese one for me meh?" Here's one for you, Sifu)
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Reccently, I was asked by Principal, Mr Low to take a few pictures of the Wushu boys training at the new Flexi-Amphitheatre.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Fri 29th Jun, Victoria School had it's first open-air movie screening in the newly completed Flexi-Amphitheatre. The amphitheatre had been a part of the new schools facilities since 2003 when we first moved to Siglap Link but was never used because it was exposed to the sun during the day and there were no lighting fixtures for the night.
With funding from MOE's FLEXSI program, we were able to construct a synthetic awning and refurbish this wonderful open-air space for a whole variety of uses. Friday's movie screening was part of the Family Film Festival to promote family cohesiveness and we screened 'Singapore Dreaming'( 美满人生 )
This film "is a story about a family with big dreams, living on a small island... Singapore Dreaming” is a poignant, yet darkly humorous story about a typical Singaporean family coming to grips with their aspirations. It weaves a layered and moving tale about a family dealing with loss, ambition and the search for what really matters in life."
(Click here to link to official film site)
Staff, students, and family members trooped down to enjoy a good old-fashioned open-air movie- A good reminder of days gone by in the Kampungs with open-air movie screenings or the good-ole Jurong Drive-in.
Of course, no good movies experience would be complete without popcorn, drinks and candy floss. And as usual we have the fantastic, tireless, gang of PSG members (led by our one and only Margaret Goh) who provided us with lots of goodies.
With the wonderful response from staff, parents and students, I'm sure that the new amphitheatre will see a whole myriad range of new activities from now on.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Here we see members of our Math's Department in serious discussion (except maybe Mdm Ernie who is busy posing for the camera, heh heh..)
Big Boss, Alvin Lim was leading his gang on to develop a lesson on graphical presentation of figures. Students were asked to convert textual information of Premier League soccer teams into graphical form.
What is the whole purpose of this?
Well, on Fri 22nd Jun, VS staff attended a workshop on Socratic Questioning conducted by Republic Polytechnic's Centre for Educational Development.
Basically, Socratic Questioning has 6 broad categories of questions:
1)Questions of Clarification
2)Questions of Assumptions
3)Questions that probe Reasons and Evidence
4)Questions about Viewpoints or Perspectives
5)Questions that probe Implications and Consequences
6)Questions about questions
For more info on Socratic Questioning, click here to access Wikipedia's site for a brief account.
Here we see the VS PE Dept in an animated discussion showing how we can integrate the Socratic Questioning method with our Games Concept Approach in delivering a soccer lesson focusing on passing and receiving.
Proving once and for all that conceptualising and delivering a PE lesson isn't just about rolling a ball out for the boys to play, and that yes, curriculum planning for PE is just as rigourous as any other subject- more so when we use knowledge inquiry methods like Socratic Questioning.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Friday, June 8, 2007
In the blink of an eye, we have come to the last day of our school exchange. As we walked into the auditorium of SOAS school for the night of cultural performances, we were really made to feel like royalty as they showered us with rice and music.
The occasion was also graced by the presence of Director of Schools.
Today, our principal Mr Low was formally presented with the oil mural by Cikgu Mohamad which was given when we first visited the SOAS art gallery.
The Wushu boys kicked off the event with their performance first:
Thereafter, Mr Low proceeded to express his thanks to our hosts for our wonderful and meaningful time in Brunei
After that, the dinner started and we our meal accompanied by the soothing sounds of the school's gamelan orchestra.
After that, staff and students put up a musical piece serenading the water village of Kampung Air.
Our SOAS hosts never stopped amazing us with their rich heritage of cultural talents and students from the school's dance club presented a popular Kedayan dance 'Aduk-Aduk' using coconut shells.
After witnessing this myriad tapestry of artistic talents from SOAS, it was time for VS to return the favour and our Chinese Orchestra presented Singapore's multi-racial heritage by giving an Oriental twists to the classic piece 'Canon in D' by Pachabel.
SOAS followed this with their prize-winning Hadrah troupe we had seen practicing earlier this week. For the past 10 years, they have always been finalists in the National Competitions, winning it 3 times.
Our ever sporting and absolutely wonderful student buddies from SOAS were also not to be outdone and put up a show too for VS boys
There was even a special treat arranged by Cikgu Zarina for us! Having heard of my interest in Martial Arts, she actually managed to persuade one of the former Deputy Principals of SOAS to perform silat for us during the concert. It is definitely an honour for all of us to have been graced by his performance.
Well good things are meant to be shared and our hosts involved everyone in a rendition of the popular Malay Song 'Geylang Si Paku Geylang'
Their hospitality and enthusiasm were so infectious that they even managed to get BOTH principals to dance the Joget with them. (VS boys, this is a priceless moment- how often you get to see your principal dance?- Now you know why I like being BEHIND the camera, hee hee)
Even the boys couldn't get enough of it and started their own circle:
Soon, before we knew it, it was time to go but we made sure to take lots of photos- especially with the lovely teachers of SOAS!
Looks like the next time I'm in Brunei, I got my own retinue of body guards from SOAS.
Thank you SOAS- Principal, Deputy Principals, teachers and all students, we will remember you always and look forward to your arrival next year.
Yesterday we were strangers, today we are friends and when tomorrow comes, we will change the world together and make it a better place for you and me!
Nil Sine Labore, VS-SOAS boleh!
Bright and early we headed to Bukit Shahbandar for a nature trek and hill climb. Our liaisons told us that Bukit Tasek the other day was just a warm up for today and they were right! Public interest in the VS and SOAS Exchange with our boys being interviewed live on RTB's Morning Show. Cikgu Sirazuddium from SOAS is also a part-time DJ with Radio Pelangi (Cool, right?) also did a phone interview with me for their live radio telecast. Today, a reporter from the Brunei Times came all the way down to Shahbandar to catch us in action:
Once things were settled, we began with with the usual warm-up and then a briefing on the various routes we could take ranging from Route A(1.6km on flat land) to Route D a steep traverse over mountainous terrain taking about 1-2hrs!
For the VS and SOAS buddies, we were also required to do a scavenger hunt along the way and complete various tasks:
We started out with an easy trek into the forest and it was a cool respite from the sun.
However after the initial ease, it quickly got tough and we were faced with upslope inclines of more than 45 degress!
But my group solidered on and were rewarded with a great view from the top!
Going downhill wasn't that much easier and took a lot more care as a misplaced step could easily send all of us tumbling into each other.
As we took at well-deserved break before our further descent, we paused to take a group photo-
But as we started heading down again we saw some workers carrying construction materials uphill!
But as we progressed through the forest, we were also able to pause and take stock of the interesting flora there. Here we see some carnivorous pitcher plants:
After our long trek, we finally reached our last check point and had to complete a log maze while blindfolded:
At the end, I'm proud to say that my group *ahem*ahem* emerged SECOND! Yay!!!
As allstaff and students gathered together for a sumptuous breakfast, Mr Low gave an interesting demonstration on how to fold a shirt in 2 secs:
In the afternoon, we visit Kampung Ayer- an entire Kampung Village built on water. Don't worry parents, we made sure that all of the boys wore life jackets as you can see:
We took a tour around the river and saw a unqiue rock formation:
It's called the Boat that became a Rock because it looks like a capsized boat on its side.
We were also able to visit one of these Kampung Houses built on the river:
One of SOAS' teachers, Cikgu Md Zain's grandfather used to live in the Kampung and his grandfather was a renown brass smith who was comission to make various brass artefacts.:
Later, Cikgu Md Zain and his aunt put up a short impromtu demonstration of Gamelan music for us:
Baik la Cikgu!
One of the VS boys from Chinese Orchestra, Vincent Ooi, decided to give it a try too!
Steady lah, Vincent!
Tonight is our Cultural Performance night- will update later
Thursday, June 7, 2007
After all the good food and makan, it is finally time to do some hard exercise. Today, VS and SOAS boys went on a trek up Mount Tasek.
We were led by one of the Senior PE teachers from SOAS and began with warm-ups to get everyone up and pumping.
Both our principals, Pengiran Zahari and Mr Low were rearing to go! (But we soon lost sight of them somewhere after the first slope.. hee hee) Going upslope was tough and as we struggled up panting, we saw the senior PE teacher who led the warm-up sprinting upslope to reach the vantage point ahead of us. No videos of his agile feats as I was busy trying to keep pace with the rest of the,.
At the top, we were treated to a nice view of the surrounding area before heading downslope towards a natural waterfall. Going downslope proved to be as much a challenge as you can see:
But when we reached the waterfall, it was all worth it!
Being such a picturesque location, I made sure I took some 'emo' shots for the Wushu boys.
After a good rest, we headed back to SOAS for the formal presentaion of the boys Ecological Field Study of Tongkat Ali.
There were a total of 4 groups and each group was given 10min to present, followed by a Q&A session.
The delegation from VS was very impressed with the rigour and thoroughness with which the organising teachers planned this field trip- it wasn't just a 'for show' activity but one that really with very clearly defined learning outcomes for the boys. There were 4 groups that presented Ixora, Karamunting, Kuduk-Kuduk and Simpur- Their projects can be found at the following hyperlinks
In the afternoon , we toured the Malay Technological Museum which showcased traditional Malay indigenous crafts, skills and culture.
At the lobby, were interesting logic puzzles made of rattan:
There were various dioramas showcasing traditional malay arts and crafts- such as silver-smithing, sago tapping, etc.
Next we visited the Brunei Museum, which had an entire section on Islamic Art that was donated from the Sultan's own person collection:
Being a martial arts enthusiast, this collection of swords captivated me. Mind you, these are not decorative blades but real, 'live' historical swords and the etching and inscriptions on them were simply breath-taking.
As we toured the rest of the museum, we found yet another interesting fact between SOAS College and Victoria School. I've mentioned many similiarities between both our schools in the past posts and also that the Sultan has studied at SOAS- but I bet that few people know that he studied in Victoria as well!
Well okay, maybe that's stretching it a bit as Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur is totally unrelated to Victoria School in Singapore but it certainly is a nice and pleasant coincidence to have both SOAS and VS tied to each other (and to royalty!) even though it's just a naming coincidence :)
The boys enjoyed themselves touring the museum, but being boys, tend to look for fun whenever we can find it:
One display that definitely tickled the boys was the one showing traditional customs and rites of passage:
They were all so curious about circumcision and its process. Well, sinced I've learnt Traditional Chinese Medicine as part of my training in Wushu, I've got a pretty good knowledge of how to handle sharp objects like scapels and needles. So seeing their great interest in the subject of circumcision, I've kindly volunteered my medical and martial experience to any student wishing to experience it.
For those wishing for 'surgery' Doctor Siow will be in tonight. (muahhahaha....)
Don't worry, all the SOAS boys who've been through it say it's like an ant prick.
So who wants to be first? I promise it won't hurt.....much heh heh.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
We returned to SOAS bright and early as usual today for a day of new cultural experiences and games.
First off, we were introduced to to Jawi Calligraphy by Dr Abu El-Bashar. Jawi is the arabic script and has been used long since before the Roman alphabet.
Never having had good handwriting since my student days, I was quite intrigued by this lesson. Apparently, the Jawi script is a phonetic one as well and it is possible to write English using the corresponding phonetic alphabet in Jawi. Having learnt to write Chinese, most of us did not have a problem with the individual strokes but the trick was that the directions-i.e. origin and ending points of the strokes for individual letters often began from right to left, rather than left to right as we are used to writing in Chinese. Check out this next clip with Cikgu Norfustazah Norheny helping me with my writing and you'll see what I mean:
For some reason, I felt like a small boy back in school again :P At the end, all members of the VS delegation were presented with a plaque with our names written in Jawi!
After our calligraphy lesson, we saw that there was a buffet laid out for us in the back of the hall. Apparently, members of the staff had taken it upon themselves to cook a traditional Brunien banquet for us featuring the best local and traditional dishes. Check out the sumptous spread!
A particularly interesting dish was Ambuyan. Made from rumbia tree, it was a gooey paste that you twirled on your chopstick and ate with a dipping sauce- kinda reminded me of 'Muay Chee' we have in Singapore.
It was a flashback to the good old Kampung days as teachers, students from VS and SOAS, sat down together to eat and partake in a community meal:
I'm sure many of the older generation in Singapore will see good memories of days gone in pre-modern Singapore when the kampungs still existed. And regardless of race, language or religion, everybody in the kampung knew everybody and festive celebrations like weddings were always like this. Somehow the experience of sitting down on the floor and sharing a meal in a circle allows us all to mingle together as one and draws everyone in closer at a more intimate level than a formal banquet setting seated at a round tabled. Truly, Bruneiens are a people who are rooted in strong belief of community ties.
After that staggering feast, we had a games exchange with the students. Attempting to play with full stomachs meant that our boys were not in top form (well, I might just be making excuses- sorry lah) But after a slow start, the Futsal guys began getting into the groove of things:
Right next to them, some of our boys were engaged in basketball with members of the school team.
It wasn't long before Principal, Mr Low decided to join in the fun. Having come from an all-boys school himself, Mr Low showed that his skills on the court are still quite sharp!
We finally ended the day at the Jerudong Theme Park- although it's the biggest theme park in South East Asia but only a few rides were open. Although the boys were only able to go on the Log Flume and Bumper Cars, we can see that they did indeed enjoy themselves.
Yesterday on Tue 5th June, Victoria School boys had the priviledge and honour of appearing on the Brunei Morning Show 'live'!
2 Students from Victoria School: Wayne Kang, Captain of the Wushu Team and Ser Yang Student Conductor from Chinese Orchestra. From SOAS we had Zasmi Kim Mohd Azmi.
Wayne and Ser Yang were given the chance to perform traditional Chinese Martial Arts and Chinese Orchestral Music 'live' for the Brunien TV program.
It was definitely an honour for all students to have this moment on National Television!
Once again, the hospitability and generousity of our hosts, continues to surprise and inspire us towards deepening and strengthening our mutual ties.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
We began the day bright and early with our formal visit to Maktab Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien (SOAS), our hosting school in Brunei.
It was a grand and heartwarming event as we walked through the walkways of the school- members of all the various uniform groups had turned out in formal uniform to welcome us.
I guess for a moment, Mr Low, our principal might have felt like the President during National Day Parade :P
Well, in Singapore when we welcome guests, we often have our Chinese Lion Dance. Here the Kompang Ensemble was ready to herald our entry into the school hall
Like VS, SOAS is an all boys school with a proud tradition of 131 years and we can proudly say that 3 of our 6 Singaporean presidents studied in Victoria School (including our current president, MR S R Nathan). SOAS also shares a distinguished history with members of the royal family being students there. The current Sultan, His Majesty Haji Hassanal Bolkiah and his younger brother,HRH Duli Pengiran Perdana Wazir were students there in 1964. In 1968, his Majesty's 2 other brothers-HRH Prince Haji Sufri and Prince Haji Jefri also attended the school. Although we are different in many ways, Victorians and SOAS students alike profess a great passion for their schools. Here we see the boys, singing their school song- not so different from us back in Singapore, right?
Principal of SOAS, Pg Haji Zahari bin Pg Hj Ahmad began by welcoming the VS delegation
Victoria School's Principal, Mr Low Eng Teong, gave our return address:
Vincent Ooi, our Sec 3 studen from the Chinese Orchestra also gave his note of thanks and gratitude to our hosts and buddies
After the exchange of gifts and mementos, we took a tour around the school and visited their heritage centre.
At the heritage centre, we saw school uniforms from SOAS' past and guess what? Well, see the clip:
Looks like here's one more thing we have in common- the famous Khaki shorts!
We then took turns to sign the guest book and put the pioneer visit of VS to SOAS in the annals of history
Having heard that our Principal, Mr Low was a former Art Teacher and Senior Curriculum Specialist in CPDD-MOE, a special visit was arranged to the school art gallery:
The new bonds of friendship between VS and SOAS were cemented further by the gift of a stunning oil canvass painted by their very own art teacher, Cikgu Haji Mohamad. This peice of work took over 3 days to complete and showed the strong passion that teachers in SOAS have of not only teacher their subject but actively practicing their artistic skills
Like VS, SOAS students are also actively involved in many levels of competition: sports, performance, clubs, etc. We had a chance to see their Hadrah team putting their finishing touches to their practice before representing their school
The Hadrah is recited verses set to drum beats from the traditional Malay percussion instruments- kind of like a Bruneian version of VS cheers :)
After this rousing performance, we had a chance to see the Pro-Vocational Class taught by Cikgu Sirazzuddin. The Pro-Vocational Class is catered to teaching basic fundamental social and life skills to students with mental disabilities. The students in the class had Down's Syndrome, mental retardation and other learning disabilities. But what struck me in our Bruneian counterparts was that, rather then streaming this students into an academic enclosure, they took the diffcult and ardous task of integrating them with the general student population.
By doing so, able students learn to sympathise with the plight of those less fortunate than themselves and not to take the blessings in life for granted; the Pro-Vocational students also begin to develop lifeskills that will help them cope better. You can see from their faces that they are happy in school- one of them spontaneously gave a greeting card he designed to Mr Low. I was humbled by this scene because here I saw the heart of true teaching and no matter how up to date we are in ICT and pedagogy, the ability to make students enjoy learning and to believe in themselves is the core essence of our profession. The happiness on the faces of these students cannot be faked and that is testament to the passion and drive of the teachers in the Pro-vocational Programme in SOAS- To Cikgu Sirazzuddin and the teachers of the Pro-vocational classes, I salute you!
In the late morning, Mr Imran and myself were priviledged to give a sharing to teachers and staff of SOAS on VS' Character Development Framework and our pedagogical approaches in Student Centred Learning.
Here we see the ever charismatic, Mr Imran captivating the audience with his charming wit and smile. :) (heh heh, abang advertisment for you ar)
In the afternoon, Principal Mr Low, gave a sharing to various school principals at Berakas Sixth Form Centre (their equivalent of a JC offering A Levels)
He gave an overview of our Philosophy of Creating Experience, Fostering Belief and Driving Actions.
Teachers were also given a charming souvenir from Mr Low's reccent trip to Vietnam- a small dragonfly. They were encouraged to figure out for themselves what was this dragonfly meant to be? a brooch, a book mark?- It wasn't long before some members of the audience figured it out :)
We ended the sharing session with exchange of gifts with Mrs Lim, the principal of PTE Berekas.
Special mention must go to our Traffic Police outriders, who once again cleared our way for us. It's the only time ever that I've been in a vehicle that has the priviledge to rightfully drive on the wrong side of the road.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Today, we woke up bright and early- and I mean, bright and early by 5.30am all of us were awake and heading down for breakfast at 6am. We were heading to Bukit Beruang to do an Ecological study on the density and distribution of Tongkat Ali int he Heath Forest there.
For those of you who haven't seen what Tongkat Ali is, here's a picture.
Tongkat Ali is used for its medicinal properties and seems to be the Malay cousin of ginseng. It has anti-malarial, anti-pyretic, anti-ulcer properties as well as its famous testosterone enhancing capabilities.
We started our day with the fabulous Bike Brothers: our 2 local traffic police escorts riding with us to ensure speedy and safe passage
When we arrived at Bukit Beruang, it was a strange site that greeted me- the forest floor was sand, as in fine, white beach sand. Heath forests are known as kerangas forest by the Iban to refer to sites where rice cannot be successfully cultivated due to the poor nutrient density of the soil. According to Wikipedia "Heath forest is a type of tropical moist forest found in areas with acidic, sandy soils that are extremely nutrient-poor. Notable examples are the Rio Negro campinarana of the Amazon Basin in South America, and the Sundaland heath forests (also known as Kerangas forests) of Borneo and neighboring islands."
In fact, the sand is actually high grade silica that can be used for glass and silicon making by the government has decided to preserve this ecological system.
Before we began our study, we were given a briefing by Miss Jenny, Biology teacher from SOAS
From the study materials given to us by Cikgu Jenny from SOAS, we learnt that "the Tongkat Ali plant is a small evergreen plant growing up to 15m tall with spirally arranged pinnate leaves of 20-40cm long with 13-41 leaflets. The flowers are dioecious, with male and female flowers on different trees. They are produced in large pinicles, each flower with 5-6 very small petals The fruit is green ripening to a dark red, 1-2cm long and 0.5-1.0cm broad"
Once the groups were briefed on their tasks, we headed into the forest. Now this is no 'kuching-kurat' forest that we see in Singapore, this is the real jungle,man! I made a cautious attempt to track one group down and see how they were getting on with their preparations with another teacher from SOAS, Cikgu Yusan:
First off, the groups would need to mark out a 10m by 10m grid and divide it into 4 quadrants. Students were given a GPS decie to identify the co-ordinates of the 4 corners of each quadrant (Yup, a GPS device-don't play play arh)
By counting the total number of plant individuals, they could then determine the plant density in their assigned quadrant:
Also the boys would be required to determine the light intensity in the forest using a photometer. Measurements were made at the undergrowth, forest gap and edges of the forest. Here we see Wee Bian from VS doing the measurements:
Soil pH was also measured- here we see Amirul from SOAS doing the measurements for his group.
When all their measurements are complete, the group plots their site graph and density diagram with compass and tape measure. They identify the number, location of Tongkat Ali in the various stages of growth (seedling, juvenile and adult stage)
Despite the hot temperature (34.7 degress celsius- in the shade!), the insects and working in the confines of the jungle, both the boys from VS and SOAS solidered on and took a well-deserved break by 1pm for lunch. Tomorrow, they will collate their results and do a presentation on Thu.
3 Cheers for all the boys and teachers for a great team effort today! VS boleh!, SOAS lagi boleh!
Sunday, June 3, 2007
It was an exciting Sunday afternoon as 10 VS students (from the Wushu team and the Chinese Orchestra) and staff from VS arrived at Brunei. The VS delegation was led by Principal, Mr Low Eng Teong. Accompanying him was Mr Muhd Imran (Physics) and me, Mr Randell Siow (PE). Upon arrival we were warmly greeted by PG. Zahari, Principal of SOAS (Sultan Omar Ali Saiffudin High School), Hajah Nur Amalina (Vice-Principal), Haji Roslan (Vice-Principal).
It was touching and heart-warming to see the buddies and various staff sacrificing their precious sunday to greet us at the airport. Although this is my first time to Brunei, I definitely felt very welcome.
As we made our way to our accomodations at the SEAMO VOCTECH (South East Asia Ministers of Education Organisation for Regional Centre for Vocational and Technical Education and Training), we had a really pleasant surprise- a traffic police escort!
How cool is that! :)
It's not every day that you get traffic police trying to stop traffic for YOU rather than trying to stop you for traffic :P
All of us were impressed and touched by this gesture as it showed us the intense and passionate hospitality that our hosts had prepared for us.
After checking in to SEAMO VOCTECH, we had a small briefing where staff and students introduced themselves:
Thanks to Cikgu Zarina and team who took good care of us and allowed us to settle in smoothly. It looks to be a most exciting trip for us!
After dinner, we were formally welcomed by the Principal, PG. Zahari.
Each of us were given souvenirs from SOAS and were briefed by various members of staff on the upcoming days' programme.
It certainly promises to be an enriching trip. Tomorrow, we are waking up bright and early to head to Bukit Beruang to study the density and distribution of Eurycoma Longifolia as part of the ecological field trip- What's Eurycoma Longifolia, you ask?
Well, it's better know to us guys as Tongkat ALi :)
Hee hee, interesting, right?