Friday, December 31, 2010

An insight about education from "Monty"

Many of his peers did not like Bernard Montgomery and there are plenty of good reasons. In my understanding of "Monty" from various sources; I do find that he can be a pain in the ass most of the time. Let just say that in my list of great personalities, he rank near the bottom of the list. Nevertheless, in the biography of "Monty" on Wikipedia, I came across his view on education which seems to be intriguing. Therefore, I had taken the related passage in which he talked about his idea on the meaning of education that I find interesting:

"In 1953, the Hamilton Board of Education in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, wrote to Montgomery and asked permission to name a new school in the city's east end after him. Viscount Montgomery Elementary was billed as "the most modern school in North America" and the largest single-storey school in Hamilton, when the sod was turned on 14 March 1951. The school officially opened on 18 April 1953, with Montgomery in attendance among almost 10,000 well-wishers. At the opening, he gave the motto "Gardez Bien" from his own family's coat of arm. Montgomery referred to the school as his "beloved school" and visited on five separate occasions, the last being in 1960. On his last visit, he said to "his" students:

Let's make Viscount Montgomery School the best in Hamilton, the best in Ontario, the best in Canada. I don't associate myself with anything that is not good. It is up to you to see that everything about this school is good. It is up to the students to not only be their best in school but in their behavior outside of Viscount. Education is not just something that will help you pass your exams and get you a job, it is to develop your brain to teach you to marshal facts and do things."

Yes, the Field Marshall advocated that education is to develop our brain and to teach us to marshal facts and do things. I just like to rewrite his idea so that there are two marshall although they spell slightly different and means different thing!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The flower of the Japanese Thirty-second Army?

I was rereading a book I bought several years before. It was a chapter entitled: The Greatest Sea-air battle in History-Okinawa from the book by Hanson W. Baldwin (Battles Lost & Won: great campaign of world war II). Winston Churchill described it as one of "the most intense and famous of military history". Vast numbers of casualties were suffered on the Allied (mostly US but some British) and the Japs and it was a battle where swarms of "kamikazes" attacks were unleashed against the Allied forces. The USS Intrepid aircraft carrier which I visited in New York (It was turned into a museum) participated in this battle. What caught my eyes was this passage:

"By the end of May (1945) the flower of the Japanese Thirty-second Army, 50,000 men, lies dead in the rubble of shell-pocked debris of their fortifications..."

While history noted that majority of Japanese soldiers of that era were more often than not unnecessarily cruel and sadistic, yet the term flower of the Army was taken to meant that they were well regarded seasoned troops who were ready to fight to the bitter end. Humanity cries for the reluctant soldiers who went off to the battlefields in order to defend lives and liberty but she shed no tears for those soldiers that marched off to wars of aggression in which they committed horrific atrocities and mass murders. So while we understand what the author meant in describing the veteran Japanese troops as the flower of the Thirty-second Army; perhaps it may well be more appropriate to term them as weed instead...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An astonishing military genius and his little known story

The lumbering yet versatile excavator working at the market.

This morning, I went to the market and saw an excavator at work; it was interesting to see how nimble the huge vehicle became under the control of the expert driver. Years before, I had witnessed at first hand how such excavators were used to tear down The Grand Theater. I imagine such lumbering vehicles armed with guns creating havoc in town such as tanks did during wars; it reminded me of a story I read on the internet a few days before about an extraordinary British officer by the name of Percy Hobart who was instrumental in the development of tank warfare during WWII despite huge oppositions against him within the British Army.

Percy Hobart not only helped to forge a lackluster corp he was send to (Middle East) into a terrific sword for General Wavell to crush the numerically superior Italy Army in North Africa but he later became an inventor and developer of many special-purpose tanks known as "funnies" that was crucial during operation Overlord, or the Normandy landing. His story was surprising as it was strange to see such a genius being ostracize by his own "comrades"; fortunately, his deplorable situation was rectified when a newspaper article written by his mentor was able to catch the attention of the Prime Minister-Churchill who then plucked him from obscurity and made use of his genius to help fight Germany whose mastery of the uses of tanks in war was in large part indebted to his theories on the use of tanks in warfare. The story by Trevor J. Constable entitled:They Called Him 'Hobo' (The little known story of Percy Hobart) at The Institute for Historical Review

Monday, December 27, 2010

Caitlyn won the "Consistent Effort" in her school!

I am very pleased to announced that Caitlyn was presented with the "Consistent Effort" award for her Year 4 class during the Speech Day on 8 Dec, which celebrated the end of the academic year. She walked up to the stage to receive her award, which included a book; and my goodness! How did the teachers know the topic she is currently crazy about! The outstanding student award in her co-ed class was won by a Vietnamese girl. An Indonesian Chinese girl won another award.

The following is a testimony to Caitlyn's prayer and the surprising result as related by her dad:
"Caitlyn received an unusual answer to her prayers for a dog. She has been imploring us to get her one as a Christmas present. A month ago, a colleague of Yoke Wan, who's single, told YW she'll be going to Spore for a 5-week holiday and need to arrange for someone to care for her dog, a Jack Russell. YW readily volunteered.
Caitlyn was thrilled but was disappointed that she'll only have it for 5 weeks. She's now getting more precise with her prayer for a "permanent" dog of her own.The dog, "Monty", arrived over a week ago and Caitlyn has been having fun with it!)

This reminded me of a story as to the way we should pose question or seek request:
A man from out of town saw an elderly guy sitting down and reading a newspaper; besides him was a dog. The man tries to be friendly with the dog but decided to question the elderly guy beforehand. 
Man :           "Does your dog bite?"
Elderly man: "Nope."
So the man pat the head of the dog and was rewarded with a bite at his hand.
Man :           "Ouch! I thought you said your dog wouldn't bite!"
Elderly man: "This wasn't my dog."

Congratulations again to Caitlyn for winning the "Consistent Effort".
Pssst... Caitlyn, maybe the book of Dogs is part of the answer to your prayer in order to keep you company after "Monty" 5 weeks vacation with you. Perhaps mummy can let you can take it to bed and read it for a while until you get sleepy and then maybe you will have a sweet dream of playing with a dog or dogs!


Saturday, December 25, 2010


    The Good Earth

   "Duel" of  the logan trees; see which will bear fruits first.

    Under the great longan tree; the sapling will burst forth.

    Bountiful harvest of large, ripe, succulent longans.

    Father enjoying a meal of  longans.

    Ye shall judge a tree by the fruits it bear.

Yesterday was Christmas day and I planted a little logan tree that I bought over a week before; I decided to wait until Christmas tree so that it will become my Christmas tree. The elderly lady that sold it from a van at the wet market pitched that a lady customer who bought the same specie came back to her after several months and gave her feedback that it was already flowering! Yes, its a grafted longan tree that is supposed to flower and bear fruits quickly, even when the plant is still rather small. My brother-in-law, Jeff also told me during a visit about two weeks ago that his neighbor also planted a grafted longan tree that is already bearing fruits even while the tree is still rather small; that inspired me to pick up the longan tree from the vendor.

In the meantime, father had to make do with Thailand longan which is almost the same as the longans from Putian.Father enjoyed the longans as they are not only very sweet and juicy but also invoke the days of his youth in China when he would climb a longan tree and make a lunch of the ripe fruits. I read on a website that longan is supposed to be the King of fruit in China. Hopefully, the little longan tree will prove itself worthy of my expectation and go forth and multiply, bearing large and succulent fruits!

Friday, December 24, 2010

China Daily East Coast Edition coverage of PMR exam result (24-12-2010)

The China Daily newspaper had extensive coverage of the release of PMR results with some write ups and also photos. Jing Hung and Jia Yin's secondary school had a total of 34 top scorers that managed to clinch straight As in eight subjects; over a thousand scored 8As in the state of Pahang whereas over 30,000 managed to do so in the whole country out of over 200,000 participants. The names of the top 34 scholars was listed in the newspaper coverage.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

PMR (Form 3) exam result out today : 23-12-2010

Just would like to inform all that Jia Yin and Jing Hung received their exam results this morning and they both scored straight As! Actually, Jia Yin had her exam papers vetted by her tutors and she was supposed to get 7 As and 1 B; so this was good news to her. It means that she will get cash rewards from two bank accounts that have incentives for student savers that scored straight As. In fact, one of the saving account is with EON bank which offers this scheme for the very last time until this year.

By the way, Jia Yin wrote on her whiteboard her goal of getting 8As earlier in the year and she did it, bravo!