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    Life

    An evening with locals

    Had an evening that touched my heart while I was leaving school after Football practice recently. 

    There were four 12-year-old Zeilsheim neighbourhood boys playing outside of the school gate while I was heading out. Two Germans, a Turkish boy, and an Eastern European. I smiled kindly at one of them when the German boy asked me something in Deutsche. Shrugging sheepishly, I replied ‘Nein Deutsche’ which literally means ‘No German’ (I know it’s bad and I have been berating myself to learn the language more!)

    That’s when they stringed a few words in English and asked ‘Teacher?’ I said yes! ‘Wow. You rich as Asian family! They drive BIG cars every morning!’ Hehe. I chuckled and replied ‘Students rich. Teacher not rich.’ Then the Turkish boy asked: ‘You have pool in school?’ I said ‘Yup!’ and showed them the pool through the gate. All of them gawked staring at the pool. 

    ‘It’s so hot. Nice if we can swim!’ They said. Unfortunately, beaches are found a few thousand kilometers way up North in Germany. As they hanged around dreaming of the pool, I took my leave. That’s when they shouted out ‘Thank you Teacher! Have a Good Day!’ I waved back saying ‘Gute Nacht’. 

    I wished I could have invited these boys out to use the pool but such is life and it is the same everywhere whether you’re German or Singaporean, you just can’t help but to look over the fence where the grass is always greener.

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    Thoughts

    Singapore’s Education System: Time for a Revamp?

    I was reading a Monocle article about the Swedish Education minister. His words struck a chord on me as he said that the role of a nation was not to save jobs but rather to save its workers. Industries will inevitably come and go but most importantly, its citizens have to be nimble, skillful and fluid enough to glide from one industry to the next.

    Automated Logistics

    It was an interesting take especially in the era of driverless cars that will potentially wipe out millions in logistics. Something like the movie Passengers. No more taxi drivers, truckers or pilots for that matter. An era of driverless planes, boats guiding the seas automatically around the world or trucks that do not take a restroom break. People in Singapore do not even realise that their North-East line is already fully automated with a train driver there only to serve as a precautionary measure.

    Too Old to learn?

    When I look in a Singaporean perspective, I realised that we are not malleable enough to shift between industries. The government is trying to alleviate that with Jobs Credit Scheme for retraining of workers. But is it too late to teach people new skills. It is like asking a differentiated photoreceptor eye cell to convert itself into an auditory ear cell. We may have the DNA to create everything, but our genes have been regulated and switched off.

    Thus, I realised that such a skill has to be imbued at a young age like an undifferentiated Stem Cell. Singapore’s education system needs a revamp. Specifically at Primary school level. My time teaching in a Secondary school has made me come to the opinion that students are already too ‘old’. We can teach them things while they are in lower Secondary but they are too focused and targeted in upper Secondary especially with the looming GCE ‘O’ levels.

    Why only English, Mother Tongue, Math & Science?

    Looking at shows like Masterchef Junior and even Baby Boss, children have an enormous unquantifiable capacity for learning. And yet, Primary schools in Singapore and fellow Singaporeans for that matter are too focused on only English, Mother Tongue, Math, and Science. Frankly, our children have the ability to learn three languages or even more. Why stop them there. The society and the economy have to move away from the perception that only Math and Science is King. Not everyone is supposed to be a Doctor, Lawyer, or Banker. You can be a Poet, a Pianist, a Sculptor or a Graphic Designer. Most of these sectors are dominated by foreign talent from models to Public Relations and even CEOs.

    Other Subjects to be Incorporated

    The German education system is unique as they have lessons in their curriculum system called Life Skills. Modules each term where students learn to ride a bike, swim, ice-skate, roller-blade, charity drive, camping and outdoor survival. Physical Education is not about running 1.6km but rather about learning sports and diet nutrition. In India, its students learn coding from the age of 8, practices the classical dances and has modules called entrepreneurship.

    We need to incorporate Design and Technology, Art, Music, Computing, Engineering, Food & Nutrition, Entrepreneurship, Life Skills, a third language like Spanish or French and Social Work modules from Primary School onwards.

    Scrapping of PSLE

    Something’s gotta go to incorporate all these lessons. This means that we have to forgo the PSLE. Students begin preparing for the PSLE from Primary 4 onwards. Some schools even call students back during June and November school holidays to start practising on worksheets. We are creating zombies of knowledge that do not know how to function as a normal adult, to feel for their fellow man and experience the colourful life.

    Overall

    Ultimately, the change has to come not only from the government but also from its people. Only then shall we have a workforce that is able to tide over any waves of future uncertainties.

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    Fashion

    Style Diary: Perfect for Transitional Weather

    albukharidcruz_nur_miza

    Two weeks back Miza had a flight to Frankfurt and I was so excited for a girls’ day out with her. This is something I miss terribly. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends here and there’s also Fairoz’s cousins. But they are Fairoz’s cousins and they are boys. They do not understand my needs. The need to have alone time with a girlfriend to just chat and gossip.

    I do not get much opportunity to just have a girls’ day out here and that to with someone who shares the same interests as me – coffee, cakes, beauty, fashion (modest fashion specifically), taking countless of OOTDs, and shopping! It has also been months since I last had a haircut or had my nails done. I know these things sound frivolous but these are some of the things I enjoy doing with my sisters and girlfriends.

    Seriously, who in Frankfurt knows who Vivy Yusof is or even heard of brands such as Duck Scarves, Tudung People, Sugarscarf, Fashionvalet and such. Hands up if you do! We can have coffee and cakes – I know a couple of good places here. 😉

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    Food

    Frankfurt Food Haunt: Moustache

    When it comes to food reviews, I usually let Fairoz blog about it while I edit his photos and article. He is the food connoisseur despite not being able to cook. Lol!

    But this time around, I am the ‘food critic’. I don’t have a choice cause Fairoz did not join me for a girls’ day out with Miza who was in town for the weekend. Meanwhile, Fai had his boys night with his cousins.

    So, when Miza told me that she had a flight to Frankfurt, of course I was extremely excited. I get excited when I am able to meet any Singaporean – family, friends, or acquaintances. Somehow they make me feel a little less homesick.

    Since Miza’s time in Frankfurt was pretty short. I had to think of places for us to hangout. I initially wanted to bring her to Guter Bulle, but Marriott is on the other end of the U4 line.

    Then I thought of Pandan, but why bring a Singaporean to a Malay restaurant? I know I miss Malay food very much but Miza can get it anytime she wants when she’s back in Singapore. Miza then suggested Thai Fun but I was a little sick of Thai Fun to be honest. So I turned to Google and found Moustache, a restaurant serving Halal Balkan food in Sachsenhausen.

    albukharidcruz_balkanfood1

    albukharidcruz_balkanfood2

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    Thoughts

    My Teacher: Ustaz Zhulkeflee bin Haji Ismail

    Ustaz

    I still remember when I first heard of Ustaz Zhulkeflee bin Haji Ismail. I was still a young 22 year old NTU undergraduate and was having a dinner and teh-tarik session with my group of friends at Jalan Masjid when I chanced upon my senior from NTU. I knew he lived at the West Side of Singapore thus I was shocked to see him around Jalan Masjid. ‘What are you doing in my neighbourhood bro? Hilang ker ni? Hehe.’ I remarked. My senior smiled and replied he was going for a class at Masjid Kassim done by an Ustaz Zhulkeflee. He even dragged me by my shoulder and asked me to come along so I asked him what the class was about? He said it was a Fardhu Ain class done in English and it actually challenges you to think about Islam. That truly intrigued me. An Ustaz that encourages you to be critical about Islam! It was especially new for religious studies back in the 2000’s. Unfortunately, I had to excuse myself. Looking back, I guess Allah was calling for me but I was not ready to receive such wisdom.

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