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    Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review


    OMG! OMG! OMG! It’s 2am in the morning and we just got back from Cinestar Metropolis. I am dead tired but I just have to write this review now. OMG! Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (POC5): Dead Men Tell No Tales is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!!!

    It is our last movie before the start of Ramadhan and I am so happy that we were able to catch it with the Winkler Boys! It was a late night sneak preview but it was such a great movie that I was enthralled the entire show.

    We have been sooo looking forward to this for a while now. It has been sometime since the last Pirates movie and frankly ‘On Stranger Tides’ was truly a let down. It was also nice to see Johnny Depp back on the screens especially during such a tough period in his life.

    Everything that you loved about the first movie is back! Reminiscent of the ride that I took at Disneyland when I was 11 years of age. It has crazy action scenes, superb special effects, scary enemies and a burgeoning new love story!

    Nur was simply excited and gushed when she saw Orlando Bloom back on the big screen. I have to say that all have aged quite considerably.  Quite interestingly, the movie is named Salazar’s Revenge here in Germany.

    Spoiler Alert!!! Parts of the movie shall be discussed from here onwards. Stop reading if you wish to be surprised in the cinema. Overall, a MUST WATCH MOVIE! And PLEASE stay behind for the POST CREDIT SCENE!

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    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.



    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.


    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.



    My Teacher: Ustaz Zhulkeflee bin Haji Ismail


    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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    Frankfurt Food Haunt: Guter Bulle

    I have always been a burger fan. Not the McDonald’s ones but rather fresh minced meat sauteed with herbs and spices. The good wholesome burger that is nutritious and vital for life.

    Honestly, my love for gourmet burgers sparked while living in Marrakech. Nurul and I chanced upon a tiny shop called KechBurger (can’t believe I didn’t blog about it!) The faire of New York was infused into the shop and my weekly weekend burger meals rejuvenated me for the next working week.

    I missed having those kind of burgers. And living in Frankfurt means our Halal options are pretty limited. Nurul has been making homemade burgers but I do not want to impose a weekly need on her.


    So when we found out about Guter Bulle, we became ecstatic. Cause after awhile, kebabs just doesn’t cut it. Nur and I were on our way back from gym (yes, we are gym-people now) when we saw a newly-opened burger joint. The place was packed and there were a few hijab-wearing women dining there as well. We have seen Guter Bulle ads on Facebook but have always assumed it to be non-Halal.

    Nur contacted Guter Bulle on Facebook and asked if they served Halal meat and if their food are Halal. The people of Guter Bulle were pretty fast with their reply. And their reply were simple – ist alles Halal.

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