Meritocracy – Thank your Lucky Stars

Luck, cannot be scientifically quantified and is beyond our sphere of control. We are afraid of it, deny its existence, and downplay the importance of its influence to our lives. As the Mule ages, his intelligence shrank, but at the same time he gained much wisdom, that is, blame everything to luck.

Need proofs? How do you explain a person who just struck the first prize in lottery? No, it was his systematic approach, coupled with years of analysis of the winning numbers, and betting on the most efficient combinations of the numbers.

If there is no luck involved, action A will always have consequence B, a perfect Newtonian equation. Why is it sometimes you speed on the highway and get a speeding ticket, and sometimes not? No, it is because I have studied over the years the pattern of traffic police patrol…

Think you got the idea.

When critical junctures of our life is determined by one examination, pray that bad luck doesn’t strike you on that day or weeks before that event. This will affect your next school, next path, and probably the rest of your life. You might still be successful in life, but some goals might be forever beyond your reach.

By our human nature, we tend to take more credit for success, and tried our best to shred our responsibilities for failure. So when reading biographies and listen to success stories, always read with a little pinch of salt. Bill Gates will never say, our lucky stars shone brightly on that fateful day when Allen and me bummed into a software company executive who didn’t know what to do with their operating system software!

For the rest of us, who does not have much luck, pray that the company that you are working now does not relocate or close down…

One final message to the elites a highly successful person, don’t congratulate yourself too much, besides thanking your fortune and the current system, don’t forget to thank your lucky stars, because sometimes you are just at the right place at the right time, and nothing bad had happened to screw your examinations.

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Meritocracy – Thank the System

Will they be able to make a career out of violin?

The mold is too small for me!

It probably is too early to tell, but the Mule thought Mathematics might not be the Chieftain’s strength. The Chieftain’s has demonstrated his mathematics skills here and here.

Furthermore, out of the 3 core subjects, the Chieftain seems to have “problems” only in mathematics, that is, he made more mistakes in his math homework than his mother tongue and English. The Chieftain is more of a right brainer– he is a lefty and responded very well to music since baby. He enjoys pure music, like music from John Williams, David Garrette, and to a certain extend, Joshua Bell. He would occasionally switch the radio channel to classical music in the car too.

As much as the Mule would love to support and develop the Chieftain’s interest, there is this lingering fear that, he might be a reject in the current education system where the emphasis is on science and mathematics even though we often have the words “holistic approach” being thrown to us left, right, and center. His merit will be determined by his capability in science and mathematics, through examinations.

There are a few things the Mule can do to boost the Chieftain’s chances in the current system:

  1. Forcibly push the Chieftain through the mold, give up on his interest, and put him through endless tuition as much as the Mule can afford.
  2. Push him all the way in his violin, while maintaining a tuition for his academic subjects, and hopefully his skill is good enough to be a concertmaster for a back door entrance to a good secondary school.
  3. Cleverly switch him to another instrument where the road is less congested, example, due to his size, he might be suitable for a double bass, and be courted by schools that demand his skill in their String Ensemble or Orchestra.
  4. The Mule could join the his Alma Mater’s Alumni, and couple with points 2 & 3 above, should help to boost the Chieftain’s chance.

If you are born with a knack for mathematics and science, things will be a lot different. It all comes naturally to you and it is something that you can do well and score well, you are made for the system. If your strength and interest is something else, bad luck, put in a little more work, because your merit is judged on skills that you despise. Console yourself that if you are able to move through the system, you will emerge stronger– you can be a doctor and a violinist at the same time!

Finally, another message to the elites a highly successful person, don’t congratulate yourself too much, besides thanking your fortune, thank the current system, because you fit into the mold nicely or your parents are shrewd enough to maneuver around it.

 

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Meritocracy – Thank Your Fortune

Education is a hot topic recently again, the Mule dug into his old archive and found some articles that were not published, and here is one of the articles:

The Chieftain told his Mule about a pair of twin girls in his class. Apparently, they do not hand up their home assignments most of the time. The school has a diary system for the kids to jot down their homework, and parents can check what are the homework for the day, including reminders about tests and spelling.

So, for the kids not to attempt any homework at all, parents do hold a large part of the responsibility. There maybe numerous reasons for that, and that’s not the topic of discussion here. Though technically, the twins were given the same chance of success as other kids in the school, but in reality, they are already in a greatly disadvantaged position which is of no fault of them, and unfortunately, if there is no help in place, they will be penalized in future in the form of examinations (unless they are super genius).

The Mule has a good friend who is a teacher with a heart. He teaches the disadvantaged kids, and at one point of time, was with the Northlight School. During their usual night out, over a beer, he would tell the Mule stories of some of his students. There was this girl in his class who would absent from school frequently, the reason? Her mum had left the family and she has a bed ridden dad to take care of… A father of another kid would call the friend almost every month end, and hope he could understand that the kid wanted to go school, but they have run out of transportation money.

On the other hand, the Chieftain has a fair chance of success, though his mathematics is pretty weak, he is lucky in a sense that his Mule will put him to tuition if needed be. Other more well to do families, could on top of sending the kids to top tuition centers like Whitney Houston (sounded something like that), enroll them to other enrichment classes that will “spur their interest and open up their mind through active engagement”.

Though education is virtually free as far as basic is concerned, but as in the case of ancient China, the kids born to well to do family even if he/she is of mediocre caliber, will have a far better chance of success in life.

Finally, a message to the elites a highly successful person, don’t congratulate yourself too much, part of your success is owed to the family you are born into. Thank your parents for not depleting the family fortune, thank them for the ability to guide you, or at least have a thick wallet to hire external tutors to help you.

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2 Points concession of Higher Mother Tongue Students Unfair!

Readers of the Today papers wrote to the newspapers complaining of the unfair educational system these 2 days, targeting the mother tongue (again!) There was an article yesterday complaining that it is unfair to give priority admission to students who took high mother tongue in secondary schools, aka, SAP students. The person who wrote in must be a foreign talent.

I guess it is a pain for foreign kids, who spoke another mother tongue, to forcibly adopt another language as their mother tongue in school. The Mule felt the author’s pain, but isn’t this the fact of life? Like, if the author were to work in Germany, can he complain that it is unfair for the education system to penalize his kids based on proficiency of German language? Hmmm…

On another article, this time probably a local, complained that it is unfair that her kid couldn’t go into his/her choice of courses due to him/ her performing poorly in mother tongue. I guess, it probably has to do with his/ her overall performance. Let’s be honest, can we? There are 8 subjects in secondary school, one subject wouldn’t hurt the overall result that bad.

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Home Made Star Wars Movie

The Chieftain has moved from Transformers to Star Wars. His interest in the series was seeded when he first heard the theme songs end of last year, and he especially likes the Dark Side due to the cool Darth Vader’s theme, Imperial March. The Chieftain has now a collection of Lego Star Wars toys, and his latest set is the First Order Transporter from the Force Awakens. The Mule spent his Christmas helping his highness on fixing the set as well as filming their first stop motion film using the Lego toys.

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Inconsiderate Behavior

The Chieftain and the mum went up to deliver food to a family. While waiting in the car, the Mule caught this on his phone.


 

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One Day More

One day more is an epic song in Les Miserables. The composer cleverly put all the main characters together singing their aspirations/ anxieties of another day in various tunes, blending all into one grand piece of choral music.

In the song, Valjean thought his cover was blown, lamenting on leading the life of a fugitive again; while the love birds, Cosette and Marius, complained were sad that they could spend only one more day with each other. At the other end, the students were anticipating the coming fight, so on and on.

The Mule, poisoned by too much LesMis, thought of this song when he read about a protest on the newspapers– one protest, many different aspirations and agendas.

Let’s listen to this beautiful song.

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Meeting of the Chiefs

Meeting of the two Chieftains

Meeting of the two Chiefs

The Chieftain was shy when he first met his cousin who was visiting from Seattle. The awkwardness went away on the second day when both of them started torturing/ feeding the dog, and they played together for the next few days like close cousins should be.

The Mule knew the Chieftain adores the little cousin though he didn’t say out loud, from his insistence in going along with his Mule to send the cousin’s family home every night, and kept asking his Mule when is she leaving.

The Chieftain’s face said it all when the villagers were at the airport to send off the Chieftess to her next location, Kuala Lumpur. Well, we will meet the Chieftess again, and perhaps in Seattle next.

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Les Bonheur

Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert

Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert

Indeed, the Chieftain loves the Les Miserables CD so much that he kept asking the Mule when are they coming to Singapore? The Mule decided to search for the musical CD– found the 10th Anniversary Concert on ebay, and had it shipped from Australia.

The Chieftain is so happy and merrily humming along with the songs. He has forgotten about the movie soundtrack totally, at his young age, will he be able to tell the differences? One probably reason that the Chieftain prefers this rendition is, it is a dual CD compilation with a lot more songs, thus telling the story more fully as a result. The other reason? It has ‘Do you hear the people sing’…

Does the performance by the Dream Cast make a difference to the Chieftain?

As for the Mule, time to sell the old CD on ebay…

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Imperial March

 

The Imperial March

The Imperial March

Party Spoiler

Gate crash…

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