40 years of NS brotherhood

Our get-to-together event on Friday was featured in TODAY’s newspapers.

Still together after all these years.

Celebrating 40 years of NS brotherhood http://bit.ly/2x3VNkr

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40 years of Camaradarie celebrated

Back in 1977, forty-nine young officer cadets graduated from the Officer Cadet School as Second Lieutenants. We went through tough training and field exercises together as a fighting unit. Our bonds and camaraderie lasted through the test of time. We kept in touch by getting together over the years. Last night, we celebrated our 40th anniversary.

In this get-together, we also invited our instructors to the function. We had thirty-nine turning up at Casa Verde at the Singapore Botanic Garden. It was memorable night of laughter and happy chatting. Most of us are already 60 years old or older. We remembered some of the events that happened some 40 years back. It was surreal and I could visualise myself with this group of friends back in those days. It was that meaningful, this 40th Anniversary.

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You walk alone

When you came to this world, you were alone.
You depended on your parents and people around you.
They were the people who cleaned you, fed you, and protected you.
They were your caregivers.

They watched over you until you were independent and able to take care of yourself.
The day will come when you grow old.
With aging and ill-health, you then depend on others to look after you.
You move from caregiver role to being cared.

This is the circle of life.
You will need the goodwill of people around you to look after you.
Be kind to them when you are growing up.
Give before you can receive.

Show gratitude and remember how your parents cared for you.
When the time comes, take care of your parents.
This will require sacrifices on your part.
You owe it to them.

You walk alone at the end of your journey.
You came alone and you leave alone.
When you live morally and are kind, you have no fear walking alone.
Live with kindness, compassion and with generosity.

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I Remember – I was enrolled in English-Medium stream in primary school (1964)

My two older brothers went to Chinese schools where Chinese was the main medium of instructions. My sister after them chose English-medium stream and I followed in her footsteps. Back in early 1960s, my parents already knew how to hedge their bets. Two went to Chinese-medium stream and two went for English-medium stream.

In education, there were so many changes in policies throughout the years since Singapore’s independence. It was difficult to keep up with these changes. The most sweeping changes came during the time when Mr Goh Keng Swee was the Education Minister in the early 1980s. He had a team comprising 5-member task force to revamp Singapore education system.

In 1983, it was decided that there would be only one stream, the so called national stream, to take effect in 1987. With that, schools discontinued the Chinese-medium stream, Malay-medium stream and Tamil-medium stream. This was due to dwindling enrolment numbers for these streams. English Language was taught as the first language under this national stream and the mother tongues became the second language.

I was struggling to cope with two languages during my school days. I was not a language person and there were so many other subjects to master too. In the end, I was not good in both languages, not very good with English Language and just so so in Mandarin. You would not hear me speak Mandarin like the pure Chinese speakers. It would be the Singapore version with Chinese and English used together in the same sentence.

http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/straitstimes19831222-1.2.2 (copyright belongs to The Straits Times)

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“The Marseille Caper” by Peter Mayle – A Book Review

I have read all four Capers written by Peter Mayle. If you plan to read Peter Mayle’s novels on Capers, I recommend that you read them in sequence, ie The Vintage Caper, followed by The Marseille Caper, The Corsican Caper and the latest The Diamond Caper.

The main characters from the first novel moved on to the rest of Peter Mayle’s three other novels. Only the plots, the crimes and the villains were different. Newer characters are introduced in subsequent stories and readers are presumed to have known them in later novels.

The settings for these stories are in South of France, places of good food, wines and high lives.

In all the capers, Sam Levitt was enlisted to help in consulting assignments that ended with crimes and dirty tricks being deployed by the so called bad guys. The novels were light reading and uncomplicated. There were no twists or unexpected outcomes. These novels can be a companion while you are on a holiday.

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I Remember – Matriculation for Accountancy course in 1978-9

I was given a place to pursue Bachelor of Accountancy in the University of Singapore (SU) in 1978. At the end of three years, I was awarded a degree from the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The SU name was dropped since the government created a Joint Campus for Nanyang University (NU) and University of Singapore (SU). Name of Nanyang University disappeared too.  The Joint Campus was a merger of NU and SU for some undergraduate degree courses such as the Accountancy and Business Administration courses.

I studied at two campuses. First it was at Bukit Timah Campus. Mid-way through the course on 3 December 1979, we moved to Kent Ridge Campus. In July 1981, National University of Singapore (NUS) replaced the Joint Campus. So when we received our scrolls on Convocation Day, we graduated from NUS and we were the first batch to receive the degrees from NUS.

It was so confusing for us, moving from University of Singapore to Joint Campus and finally graduating from the National University of Singapore. My graduation scroll had no university crest/insignia on it. This was not even designed back then!

Talk about changes. These were changes in my undergraduate days.

Notes on Fees:
Tuition fee for Bachelor of Accountancy was $600 per year during my time.
Course is direct honours degree for three years.
Total tuition fees paid for the full course were $1,800.

Current Tuition fee for Singapore citizens is $9,350 per year.
Total fees = $28,050 for three years.
This is 15.5 times my fees paid in 1978/81.

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My Wish for Singapore

Regardless of race, language or religion,
I said this pledge when I was able to read and write.
My relationships with people are not defined by who they are.
We are just part of the human race.

What is important for me is whether we are considerate towards each other.
Do we think of others with each action we take?
Whenever I eat at a food court I push in the chair when I leave the table.
I clean up the table around me to leave it clean for the next user.

Are we patient with people around you?
Do we give them space?
Do we smile at people whom you meet often?
Are we friendly?

As the nation gets richer, we still feel we have not got enough.
Is wealth so important as to override relationships?
Do we see our aged parents often?
Is our mental well being relegated to second place?

My wish is for people to be more compassionate.
Can we do more for the less fortunate?
Give some of your time for them.
Can we be less litigious?

So as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.
With prosperity and progress are we truly happy?
We can work on this more.
Happy 52nd National Day!

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