Of Old Friends and Farewells

Now I don't know about half the rest of you but I get mafia school. On the exterior, it may seem like a calm country school (when I first came I thought my kids were angels) but they, ESPECIALLY the ichi-nenseis are yakuzas-in training. My kids shoplift, shout profanities , fight & vandalise (the part-time English teacher's car got scratched) etc. Teachers get patrolling duties in the city after school hours to make sure kids dun get up to no good - and not a week goes by without some sort of emergency meeting. Every day it is like going to war and before every 1-nen class, us teachers (3 in total) wish each other, "GANBARRE!" So far I've many times avoided flying objects (once tho I didn't see one coming and a paper ball went straight for my eye) and verbally sexually harassed... goes like this; I just had a haircut:

1-nen K***-kun: Oh! Amalia! very beautiful!
Amalia: Thank you. Now, do your worksheet...
K***-kun: After school, come to my house, let's go to bed!
Amalia: (Stares) DAME! Do your worksheet (not amused but at same time amazed he could string that in English)

Ok, I would whack him on the head but other kids do that and kick him around alot already so not a good idea (plus, I'm not allowed to discipline.. grr). *To be fair, my 2-nens are brilliant*

Point is...

It's the end of the work year & with all these going on, I was expecting ALOT of the teachers to leave but turns out only 2 are - one retiring (one of my JTEs) and another (the homemaking teacher) transferring to different school. Great for me... I REALLY like my colleagues. The JTE that's leaving, she'll be replaced by the part-time teacher who speaks much better English but I'm sad to see her go because she was very mother-ish and always gave okashi... ;) - now if only the kids would learn to appreciate how lucky they are to have such dedicated teachers...

How's your office situation for the new year?


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay, so yesterday after meeting an old friend for lunch, I decided to walk along the Esplanade and Singapore River to take shots. First thing Japanese people say to me when I say I come from Singapore is , "Ahh!! Merlion!!!" - or do water gushing gestures. So today I feature the Merlion. It is the symbol of Singapore the lion head and fish body of the creature recalls the story of the legendary Sang Nila Utama. (ok Maurice, you get another story!)

How Singapore got its name
A Javanese Prince Sang Nila Utama sailed out to sea with his men to explore some islands. He stopped at one of the Riau islands, where he had a feast by the generous queen of the island. He went hunting, and tried to run after the deer they had seen. Sang Nila Utama climbed a big rock to see where the deer went and he happened to look across the sea. He spotted an island, and its sandy shore was pure white. His men had told him that was the island of Temasek, and Sang Nila Utama wanted to visit it. They set sail for Temasek after thanking the queen for her kindness. A storm broke out all of a sudden while they were at sea and the ship was tossed about. Sang Nila Utama decided to listen to the advice of one of his men to throw his crown into the sea. Miraculously, the storm immediately died down and was calm again. Sang Nila Utama landed on the island and saw a beast with a black head, red tawny body and white breast, which ran away at the sight of the men. When asked what it was, an old man told Sang Nila Utama that it was a lion, although lions do not belong to Asia at all. Many believed that it was a tiger instead. Sang Nila Utama thought this was a sign of good fortune thus deciding to stay on and become the king of Temasek. He then renamed it Singapura (Lion City). Sang Nila Utama was the first king of Singapore and he ruled for 48 years.