08 July 2014

I am having a rather dejected week.

I send an average of 20-30 job applications a day.
I attend 2-3 job interviews a week.

And I am still unemployed in Singapore after 2 months.

The obvious downside is that I have been living without any income in the world’s most expensive city, but the upside is that I get plenty of alone time to find myself back again.

I met up with an old friend who invited me for lunch together at Sentosa Cove, and sometimes people from a different social status helps you to put things into perspective.

We went to one of the restaurants along Ocean Drive and dined directly opposite the yacht club, One Degree 15.

My friend remarked, “Look at all these yachts. They all belong to other people.. It’s like eating in a restaurant while staring at a carpark.”

It was such a simple statement but yet so profound. Made me wonder why are people paying premium prices for the food here when we are really dining in the back of someone’s floating garage.

As he drove me back home, we saw several luxury cars and I casually mentioned that I would like to experience what it’s like to drive a Porsche.

He replied, “What? Come on, aim higher.”

If only life would be more kind to me.

20 April 2014

Yesterday I was chatting with a friend. We were weighing my options of working in Thailand against those of working in Singapore.

I told him, “Actually you can’t really compare. Working in Thailand has its own problems. Working in Singapore has its own problems.” This was a belief I held, because there can be no perfect scenario.

I continued explaining that before I moved to Thailand, I had trouble finding a proper job here so I ranted about the lack of career options available in Singapore. My friend himself is having second thoughts about his current position (he has been with the agency for about 2 years) and has plans to switch soon.

So I asked him about his future plans and also what job prospects are there for the both of us.

He thought for a while, and said,

“Actually it doesn’t matter what you do in Singapore. Just do whatever brings in the money.”

I think it’s a very sad and harsh truth about living here.

07 April 2014

I was having lunch with some friends when one of them asked me, “Do you think Thais are good in English?”

I answered without hesitation, “No.”

I then went on to explain why, and I gave an example of a Thai teacher who teaches English in my school. I said that when this Thai teacher teaches English, I can’t fault her for not pronouncing the words correctly due to her accent, but I can’t forgive her when she spells words incorrectly.

The worst part is that when I tell her how the words should be correctly spelt, or when I correct her on the spot, she gets angry.

My friends then exclaimed in unison, “No! You can’t correct her. Just let it be!”

I was baffled. “What do you mean let it be? Then all the students will copy the misspelled word?”

And their reaction was even more baffling. “Yes! Just let them copy. If anything, just blame it back on the teacher.. But you can’t correct her!”

After 11 months here, sometimes I still don’t understand how things work.

26 March 2014

It has been more than 10 months since I’ve moved here and my current contract with the school is also coming to an end.

It makes no sense for me to be spending the summer holidays here because I really would like to escape getting roasted in 40-degree weather. School has already ended for almost 2 weeks now and I have cleared all of my administration work. My presence in office for the past few days were as good as being absent because I hardly contributed to whatever the other Thai teachers were acting busy with.

Today, I sorted my stuff out into 3 luggages. 2 of them will be going home with me and the remaining one will be kept here until I return. I guess I could say that my apartment is pretty cleared out by now and the only stuff hanging around are my daily necessities as well as some clothes.

I guess I could leave for home anytime soon, but I am probably gonna linger here for a few more days because I just submitted several job applications and I hope to receive some calls in the upcoming days.

28 September 2013

Yesterday marked my last teaching day of the first semester. The next 2 weeks only comprise of exams and post-exam activities, such as the sports day. The students will then have a 3-week holiday while teachers continue to work through the school holidays, preparing for the new semester, and attending courses and seminars.

Despite that, I managed to squeeze some time out to swing by Singapore from 16-21 October.

I guess everything is good for now.

I managed to defer my NS commitments and have successfully been granted my exit permit.
I managed to open a bank account and have a debit card I can use.
I managed to get medical insurance at only 599 baht a year (I can go to any hospital for free).

I guess God is still good to me.

18 July 2013

Just an update.

I have been teaching here for slightly more than 2 months, and more or less, already culturally assimilated. Although their system here is really no system at all, I have been able to work my way around things and dodge the unnecessary arrows.

By God’s grace, my efforts for the past 2 months have been recognized and I will be getting a small pay increment next month. However the school has also requested that I stretch myself a bit more and conduct some extra classes to help the weaker students.

There was a particular incident when I was informed at the very last minute to stand in for a Secondary 3 class. The class starts at 3:30pm but I was informed at 3:50pm that the teacher is unavailable and I had to stand in. “Just teach a simple lesson,” I was instructed.

All my materials are for Primary 3-6. I have no lesson material and no lesson plan to use for this Secondary 3 class. I spent 2 minutes to do a quick Google search for some simple grammar lessons and off I went into the classroom. This is my first time standing in front of a group of 15 year olds. I was too used to little kids who would sit down and keep quiet obediently.

Sure there was a bunch of notorious boys who were sitting at the back of the class and paid no attention to me, but the girls who sat in front were better. Though they were also talking half the time, they copied down whatever I wrote on the board and also took note of the various grammar rules.

At the end of the class, one of the girls approached me and asked in Thai, “Can you teach us?”

I thought she meant it casually, but I later learnt that the class doesn’t like their current English teacher and preferred my teaching, even though they’ve just met me for 35 minutes.

While I’m confident that I am probably able to prepare a better lesson with advance notice, I am not sure if taking more than what I can handle will eventually wear me out.

But I guess you can safely say that I am enjoying what I am currently doing.