Wednesday, November 29, 2006

An artistic renaisance...Part 2

Wow, what wonderful news. The D&T Curriculum and Planning Development Department (CPDD) of MOE have announce the news that the subject might be offered at A levels beginning from 2009. I AM definitely going to apply for it, and to be part of this new and exciting development. It will not be called D&T...I think it'll be known as Design and Applied Science. I think it is quite apt in itself. I can just imagine it, the exciting exchanges about design and how the concept of design must not work in silos and without the inlusive nature of other subject areas! How would you design for someone that is illiterate? How do you design for someone who lives in parts of the whole where a screw or screwdriver is not something that they would found in a HOmeFix store? Why do you want to design a table and chair for children who would not be able to value the tables and chairs, and who would prefer to sit on the ground? How do you sustain the products' life cyle? Why design for people who would only use the product, say...once a year? Questions, questions, questions! But what really interests me now is the whole idea that design, or rather the design process must work in unison, or must be inclusive in nature in adopting practices from the various subject areas, like geography, history, literature, sciences, and others, in order for it, and the eventual products or processes that comes out of it, to be THE solution or intended design. Not easy, considering the silo-like nature of our system, but nonetheless, it IS a good start! I do like to envision that design or, its intended study, can be among the unifying subject or subjects that educators and students alike, can use, as a model of what holistic education is all about. And when I mean holistic, it is in the fact that we are no longer working on the basis of subject-like thingy, if you know what I mean. In fact I have kind of propunded the idea that maybe, just maybe, if we can model a few schools to be run like corporations in certain aspects of it, say having the students do real projects, and where they are brokeb up into marketing, production, design, publishing, engineering, research, sales, customer and service support, finance, human resources, and many others, we might just have a school that is really preparing, and I mean, REAL preparation for the students to enter the workforce. Realistically, I can't remember the last time that I need to know what (a+b)^2 can be expanded into!? But hey, I guess this is just something that I am just floating around in my mind...perhaps when I am the Minister of Education (wishful thinking here :) ), then I can start realising this! Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps!

Monday, November 27, 2006

An artistic renaisance

For the past two weeks, I have given myself some exposure to the artistic side of me, the side that sadly, or otherwise, have remained hidden from me for the past 30 over years! I say the pinnacle of this artistic renaisannce in me is the Puteri Gunung Ledang musical (PGL) that I watched last Saturday afternoon. It was, for a lack of a better term, one hell of a performnace, 'satu pertunjukkan yang sungguh gah sekali', to put it across in Malay! To me, it was the best of what a Malay musical performance is supposed to be, and I presume it will definitely be a benchmark of sorts for future Malay-based musical performances of such a grand scale. But ironically, for my ramblings in my previous post, one thing that I do notice is the non-Malay talent that is rather pervasive in its production, something that I feel is rather encouraging, as the only way for one to get better, is for one to learn from the best, or if not THE best, amongst the best in the business!

I've also heard a piece of good news from the papers yesterday. SM Goh, visiting Italy as part of his working visit, has initiated some form of a partnership with the Domus Academy, the premier design institution. With partnership with NTU in a masters programme, I sure do hope that it will just be a matter of time before I get a chance to continue my intellectual pursuit in product design, or something to that effect. Alternatively, taking a Masters in Teaching and Learning will also be a consideration, with perhaps a special major or a project in the design education in Singapore. And yeah, I'm planning to write a book or two too while I am at it, perhaps a book on firstly, prototyping in design & technoology, and the second, maybe, a book on the running of a department, my shared experiences as a design and technology teacher! But who will read it...? Come to think of it, I don't really care whether it will make the bestseller's list of not, what is more imporatant is that I am able to share my experiences, good and bad, to those who really wants to, and bother to read! :) Or perhaps, I can do an e-coffee table book of sorts, a project that I was embarking on, or was trying to embark on, late last year, but was somehow, due to the exigencies of work and other commitments, just can't seem to finish. Perhaps I have a crack at it again, but perhaps NOT! :)

Anyway, I am going to take a break from next week onwards, for perhaps two weeks or lesser, have a good rest, spend more time with my wifey, do a little shopping, a little reading, a little sketching and drawing, a little of this and that, maybe walk by the beach, go back to nature, hit the gym or treadmill, something that I've not been doing for fact a LONG while! Oooooh so many things, so little time. Let me mull it over, ok. :)

Monday, November 6, 2006

Culture of Talents or Cultural Talents

Looking at the corporate motto of Yayasan Mendaki, which is 'Towards a Community of Excellence', brought to mind a question that I raised to one of my Malay colleagues that is teaching Malay. The question is of whether the lack of, or the dearth of, Malay talents in the sciences are due to the fact that our language is not, for lack of a better term, 'scientifically rich' . I mean, I am still looking for the day whereby scientists in this parts of the world, can actually discover some scientific nuggets from days of yesteryears, that was actually propounded or discovered by a Malay scientist, and I am talking about history here!

I mean, the Chinese have their gunpowder, paper, and many more inventions that are scientific or technologically-advanced in nature, to the point that even the Prophet (pbuh) actually mentioned about encouraging his ummah to even go to China to seek knowledge! The Indians have their own flourishing civilisation and architectural wonders to be proud of, plus their excellent logistics and world-reknowned traditional healing methods! Plus many more ancient technological wonders that other cultures can be proud of. Which brings me to the title of my posting, on the differences of a 'Culture of Talents and Cultural Talents'. During the recent Teachers' Day performances by the students, one thing that I realise was the overly proportionate representation by the Malay students in ALL performances...hmmm which makes me wonder, do we as a community, are we culturally rich and perhaps maybe, just maybe, will always be so, i.e. in having a significantly larger pool of our community, whether young or old, to be involved in the cultural aspects, as opposed to nurturing a culture of talented individuals that need not be scientific or technological in nature, but certainly, to be non-culture at the very least! But hei in all this cynicism, I do feel proud, at the very least, that we do have a culture to be proud of, though I can't say that in years to come, what with the natural tendency for the young to be yearning to be more western in nature, and the old to be more 'religiously critical' But hei, this cultural dilemma, and the clash of cultural talents and a culture of talents might just be one precursor to even something bigger, though I don't think I would want to go into that tonight! But maybe, just maybe, I might just like to think about this a little deeper, and perhaps, give my two cents worth.