Straits Times Forum, Nov 30, 2010:
MR WONG TUCK YIN: ‘This year’s Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) saw 63.5 per cent of the candidates qualifying for the Express stream, 22.1 per cent for Normal (Academic), 11.7 per cent for Normal (Technical), while 2.7 per cent failed. A large proportion of the candidates would have had pre-primary education, private tuition and extensive exam preparation, not least by systematic drilling in past years’ papers. So I am surprised by the 63.5 per cent rate for Express stream entry. Should the Ministry of Education (MOE) review whether the level of difficulty of PSLE papers has been set too high? This could accentuate the unhealthy trend of more and more tuition and pressure on parents and children. A larger proportion of non-Express stream pupils may not progress beyond Secondary 4 and may well join workers in a lower-skill, lower-income bracket; a development we should minimise.’
Does not compute.
If you lower the entry bar to the Express stream, you may have a higher failure rate, so you lower the standards within the stream as well. Then you may have a lower proportion qualifying for pre-university, so you lower the standards.. in the end, you will might have many university graduates. But if degree standards are so low, how does it help them where skills and jobs are concerned?
If it’s that low you might as well start degree mills and save everyone’s time. Not a good place to end up in.
Dark Mode improvements
The iPhone’s font panel also got its most highly requested feature, a Light/Dark toggle without needing to leave the article:
But you won’t need to use it as often, because I’ve added a ridiculous little feature:
You can now have Instapaper automatically use dark mode at night and normal (light) mode during the day.
But how, exactly, do you define “night”? There’s no API access to the iPhone’s ambient light sensor, so I can’t just enable dark mode in dark rooms.
And I can’t just define hour boundaries, because 8 PM in December is much darker than 8 PM in June.
And I can’t just look at hours and the date, because 5 PM in December is much darker in Alaska than in Costa Rica.
So I used with the most reliable method I could think of: sunset times in your location. Yes, Instapaper is now location-aware, but only for this feature. (Leave it to me to come up with the least-social use of locations possible.)
Best unusual use of location awareness.
There is much truth in these words. Yet it led me to think of the beauty there is in partings too. As our friends leave, we stop for a moment in our hectic lives to look back and think of the good times we spent together, the experiences that shaped our friendship. It was as they left that I found the time to think through the odd manner in which we came together and became friends in the first place. It is for these moments that we go through the confusing process of becoming friends yet we often forget them along the way.
To the Editor:
Having taught art history courses for more than a decade, I have witnessed firsthand the relatively rapid and somewhat disheartening transformation of attentive, questioning college students into the easily distracted, gadget-glued generation so accurately portrayed in your article.
While the lack of focus you mention is certainly a byproduct of the digital environment, more troubling is a corollary phenomenon — a tendency of the digital generation to dispense with nuance and multiple layers of meaning, much like a computer, in favor of immediate and often cursory observations.
Most academic disciplines, however, are learned and truly appreciated only through careful, nuanced and extended readings that require not only focused observation but also focused thought over time, seemingly a nuisance in the age of Twitter.
It is perhaps not a lack of focus but a lack of patience that will ultimately define us.
Brian E. Hack
Brooklyn, Nov. 21, 2010
The writer is an assistant adjunct professor in the art department of Kingsborough Community College, CUNY.
Heraclitus of Ephesus.
The SEP has a considered reading of this that differs somewhat, as an observation that change is required for constancy oftentimes – change and constancy are not mutually exclusive, as the phrase ‘change is the only constant’ sorta alludes to. A river is, by definition, a constantly changing entity.
One of the things that came up from a really long walk up the Singapore River.
Singapore at 4am is – cabs, cabs, and more cabs. And the occasional strange person walking around town, like the old man standing at the bus stop with no bus services running.
Things look different in the middle of the night. Clarke Quay. The Bolero sculpture at UOB Plaza. The Singapore River. People. My front door.
Some goodbyes and farewells have been said, will be said this week, will be said in 6 weeks. Will we meet again? (Maybe.) Will things ever be the same again? (No.) Was this the best time of our lives? (Time will tell.) What happens next? Que sera, sera!