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Posts Tagged ‘singapore

I take a leaf out of the chapter of “if you see something, say something” to point out a fallacy perpetuated by a local McDonald’s.

Misrepresented and outdated food pyramid at a local McDonalds.

I spotted this food pyramid at the eatery. The red arrows point to a misrepresentation — the two servings of vegetables has a broader base but a smaller number than the three servings of the smaller base of proteins above it.

Another possible misrepresentation is the yellow box at the apex of the food pyramid. While other authorities might include these in their food pyramids, our Health Promotion Board does not represent it as one of the four food groups.

Healthy Plate replaced the food pyramid in 2014.

But all this is moot when you consider how the healthy plate replaced the food pyramid in 2014. Apparently we are too dense to interpret a pyramid. Perhaps we have too much junk in our systems and greedily consume misrepresentations like the one at McDonald’s.

The fast food joint is not the best place to maintain a healthy diet. It is certainly not a place to learn about a food pyramid. This is my point: We do not have to look far and wide for authentic examples to use for the modelling and teaching of critical thinking.

I can understand the appeal of knocking this effort down in the name of equality.

The fact is that we are not born equal. Most of us do not wish to worsen the inequality, so we do what we can to narrow gaps.

Mainstream schooling and education are critical to bridging gaps and providing stairways to progress. Those who cannot take these paths (like those with special needs) might get special help.

Might the brightest also have special needs? An academically brilliant child might not be as well-adjusted socio-emotionally. The same child might not get the support and challenges he or she needs in a conventional classroom.

A child prodigy is not always born into the best of circumstances. Who are we to judge such conditions, children, or help?

I am not for elitism. I am for empathy for kids with special needs, wherever they are on the continuum of development and ability.

Recently I tweeted a comprehensive opinion piece that critiqued the amendments to the Children and Young Persons Act.

I agree that Singapore needs to do more by way of legislation and regulation to protect the data privacy and rights of minors. I also favour doing the same for young adults in the context of higher education and LMS use.

But I wonder what unwanted signals this declaration makes:

Thankfully, Singapore has not experienced such high-profile incidents relating to the breach of children’s digital privacy or online harms.

Does it take a “high-profile incident” for us to take action? It should not. It speaks poorly of us as a people if we only react when tragic things happen to important people.

Does the the paucity or absence of data for a phenomenon mean it does not happen? I think not.

I recall having a passing conversation with a university staff about how much abuse was swept under the table. This was right before high profile cases made the news and universities here seemed to react with countermeasures.

Universities were already aware of what was happening in their campuses. It was just that the data was not shared and so the issues were not transparent to the public.

So shit still happens and about as regularly as we have bowel movements. They seem mundane or are unpleasant to talk about. But if they reveal a health problem we might have, are we going to try to flush the symptoms of an underlying problem away?

The first Friday of September is Teachers’ Day in Singapore.

Schools celebrated the day yesterday with half days and staff dinners. Today is a school holiday and an early start to a one-week break.

Teachers’ Day is great for businesses that take advantage of it. But quite a few teachers still return to school during the break to get work done.

Whether teachers get to enjoy a break or not, they might be thankful that they were not subject to the rules of the past.


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We do not need a time machine to travel back to the past in order to reflect on how much (or how little) has changed, and to appreciate what we have now.

We do not need to share exactly the same contexts (US or Singapore) to appreciate how difficult it is to teach or how much more difficult it is to educate.

We celebrate Singapore’s 54th National Day tomorrow. Kids in school, kids at heart, and kids of all ages at the ND Parade will lustily sing Stand Up For Singapore.

Perhaps we might take a moment to take a critical and humorous look at ourselves.

Perhaps we might also look for different ways to distinguish ourselves. We do not all have to be rats in the same race. We can choose our own paths and be thankful for the circumstances that allow us to do so.


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When I read that coding is “compulsory for all upper primary pupils next year”, I had questions. I was not the only one.

I had more basic questions.

Furthermore, how do policymakers and implementers distinguish coding from authoring and computational thinking? How might computational thinking be integrated into current subjects instead of being an “enrichment”?

 
What was your response to the headline More than 270 F&B outlets to stop providing plastic straws by Jul 1?

Mine was yeah and meh. I was glad to see some action to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics, but I wished we could collectively do more.

How much more? Last year I reflected on how Kenya joined a list of countries that banned plastic bags. Earlier this month news broke on how the state of Penang in Malaysia was doing the same.

In the meantime, I still have to tell curry puff and confectionary aunties that just one bag will do. I do not need every item cocooned in its own plastic blanket and put into yet another bag like a plastic version of Inception.

I also use a tengkat to takeaway food at stores I frequent and reusable bags to tote groceries. Sadly, I am among the few instead of the many.

I realise that the straw ban here might just be the start of a larger movement. I hope so. It had better not be the last straw…


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