Brunei Darussalam


One storm and broadband service got disrupted for 4 days! Having spent a decade in IT with engineers deployed into data centres to fix problems like this, I’m sympathetic when problems like this occur. The outage did not infuriate me so much as the service provider’s failure to inform its subscribers that we could fall back on the trusty 56k modem dial-up. They went ON and ON about problems that were outside their control due to “external factors” when in fact they should have given us a solution (in the process flooded my mailbox with the same PDF press release about 20 times!). Given the circumstances, 56K dial-up was extremely workable for web browsing, instant messaging and emails and I discovered by accident that I was able to get back online on my laptop’s modem! Were we supposed to know that? Some things never change!

↑ click on image to view full size

Life goes on, broadband or no broadband. Over the weekend, I had 5 kids from my son’s class over for a school history project. As an unofficial member of the team, the addition of my daughter brought the group to 7 (3 girls and 4 boys). My son, Jamie, in his usual absentmindedness forgotten that his classmates would each find their way to our residence instead of meeting at IDEAL Cafe at the Oil & Gas Discovery Centre. So we waited at IDEAL and waited … until we decided to grab a bite while waiting. At this point, a quick call home confirmed three members had turned up at the house and here’s Jewel counting tiles as she strolled back and forth the walk path of OGDC.

© Jan Shim Photography

It took a while before the kids pulled themselves together and settled in some pattern that could only be described as organized chaos! It was an opportunity they could learn a thing or two of each other outside of school compound and seeing them try to pull resources and a table-full of materials together to start work. It’s equally interesting to observe how two of brightest girls in Jamie’s class handle the boys who including Jamie were easily distracted and sidetracked by anything and they (the boys) were playful and lacked the discipline to get things done like the girls. Way before we had kids, parents we knew had long established and proven beyond reasonable doubts that girls are just adorable and special like that while the boys are simply and in many ways ‘out of control’ when you put their peers together. Nevertheless, boys will and forever be boys! Heaven knows how I must have driven my parents up the wall at times. I might even have been one worry after the next in many instances.

[More pictures in SCHOOL PROJECT 2008 Gallery]

Certainly there were colours and also very colourful moments when 7 kids of similar interests and hormones got together. When it came to being photographed, I’d have to say these were some of the more behaved kids I’ve had to photograph in a while.

It didn’t take much effort to round them up for lunch. Free flow of home cooked spaghetti bolognese with Raguletto sauce with added sausages and minced beef along with fish ball as a side dish easily got them to stuff their face with. Atmosphere in the kitchen was bustling mix of cutlery noises and indistinguisable kiddie voices from talking with their mouths full.

Young, free spirited and innocent, the team was in high spirits and made my Sunday interesting and fulfilling.

There were moments in the kitchen and at the workplace where I had a chance to talk to them individually to understand how they cope with school work, studies and exams in general. As parents we’re constantly looking for answers to problems we face with our own kids as far as school is concerned.

More pictures of the kids at work can be found in the SCHOOL PROJECT 2008 Flash Gallery. Children have a great propensity to absorb things they pick up like a good sponge but they lack the knowledge and experience to distinguish between right and wrong.

As parents, we all want what’s best for them and last year I introduced the  UNIQUELY SINGAPORE MONOPOLY to them and surprisingly, they picked it up quickly and in just a few weeks, their understanding of money, passive income from property rental and value of properties shot up! That showed it’s never too early to teach kids about money—a subject that has for decades taught in school in the guise of Accountancy. Take a look at my October 2007 article TEACH KIDS MONEY AND PROPERTY OWNERSHIP. A well designed game like this stimulates the minds and provokes thinking and thanks to iconic attractions in Singapore, the names and locations such as Singapore Zoo and MRT are second nature to them. Familiarity cuts down the otherwise steep learning curve as an original Monopoly board game would be.

Related link

7 thoughts on “BOYS WILL BE BOYS

  1. Hi Jan,

    Broadband is beautiful and when it gets down it kills you. Thats because we are PC Junkies and we want it fast all the time. But don;t worry, there is more bad weather to come over the next years. Anyway!!!…
    Once again very nice photos.
    Greetings from Germany,


  2. Last shot on Milo…
    “YUM SHENG!”

    Kids can be really funny when they are well-behaved and they tell you things that can leave you bewildered.

    It’s really cool to have friends coming to your house and i wish i was able to do that when i was a kid. But my mum was a clean freak who prefer to keep outsiders out of the house.

    Oh well…. haha


  3. no wonder you “disappeared” for awhile. sell the last image to milo.

    Yes while being offline did some good and made me look for other things to occupy my time, the disappearance was unnecessary! I am just glad it did not happen during a critical work period where images needed to be FTP’d overseas.

    I’ve included a Milo tag. If they pick it up from a search engine and think the image is good enough, why not?

    HAHAHHAA.. the fries and pasta looks goodddddd.. omg.. its making me hungry again…..

    Glenn, you need help! You must also be stressed out to be constantly thinking about food late at night! 🙂

    Broadband is beautiful and when it gets down it kills you.

    Yes and No. We are very dependent on technology for social and business communication. Naturally, outages lasting more than half a day would have people feeling pretty edgy and financial losses from such calamity could be unthinkable. But I’ve been through situations like this so much that I’ve gotten immune to it and have accepted that when it happens, it happens for a good reason. One such reason is the opportunity to tear ourselves away from the computer for a while and do something meaningful for a change. We tend to get stuck in a rut and I know I have a tendency to stay online a lot longer than I really have to because of its convenience.

    There’s always an alternative! There’s dial-up, once thought of as a thing of the past in the wake of broadband internet suddenly has so much appeal. Then, there’s always the possibility of crossing the border into neighbouring Miri to use their publicly available broadband should the need arises!

    Kids can be really funny when they are well-behaved and they tell you things that can leave you bewildered.

    Kids are [really] mirror image of their parents or guardians in the way they project themselves conversationally. Most parents aren’t aware that when adults talk within earshot of their children, it gets registered subliminally and when the time is right, the little ones casually and as a matter-of-factly parrot talk item that be a little too mature for their age.

    It’s really cool to have friends coming to your house and i wish i was able to do that when i was a kid. But my mum was a clean freak who prefer to keep outsiders out of the house.

    Well, same here but through my kids I have an opportunity to experience re-live those moments vicariously. I believe boys should mingle with the more responsible and mature girls more in project-driven environment to pick up cues that separate one from another. Behaviourial science is an interesting subject between the gender and I think parents need to intervene when necessary to make sure their kids stay on the right path.


  4. Hahah !!! The “counting tiles” shot is priceless and awesome … 😀

    But pick of the crop is the Milo shot ! 😀 Jan, free advertising ? Should be expecting some sort of payment from Nestle soon ! 😀


  5. But pick of the crop is the Milo shot! Jan, free advertising?

    And there’s Jamie going YEO! YEO! when clearly Milo outnumbered his Soya Bean. He has a routine apparently, certainly hours of the day, it has to be Milo so yeah, we are big buyers on a weekly basis.

    Should be expecting some sort of payment from Nestle soon!

    I’d be excited if you worked for NESTLE. Now that’s a GO FURTHER!™ idea for you because Milo is a Minuman Berkhasiat 🙂


Be real. Let me know what you think ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.