Have Phone, Will Chat (and Study)

CHATTING is the lifeblood of teens. When class is in session and no chatting is allowed, our iPhones, Samsungs, and Xiaomis come out to play.

Lianne is at the back row of class doing her jacket sleeve trick: her right hand has completely retracted into her sleeve, poking out only intermittently. In the darkness of the soft, warm fabric, her fingers are flying about, typing stuff on Telegram. She’s just sent me and our clique a photo of the physics teacher, photoshopped. He’s bald, but suddenly, he’s got a mop of hair. Clearly, all her digital diversions are a hindrance to the class in session, but she’s never been caught, neither have the rest of us. Continue reading


Marching On With Technology

ELECTRONIC devices and school are inextricable. Many schools require that their students own a laptop, some even a tablet. The beauty of electronic devices is that they connect you to the vast world of information out there. I can just sit by my desk, get on my MacBook, and look up a myriad of facts on “velocity,” for instance. Continue reading

Death to Distractions

SMARTPHONES are so widely used that they have become something of a social evil. People slouch into their iPhones or androids, sucked into a cyber world buzzing with all kinds of distractions: Likes and Shares, Tweets and WhatsApp messages, YouTube and music videos, newsfeeds, Snapchat and WeChat, the noise never stops. Having said that, anyone without a smartphone must surely be from a dinosaur age, unenlightened by the vast resources out there, that wondrous world we call the Internet.  Continue reading

Careful With Those French Words

EXACTLY thirty years ago when I was a Secondary Four student in Raffles Girls’ School, I asked my English teacher, Mrs. S., what she thought about using French words in our essays. I may or may not have rattled off concrete examples like raison d’être or coup de grâce.  Continue reading