Critical Thinking and Problem Solving at El Shaddai Learning Centre, Klang

It was a 3 day workshop(8 to 10 June 2017) to help teach the students (ranging from 12 to 18 years old) how to apply critical thinking techniques and skills to problem solving.

I found the students to be articulate, curious and forthcoming in the discussions each day. The first day we had them share about the different types of problems they face and to categorise them as “Easy”, “Medium” or “Hard”.

Some of the problems they shared that were “hard” included “being addicted to games”, “cleaning their own rooms” and “doing homework.” There were some who shared that losing a loved one makes them illogical, angry and emotional.

One of the activities of the day was to be able to tell if a piece of information was “real” or “fake”. The students did extremely well for this exercise and were able to share relevant pieces of information to support their stand.

I have an enthusiastic 13 year old boy who volunteered to read most of the slides. When I shared about “Group Think”, all of them told me about this one boy in their class who was not at the sessions. As the 13 year old boy diplomatically puts it across, this boy has issues controlling his tongue and speak unpleasantly.

For the final presentation, the class was divided into 2 teams of girls and 1 team of boys to present arguments that support one of the following claims:

a) Boys have more self discipline than girls.

b) Boys vandalise more than girls.

c) Boys are more honest than girls.

It was a lively presentation and the teams did well with the preparation through searching for relevant clips and articles that supported their claims.

Here are some pix of the students at work during the 3 sessions. Guess who was the best speaker and which was the winning team? Well done class!

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E-learning Training for teachers

A series of 4 sessions of E-learning using G-suite was conducted for the teachers going to start the secondary portion of El Shaddai school in Jan. The diligent teachers asked many good questions and came from different cities – Malaysia, Iran and Singapore. Here’s wishing them success as they roll out their e-learning plans for the school! I called them my AA* students as they have such excellent attitudes towards learning!

Here are some pix of the training session:


A special moment

A chance encounter with two sweet young P6 girls when I was cycling to the Bukit Timah Hawker Centre taught me a few things.

It was one of those school projects that the girls embark on as part of their P6 project called “Values in Action(VIA)Project”. It started when two of them stopped me and ask if I have a moment to spare.


I was wondering if it was some survey they need help in. The educator in me always have a soft spot for students and seeing them looking so earnest, I decided to talk to them a bit more to find out what they wanted from me.

They were trying to advocate for a non profit organisation called Rare Disorders Society(Singapore) which aims to create awareness about various life threatening rare diseases including those that are yet to be diagnosed. Since it is about publicising I then ask if it will help if I publicise the society on FB with my friends.

“Sure.” They replied and giggled as they see my clumsiness in trying to take a wefie together with them holding their printed handouts.

After the pix taking, one of them told me that since I am publicising on FB, I should take a lighter color, “probably yellow!” as the words can be seen clearly!

So I got to know about this society and what it does through the pamphlet and the girls.

All the very best girls!

For more info on the society please go to

The pix are taken and posted with their sweet permission.

The two girls with their awareness campaign
All the best girls!
Lesson preparation on the go..with bike, book and drink








Loss Aversion and the Yong Tau Foo Team

As the year draws to a close, what are some of your thoughts?

Are you, like me, surprised that 2015 just passed by so quickly? Wasn’t it just yesterday we began the year with New Year resolutions? With a new resolve to do things?

What are some things you have done well this year? What can be better managed?

For me, it was a deliberate decision to update my accounts periodically and not wait until the day of tax is here!

Ever since we started OURF, doing accounts has been something I did not quite enjoy. Updating the various items in the income and expenses is a dreaded chore.

And when the day for submission for tax draws near, I just went into panic mode. The dreaded spreadsheet challenged me since 2008.

So in 2015, I thought it is high time I managed my compliance to a daily routine better. For a Fishball, being open and being kept “structures” free as much as possible are so important to me that the risk of “losing” this freedom sometimes causes a brain freeze for me.

So I decided to setup a simple structure to help me do my accounts regularly.

Instead finding it a dread, I told myself that I would be rewarded when tax day draws near. I will not need to go into panic mode. I can be confident.

If I were to be diligent enough to update the important details, I can even find out if I was overbuying something! (a very common fishball trait!)

I like to experiment and just yesterday as I was packing my cupboard, I found that I have so many different sizes of photo papers, empty cards, different sizes of plastic bags and other things that I have forgotten! The evidence was clearly staring at me in the face. I have simply forgotten that I have acquired them, so new ones are bought! Sometimes I bought something because they are too pretty. Sometimes, it is because they are cheap. And most times, it could just plain “I might need it someday!” and what a hassle to have to go down and buy again! Think of the petrol and time I can save:)

“In economics and decision theory, loss aversion refers to people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. Most studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains” – wikipedia.

Loss Aversion is a Cognitive Bias that all humans have and for a Fishball, setting structures remain one of the most challenging tasks to me. The perceived “loss” of being “free from structures” seems to outweigh the gains from having some structures in my biasness!

All Fishballs fight with this tendency to be less impulsive and complete what they have started out with…so as the year draws to a close, I am happy to say that at times I lost the “battle” with putting some structures in my life, but well, my accounts statement is almost ready for the tax year and it is not as nightmarish and scary as I thought it will be. In fact, I do like knowing how much I spend on art stuff, how much I spend on buying paints and yes, what income do I get from teaching and team building or art!

Who knows as I gain more confidence, I may even get rid of my “loss aversion” to structures by doing a pie chart of my expenditure and income!

So what are your challenges as you strive to develop and train yourself to be a complete Yong Tau Foo team?

Have a merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Paintings were done at Palais Renaissance, Orchard Road, Singapore. The little red dot:)


Ink. Journey into Self@NP Staff Centre

20140523_120823 20140523_120914 20140523_120732 20140523_120342 20140523_121904 20140523_134158 20140523_123651 20140523_120143 20140523_120201 20140523_120215 20140523_121444 20140523_115928 20140523_103939 20140523_103731 20140523_102721 20140523_103350 20140523_115712 20140523_102438 20140523_100630 20140523_100609 20140523_092818 20140523_093034 20140523_100556“an interesting course that helps us to bring out understanding of personalities and ourselves”

“thank you pin lay for this fun filled session. Your candid and honest sharing helped us to understand how our personalities can conflict.”

“thank u! i have to say ti was a lot more fun than i had expected it to be!”

“entertaining, enjoyable, knowledgeable”

“very interesting short course which i have enjoyed. Definitely a good take away. having to learn calligraphy once again!”

“it would be nice if we can discuss among ourselves and give time to group ourselves into our departmental units in order to see clearly our personality. Thanks. V fun!”