My Blog


27 May 2014

A village girl in Vietnam had to fight against hunger as she had no pocket money in school.  Her parents burned all her books not once but TWICE to force her out of school.  Yet Ms Tay Thi Nguyen persevered and while other children had blessings and all forms of encouragement from parents, her mom cursed that she failed the University entrance exams.

Despite all odds, she trumped them all and aced the entrance exams… A remarkable show of resilience indeed!

(With reference to The Straits Times dated 26 May 2014 – One girl’s fight against all odds to pursue education)

My Third Assessment Book

11 April 2014 

Following the success of my second book, “Visual Text Comprehension” for Lower Secondary, I was requested to come up with the Upper Secondary version.  It was by no means easy to write the book in such a short time.  Thus, it gives me great pleasure to announce the release of my third book, “Upper Secondary Visual Text Comprehension – GCE O-Level” to hit the bookstores and schools this month!

Tremendous effort was put in to source real advertisements, plan and ensure the graphics were designed appropriately.  The objective ultimately is to help students visualise the underlying messages in advertisements.  I must really give credit to my wife for her help in painstakingly designing the graphics for the book.  

Nonetheless, the endless nights in writing the book is well worth it when students are able to benefit and gain insights from its content.

2013! A fulfilling year for me!

9 Jan 2014

I had my books published, and one of them, the Lower Secondary Visual Text Comprehension was very well received!  It was really a meaningful journey thus far.  It was particularly humbling when the Lower Secondary Visual Text Comprehension book was even listed in the booklists of some schools.


I sincerely thank those who have been a part in this wonderful journey and I promise to do better.

Meanwhile, I take this opportunity to wish everyone good health and a successful 2014! 


14 Sep 2013

Timothy did well enough to qualify for the Poly but his application for Culinary Course was rejected.  Instead he was offered Business Studies.  

Timothy has always loved food and knew what he wanted to do in his life; food no less… And passionate he was indeed.  He gave up what many would consider unthinkable; a Polytechnic education to pursue his dream – in ITE.

It was no looking back since.  He went on to top his cohort in ITE winning the LKY Gold Medal and a place in a The Culinary Institute of America – a World Class University in culinary skills.

Timothy has exhibited what the spirit of education should be; learn to take risk and dare to be different.  Follow your PASSION and not the masses.  Success will come knocking… It can’t be more true.


20 Aug 2013

visual text comprehension

After months of preparation, I am pleased to announce the launch of my second book, “VISUAL TEXT COMPREHENSION” in schools and The Popular bookstores!

I must hasten to add that the material is also the only one of its kind right now in the market.  My brother-in-law who is a graphics designer for print advertisements created the illustrations in the exercises to give it a touch of authenticity.  There is no assessment book of similar capacity to help students in this regard.

The Visual Text Comprehension is a new component in the English exams where students are required to interpret the underlying meanings in posters and print advertisements.  We are constantly clouded with subtle or bold messages telling us what we need or should do in the world of advertising.  How do we interpret the various objectives by looking at orchestrated pictures and texts?  It may seem fairly straightforward but surprisingly, students have been found to encounter difficulties understanding these messages.

This book thus aims to help students visualise the various advertisement strategies so as to better equip them to handle the visual segment in the exams.


Aug 2013

(With reference to The Straits Times – He went from jail to NUS law school)

A classic example of true determination…

Surrounded by dangerous and hardcore criminals, a maximum prison environment is certainly one of the worst places to STUDY.  Not to mention supportive or even conducive… 

But Darren was not to be beaten.  He prepared for the A levels not at top notch JC but on his own in his prison cell.  His grit earned him 4As and 1B and a place in NUS Law School.  Remarkable achievement!  Hope this article can be a motivation for us; if life throws you lemons, add some sugar and make it into lemonade!


Jul 2013 

Many of us may not be aware that we could be speaking “broken English” because it’s how we have been conversing and they ‘sound right’. 

In line with the “Speak Good English” movement, I have identified some very common grammar traps that many people; not only students but adults alike tend to fall into. 

May I invite you to have fun with the quiz, share with your friends perhaps, and test your level of proficiency!  Let’s strive towards the 3Cs of English – Communicate Correctly and Confidently!

Navigate here for the Quiz!


May 2013

It gives me great pleasure to announce my first book, “ENGLISH EDITING” to be released by end of this month in schools!

The English Editing is a recent component in the exams that challenges students to identify grammatical errors in seemingly correct sentences.  With the advent of text messaging and instant chats, students have disregarded the essence of grammar.  It is no surprise then, many students are stumped in this interesting and crucial exercise.

This book aims to assist pupils to spot common grammar mistakes and better prepare them to tackle the editing section in the exams.

Besides the school bookshops, you can also obtain a copy of this book from the Popular Bookstores island wide.


January 2013


I would like to start the New Year by addressing the importance of communication skills.  Much as we put emphasis on writing skills, the relevance of public speaking cannot be undermined.  Why?  Good writing skills can only get you this far in exams.  But it is speaking skill that stays with you in school, in society, at work; in short, for life

Public speaking is NOT only about addressing an audience per se.  Rather, I like to call it verbal skills.  This skill challenges you to express your thoughts coherently, articulate the words clearly and put your ideas across confidently.  And to do that, you need to write these points, ideas and thoughts.  Isn’t that writing?  So really, verbal skill is one step ahead of writing that we must not disregard.  From students trying to impress examiners in oral exams or university interviews to corporate leaders painting pictures of their vision to their teams and politicians attempting to convince voters; it’s all about SPEAKING up.  Think about it…

On this note, I would like to leave you with a video of a 9-year-old boy currently taking public speaking lessons from me.  This boy is certainly an unpolished gem…

Public Speaking – Jacob

PSLE Results – Afterthought

December 2012 

The PSLE results have finally been released.

Congratulations to those who have done well and at the same time, to those who have yet to shine, fret not!  Every situation can present itself as an obstacle or an opportunity; depending on the vision of the beholder…  Most importantly, never stop believing in yourself.

A boy once took his PSLE and was greatly anticipated to earn himself a place in one of the top schools.  Not only did he fail to secure a place in the coveted schools, he was unceremoniously posted to one of the neighbourhood schools.  Yet, he did not stop believing he could soar to greater heights.  As he was one of the better students in the school he was posted to, he excelled in his own right; both in studies as well as in sports.  He became a Head Prefect and a Basketball team Captain.  He was always eager to help his straggling peers and was well-liked by friends and teachers alike.  He thrived in the environment; something which probably might not happen had he gone to a top school.  He eventually fared handsomely at the GCE O-levels with straight As in all his subjects. He got into a top junior college and later aced his GCE A levels; winning a scholarship for his university studies.  The rest is history… The boy is none other than my beloved brother.

Many years ago, I learnt a very interesting and empowering equation in Patterns of Excellence; that is E+R=O.  Event + Response = Outcome.  In any given situation, the outcome will most likely be in tandem with how you respond to an event.  My brother was not crushed when faced with a disappointing result initially.  Instead, he embraced it positively and believed that he could still make a difference.

Before I conclude, I would like to leave you with a famous quote from Forrest Gump

Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Never stop believing, really…