Engineers' Rant

Zibin and I were enjoying a lazy breakfast with Wanting before her driving class today. Over cheese omelette on toast and banana and strawberry soy smoothies, the conversation turned towards pet and peeve subjects in school.

It all began when Zibin started examining the mug I gave him to use, which is actually a beaker given me by Hui Mei. The talk turned to chemistry which Zibin ‘disliked with passion’. Why? Because there was ‘no logic’ in it. You just had to memorize everything, nothing makes sense. In fact, going into JC, he didn’t know what subjects he was going to take but he knew that the one subject he would not be taking was chemistry. And then, Wanting chimed in about how she never liked to study for chemistry in JC either.

I listened to the two engineers rant for a short while, then asked, “You guys are the ones whose favourite is physics, right?” The strong affirmative response I got made me chuckle. You see, I hated physics. *grin* I preferred chemistry a whole lot to physics. Though my favourite science in Sec 3/4 was biology. Of course, I never continued with science beyond O levels because I preferred the nuances and ‘soul’ of the humanities (not in O levels though… I was looking forward to what the Humanz scheme at Hwa Chong promised).

Ah yes, the humanities… Zibin shared, “My class liked History… because the teacher was quite chio (pretty).” I gave him a pained look and looked to Wanting for support. To my surprise, Wanting commented how her classmates in RGS were the same… they would study harder if the teacher was cute. *sigh* Well, I didn’t have any ‘cute’ teachers back in my secondary school days, and I don’t think any teacher, how nice or cute, could make me want to study harder. It’s all about the subject, man! :P


  1. Ah, favourite subjects… wonderful opportunity to get up the soapbox, but I’ll try keep it short; seems unbecoming to 反客为主 and leave a comment whose length rivals your blog entry, no? :)

    Regarding A-level chemistry, I can say nothing else except offer my sincerest sympathy and pity to the HC students. Actually, my sympathy extends to all non-RJ people. *thinks, and swallows hard* Er… majority of your blog readers weren’t from RJ, were they? Don’t kill me, please? I meant no harm nor insult… better quick quick explain. :P During my time, I heard the triple-science students say that RJ had the best chem department, VJ had the best bio department, and no JC had a decent physics department. :P

    I didn’t really like O-level chemistry myself; my favourite science subject in sec school was bio. Chem very quickly took its place in JC, and because my bio tutors weren’t bad at all, I give full credit to my chem tutors for managing to stage such a coup. :) RJ’s chem tutors were brilliant; they gave great notes and explained difficult concepts very clearly during lecture. I once chanced upon HC chem notes and I surrendered them in a hurry. *wry* That was how highly I thought of them. :P

    Did ZB take bio for O-levels? Cos if he felt that there was no logic in Chem, he must have thought that bio was full of negative logic. Bio was and still is much more guilty of the charges that ZB lay against chem. :)

    Physics… I hated in sec school and respected in JC. :) I even remember how that change happened, it was because one fine day I suddenly saw the picture, so to speak, in Mechanics. That day, Kinematics and Dynamics ceased to be mere equations, and as counter-intuitive some of the concepts were, I understood them. That day, I realised that Physics offered a different way of understanding the world as compared with Bio and Chem, and it was a view I wasn’t too interested to explore further. But while I knew I’d never love Physics, I saw enough of its beauty such that I never dissed the subject ever again. :)

    Argh! This is already so long, and I haven’t even started with the humanities yet! So much for keeping this short. Aiyoh, 慧君的话不可深信。 Better stop here. :P

    *gets off soapbox*

  2. Hello dear!

    I loved Chemistry!!! In fact, it was my favourite Science subject for a really long time. And generally, I thought the only part of physics I liked was Quantum physics, and in a way it was kind of related to physical chemistry. I didn’t think Chemistry was all memory work. In fact, I thought Chemistry was really easy to score and easy to understand :) You just had to know what kind of element/compound something was, what was the reactive component, and bang, it’s the same for similar types!! :) After being exposed to many types of compounds, you will get a “feel” of what type they are, and I loved deducing their properties! Well, Bio in A-level was horrendous. THAT was really memory work.

    But I also do think that to a certain extent, a good and interesting teacher makes up for the ‘dryness’ of any subject. Similarly, a teacher who does not know how to teach can kill any passion whatsoever left out of an impressionable student :)

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